March 20, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— When Illinois Wesleyan graduate Alex Kim created the Veggie Bike, his goal was to aid the IWU Peace Garden in its efforts to promote community connectedness and make produce accessible to as many people as possible.
The Peace Garden, established by junior political science major Ryan Dyar and senior environmental studies and Hispanic studies double major Danny Kenny, is the campus garden created to grow produce for Illinois Wesleyan’s food provider, Sodexo and the Bloomington-Normal community. Students and faculty volunteer their time in order to help the Peace Garden flourish.
Kim, who is an environmental studies major, felt a close connection to the mission of the Peace Garden. He wanted to create the bike as an environmentally friendly vehicle that can be used for distribution of the Peace Garden’s produce. According to Kim, the Veggie Bike is, “A bike-powered trailer that was created with the intent of aiding the IWU Peace Garden in its efforts to exemplify and maintain sustainable principles through practice. In short, it will help the Peace Garden be as green as possible.”
The idea of a Veggie Bike came about during discussions on where the harvested food would be delivered. “There are several places around Bloomington that accept food donations from the garden already, and hopes are that additional places like the Farmers' Market and places in West Bloomington might be new venues of distribution,” Kim said.
Creating the bike was a long but rewarding process. In depth research was needed to choose the best blueprints to use. It took a few weeks to gather materials, which were recycled from old, defunct machines. Once the parts were gathered, Kim constructed the bike with the help and advice of Action Research Center Coordinator Deborah Halperin, Dyar and many others. The bike took six months to complete. Kim felt accomplished with the finished result.
“I learned a lot about building and also networking from the experience,” Kim said.
As for costs, all the labor was voluntary making it a project fueled by enthusiasm—not money.
Kim, who graduated in December of 2012, is from Lombard, Ill. However he will remain in Bloomington for another month and plans to continue volunteer work during this time.
“My vision is that people might see the bike and think about creativity, fun and even goofiness,” Kim said. “My hope is that this will influence people to think positively about locally grown food.”
Contact: Nunzia Martino ’16, (309) 556-3181, firstname.lastname@example.org