Hazon brings its food message on wheels to Pittsburgh

Hazon brings its food message on wheels to Pittsburgh

Some 25 cyclists from around the country will roll into Pittsburgh this week as part of a Jewish environmental organization’s effort to promote sustainable food systems.

The cyclists on the Hazon Cross-USA Ride are on a 10-week trek across the United States. Along the way, they stop in cities large and small, meet members of their Jewish communities and educate people about Hazon’s work, sustainability efforts, pressing environmental issues and how they relate to the Jewish tradition.

The group left Seattle June 7 and is expected to conclude its summer odyssey Thursday, Aug. 16, in Washington, D.C. Other riders have been joining and leaving the group for segments of the route.

The riders will spend Tuesday night in Wheeling, W.Va. They will ride into Pittsburgh Wednesday, perform community projects Thursday and continue their journey Friday.

During their time in Pittsburgh, the riders will volunteer with Bike Pittsburgh’s “Bike Fest,” donate freshly made soup with Rabbi Michael Werbow, tour the Biblical Botanical Gardens at Rodef Shalom Congregation with Rabbi Sharyn Henry, and spend time at the Jewish Community Center.

The community is invited to join the riders for these events Thursday, Aug. 9, as well as the barbecue dinner, sponsored by Grow and Behold Foods. Visit hazon.org/Pittsburgh for details.

Founded in 2000 with a cross-country ride, Hazon aims to touch people’s lives directly, building and strengthening institutions that create healthier, richer, and more sustainable Jewish communities.

The ride coincides with Congress’ consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill. The riders will be collecting signatures on a petition that calls for the government to make healthy food systems a priority.  The petition will be delivered to the White House and the Department of Agriculture in August.

One Pittsburgh cyclist, Paul Munro, started with the group in Seattle and expected to do the entire trip, but he was forced to cut his ride short after four days due to illness.

Another Pittsburgher, Jack Mostow, will join the ride here for its final leg in the nation’s capital. Other Pennsylvanians from Carlisle, York and Philadelphia have also taken part.

“I dreamt for years of doing the Pittsburgh to D.C. trip with my family, ever since our daughters were little,” Mostow told the Chronicle. “Since they’re not interested, I now dream of bike trips with the grandchildren we hope to be blessed with some day.

“My daughter has been encouraging me to do the bike trip in Israel,” he added, “so I was excited to see the article in the Chronicle about the Hazon ride, which mentioned the possibility of joining the Pittsburgh to DC leg.”

(Lee Chottiner can be reached at leec@thejewishchronicle.net.)