Oh, Really? Goldsboro has Rickshaws Selling Produce

Oh, Really? Goldsboro has Rickshaws Selling Produce

August, 23, 2012, by Jedidiah

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Remember that idea we had back in January about Rickshaws delivering produce? Yup, it's alive and well in Goldsboro, NC.

Back in January, we called for local Rickshaw companies to step up and start delivering produce around downtown and to neighborhoods. While seeming like a bad idea to some, Oak City Cycling has started carting around some produce from Raleigh City Farm to local restaurants. And now, it looks like Goldsboro has caught the idea by the horns, using local teens to deliver produce to lower income neighborhoods. 

Hey Raleigh, here's a second call to get your butts on your bikes and take a hint from Goldsboro. 

From the N&O article

The rickshaw project is being paid for by a two-year grant of about $50,000 from a U.S. Department of Agriculture fund aimed at boosting farmers markets.

It not only strikes a blow for nutrition, but also against unemployment among youth, all while expanding the marketing reach of local farmers, said Shorlette Ammons, who works for a Goldsboro-based partnership between N.C. A&T University, N.C. State University and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Her organization, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, spearheaded the Ped’ler project.

Ammons said organizers hope the program will win over enough customers and farmers that it becomes self-sustaining.

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  • Elizabeth S
    08/23 11:43 AM

    “Ammons said organizers hope the program will win over enough customers and farmers that it becomes self-sustaining.”

    This may just be why it hasn’t happened yet, and is unlikely to. The ultimate reach of this is pretty limited, just due to logistics—it’s just hard to imagine this being profitable here. There’ s just not a huge amount of people living downtown, and the farmer’s market is so accessible to the people who are living here. When you narrow the audience down to people who live/work downtown AND who are willing to pay a premium for having produce delivered, it seems like pretty small group of customers. And I imagine that a fair amount of those people are already using CSAs.

  • Bill
    08/23 01:33 PM

    You are kind to give attribution to the N&O when they don’t do the same.  They might mention a “local blog” when writing about a story you broke about discrimination at a Glenwood South bar but they should use the blog name.

  • Donald Mertrud (owner, Raleigh Rickshaw Co.)
    08/31 09:32 AM

    The Raleigh Rickshaw Co. is absolutely ready to step up to the plate.

    Currently, We are looking for someone to donate $50,000 (Like the goldsboro project received) the get the project going and sustain it.

    But Jed, In 2011alone , the Raleigh Rickshaw Co. Provided
    $30,118.73 Gas Dollars Saved in Downtown Raleigh.
    55,647.9 lbs. Less Emissions Polluting Downtown Raleigh.
    22,947 Hours of Cycling.
    57,369. Miles of Cycling.
    2,466,867 Calories Burned.
    and over 100,000 People rides ......... for tips only.

    and it cost the public…… $ 0 tax dollars

    For 5 1/2 years we Still receive NO support from any local government ,or the Downtown Alliance.

    It would be refreshing to see New Raleigh do a story on our quantifiable accomplishments.

    Come drive a Rickshaw with us for 8 hours and see how much butt sitting we are doing.

  • Kimberlee
    08/31 11:04 AM

    This is a great idea…for a nonprofit, which is essentially what the town of Goldsboro is funding with the grant from the US Department of Agriculture.  Per the article also, Goldsboro is a poorer community and much more rural than the Raleigh area.  While there indeed low-income sections of Raleigh, I believe those areas are already located to 2 large open-are farmer’s markets near South Saunders street and Downtown in Moore’s Square.

    Article excerpt: 
    “The answer, basically, was that they were fighting “food deserts” – areas where fresh vegetables and other healthy foods are scarce because of a lack of supermarkets or are too expensive because there are only small stores.”

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/21/2285497/goldsboro-rickshaws-bring-produce.html#storylink=cpy

    I don’t think that you could classify Raleigh as having “food deserts”.

    It is mis-directed to have a “call to action” for the Rickshaw companies and to tell them to “get off their butts”.  Your call for action should be directed to the US Department of Agriculture to offer $50,000 grants to all Rickshaw companies in North Carolina and to the many farmer’s markets that we have in Raleigh to work WITH the Rickshaw companies.  The Rickshaw’s are the vessels for delivery so it is irresponsible to aim action at them only.  Incidentally, The Raleigh Rickshaw Co. has at least 3 drivers who commute from Goldsboro to ride in Raleigh most weekends, so you may want to do some due diligence and interview them. 

    Rickshaw companies in Raleigh are small businesses and in order for them to stay in business and provide services, they have to make a profit to maintain the upkeep of the fleet (Raleigh Rickshaw has 20 bikes), pay rents for storage of the equipment, pay insurance, etc.  Maybe the author of this article has never run a small business? (and PS. I am liberal.)

    This is a great program for a community and outlying area such as Goldsboro and it would be great if local government & local farmer’s markets worked WITH the Rickshaw companies to provide a service similar to Goldsboro.  However, this should be a private venture; I do not think it is a good use of tax-payer dollars in the Raleigh area. 

    Access to good food & nutritional education is important especially when obesity and diabetes in young people is higher than it has ever been.  Just because someone is poor, that does not mean that they should not have access to nutrional food.  The ideas is great but, for the Raleigh area, you should really aim your critiques in the right direction.

  • Donald Mertrud
    08/31 11:21 AM

    $50,000. . . . Anyone?
    Maybe new Raleigh can help us raise the money.
    Call me Jed, let’s make this happen!

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