“Cycling for Sustainability” education bicycle tour to be in Antioch, April 21

Public invited to Join 215-mile tour of California watershed, with Organic Valley farmers and employees, April 19-25

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (April 8, 2015) – Organic Valley, the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers, will participate in the United Nations’ International Year of Soils by “Cycling for Sustainability” through California watersheds. From April 19-25, Organic Valley farmer-owners and employees will travel 215 miles from Auburn, California, to the Sonoma coast, learning from experts along the way about the impact of agriculture on water and soil in California.

Hailing from as far as Maine, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington state, the cyclists have diverse backgrounds and interests in the event. The public is invited to join them for any or all segments of the journey.

The events along the route are open to the public and include a meeting with the American River Parkway Foundation to learn about the coexistence of agriculture and environmental conservation along the parkway; a tour of Antioch Dunes Wildlife Refuge to understand a grazing initiative using cows to control invasive species; and an evening of food, drink and conversation at a Grass Up! event at the David Brower Center featuring guest speakers from Pesticide Action Network and Seed Matters. RSVP at ov.coop/GrassUpSOS.

The journey concludes with a visit to beautiful Ocean Breeze Dairy in Valley Ford, one of Organic Valley’s member-farms. Mark Kopecky, soil agronomist at Organic Valley, will join Ocean Breeze’s owner, Jarrid Bordessa, to share how Organic Valley farms are creating healthy soil and water systems.

Soil is the foundation for all of agriculture,” says Kopecky, “and healthy soil is the first goal of organic agriculture. When we work with the amazing community of living beings in the soil, we can grow good crops of healthy food and feed while, at the same time, benefiting our water, air and landscape.”

View the complete Cycling for Sustainability Tour itinerary at rootstock.coop/environmental-sustainability/cycling-for-sustainability-tour-itinerary. Follow the cyclists as they blog at rootstock.coop/tag/cycling-for-sustainability.

Jake Wedeberg, a participating young farmer from Wisconsin who is a key member of Organic Valley’s On-Farm Sustainability Committee and Generation Organic Executive Committee, is specifically interested in learning from the California experts about how the cooperative can innovate and implement best practices for soil and water on member-farms across the nation.

While we typically have ample amounts of rain in Wisconsin, past droughts have had lasting financial implications and effects on our farming practices. As young organic farmers across the country look to the future and climate change, issues involving natural resources like soil and water will be central to our challenges. Our entire generation needs to learn what we can do now to prepare for the future.”

Speaking from the point of view of an older farmer is George Siemon, Organic Valley’s CEIEIO and one of the co-op’s founding farmers, is pleased with the efforts of these farmers. “The daily, earth-healing work of Organic Valley is at the core of our mission. The continuous improvement of our business’s sustainability practices is our backbone.”

The public is invited to join the cyclists at any time during the Cycling for Sustainability Tour. View the itinerary here. They will be armed with video cameras to document their journey. Videos and images of the tour will post to Organic Valley’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and daily progress will be shared on Rootstock.coop, along with information about the cyclists and experts.

Organic Valley: Independent and Farmer-Owned

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents approximately1,800 farmers in 36 states. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, and produce, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. With its regional model, milk is produced, bottled and distributed right in the region where it is farmed to ensure fewer miles from farm to table and to support our local economies. For further information visit www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @OrganicValley and Facebook, www.facebook.com/OrganicValley.

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