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Bicycle tour of Amherst vegetable gardens planned for Aug. 24

The Edible Garden Bicycle Tour, as it is being called, is sponsored by Grow Food Amherst and is an opportunity for residents to learn gardening techniques and get in shape, while avoiding using an automobile as a means of transportation.

“The idea is we don’t want people to drive around in their cars,” said Stephanie Ciccarello, Amherst’s sustainability coordinator.

The garden tour is a piece of the ongoing effort to get 350 individuals or families to plant or expand 100 gardens in Amherst, meaning more local produce will be available.

The four gardens on the tour are all either new or enlarged this season, including the last one on the circuit at 324 Henry St., planted by David Lovler.

Lovler, in fact, was the inspiration for the bicycle tour, having lived in Boston and participated in a similar event there. “I wanted to have a tour of new food production gardens in Amherst,” Lovler said.

At his 30-by-50 foot garden, he is growing winter squash, Asian greens, cabbage and arugula, soybeans and green beans, Jerusalem artichokes and Chia seeds. “I want to show people what you can do in the first year,” Lovler said.

Lovler also composts even incorporating worms.

While he is producing food, he is also using the first year of the garden to make various observations about what can grow in the soil and how wildlife reacts to the plantings.

Partnering with Sustaining Amherst and Transition Amherst, the free event will begin at the North Common in front of Town Hall at 1:45 p.m., with the tour starting at 2 p.m.

Anyone can ride along the entire tour, but individuals may also select to tour only specific locations.

The stops will be at 2:20 p.m. at 39 Longmeadow Drive, at 3 p.m. at 44 Beston St. and at 3:40 p.m. at 483 Montague Road, before concluding at 4:10 p.m. at Lovler’s. Lovler said there will be a good variety of expertise and styles of planting, including the use of permaculture.

A potluck will be held at 4:30 p.m., with food from Lovler’s garden. Lovler said he will encourage others to bring fruit and bread. There will also be a treasure hunt for children.

Anyone who is concerned about not being able to ride a bicycle on their own can contact Lovler, who wants to have tandem bicycles available.

For more information and to confirm attendance at the potluck, call Lovler at 617-733-7577 or send email to howitallvegan@yahoo.com

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