Water Whirled: Local teens ride stationary bike to power irrigation

story by Missy Steinberg

At the Teens 4 Good farm on Eighth and Poplar Streets, growing produce relies on a surprising technology: a stationary bike. The bike-powered watering system is a recent addition to the urban youth farm, which previously used a nearby fire hydrant for irrigation.

The new watering system uses a 500-gallon tank that collects runoff from the farm’s high tunnel and distributes it through two valves: one for drip irrigation and another for a hose. The hose is powered by a stationary bike that must be pedaled at a minimum of five miles per hour.

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Tunnel Vision: A network of farmers is using a new tool to extend the growing season

story by Liz Pacheco | photos by Emily WrenEntering the high tunnel at Mort Brooks Memorial Farm in Mount Airy is a little like stepping into a time machine. In early March, there are dense rows of rainbow chard and arugula, and a few beds have green stems poking through the soil. Farm manager Rick Rigutto reaches down and pulls out some chard, munching on a pink-hued stalk as he walks through the tunnel. While it’s been unseasonably warm, these greens shouldn’t be ready for eating for weeks. Most farms shut down by December, but Mort Brooks keeps on growing – and not in greenhouses. Instead they use sturdy, metal pipe frames covered in plastic sheeting known as high tunnels.
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