The Pedal Co-op: Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Bicycle Delivery Service

Written by Christine Bell, WhyHunger Intern
This post is part of WhyHunger’s peer mentor profile series for the “Community Learning Project for Food Justice” (CLP).  Each week through April 2012 we’ll highlight a new CLP peer mentor and their contribution to creating a national learning/teaching community to support the growth and expansion of the food justice movement.

Pedal Co-op Bicycle Hauling ServiceMembers of Philadelphia’s Pedal Co-op are “asserting their rights as bicyclists to be a part of the everyday utility of the city” and are promoting bikes for everyday business.  The Pedal Co-op is the only worker run organization providing waste removal services by bicycle throughout Philadelphia.  Owner/ Members of the Pedal Co-op volunteer their time and energy for a number of reasons.  Some site their passion for the environment, while others volunteer to better their neighborhoods and the world for future generations. The unique business agenda of the Pedal Co-op has allowed it to act as a bridge between many different communities in Philadelphia including the waste reduction, composting, and local food communities.  Members all agree that it is important to provide an alternate structure or model for a way of doing business in Philadelphia and using bikes to get rid of waste just makes sense. By making pick-ups and deliveries on bicycles with trailers, the Pedal Co-op is working towards a Philadelphia with cleaner air, quieter streets, healthier communities, and emptier landfills.

The Pedal Co-op charges a small fee to pick up recycling, composting, or make deliveries for community groups, businesses, and individuals throughout Center City, South Philadelphia, and West Philadelphia.  All recycling is delivered to the Blue Mountain Recycling Center to be recycled through their single stream recycling process.  Compost is delivered to local community gardens and urban farms for free.  Currently the Pedal Co-op delivers compost to two community gardens; both located in food deserts, but are in the process of expanding their services to other gardens as well as creating their own garden.

As CLP peer mentors, the Pedal Co-op is sharing how they set up their bicycle hauling and delivery service and providing hands-on technical assistance to their partners who want to create a similar model in their community.  In exchange, the Pedal Co-op is learning more effective and efficient techniques in composting and soil production for use in community gardens.

WhyHunger is proud to be working with the Pedal Co-op as one of 15 peer mentors participating in the Community Learning Project for Food Justice (CLP).  Click here to learn more about the Community Learning Project for Food Justice and this year’s crop of peer mentors.

Lorrie Clevenger