Add VeloVeggies of Minneapolis, Minnesota to the growing list of innovative bicycle-powered food businesses such as Freewheelin Farm in Santa Cruz, Metro Pedal Power in Boston and One Revolution in Burlington. Founder Randall Dietel came up with the idea for his zero-emissions business while, not surprisingly, riding his bike one summer day in Minnesota. As he describes his vision, “I wanted to be able to deliver real, good food to people. Plus, I get to ride my bike. And I love that.”Dietel’s fascination with farm fresh food began at an early age, when he spent quality time on his grandparents’ farms in West Carver County. In college, he became president of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student chapter, where he was able to test his entrepreneurial prowess assisting farms in creating business plans for value added products like hard-apple cider and goat’s milk ice cream.
Services offered by VeloVeggies include pick-up and delivery of Twin City’s farmers market produce in VegBoxes. Residents or businesses can place their order as late as the night before. They select a variety of what’s in season, using this chart by Minnesota Grown. VegBoxes are packed and delivered on the same day to ensure optimum freshness.
VeloVeggies has found a niche with folks’ who want to receive a regular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share from a local farm, but don’t have the time to pick it up themselves. The company provides a weekly pick-up service from various CSA drop-off sites around Minneapolis and delivers them straight to homes and businesses.
They also joined forces with Bike Farm in Cushing, Wisconsin to deliver their CSA shares. Bike Farm produces everything from goat cheeses, goat milk, eggs, apples, maple syrup and vegetables. And while the farm isn’t certified organic, they use no hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. VeloVeggies’ website boasts of this partnership, “Together we are reducing carbon emissions and allowing farmers to spend more time in the field and less time making vehicle deliveries.”
VeloVeggies also picks up kitchen scraps and compostable items on a weekly basis, supplying clients with a compost bin and compostable bag liners for a minimal fee. The compost is then taken to a vermiculture processor or local community gardens to be made into soil. For every 50 pounds of compostable material that a customer provides, VeloVeggies will give them back five pounds of compost and one pound of worm castings to be used in their own garden.
This sustainable startup is a win-win for all parties involved – the environment, home and community gardeners, farmers, and the social entrepreneur who pedaled this forward-thinking business model into fruition.
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