Ontario Pedal to Plate Tour 2015

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This is a tour that leaves tour members feeling full. Literally! Spend nine days cycling through the intricate foodscape of the Greater Toronto Area with new friends, discovering the flavours of the food that grows in your own backyard. Meet farmers at the forefront of the local food movement, and pick up a fresh set of culinary skills with the tour’s Food Coordinator. Contribute to local farms through workshares, cook for each other with local ingredients and explore the politics of feeding ourselves as you meet with food producers, academics, First Nations and activists.

“This is the BEST thing I’ve ever done. It was the most incredible, eye opening experience I’ve ever had. I made friends for life on my tours and gained so much self awareness and knowledge.” — Frank Lacobucci, 2013 Pedal to Plate Tour Member

Photos from past Pedal to Plate Tours

Tour Details

  • Dates: July 18-26, 2015
  • Location: Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
  • Open to all ages
  • Minimum fundraising amount: $1,200
    (covers the cost of your food, accommodations and logistical support; bursaries are available)

Apply today to secure your spot! Spaces are filled on a rolling basis, and we’ll be accepting applications until the tour is full.

2015 Pedal to Plate Members

Susie Turner

Susie imageI grew up in Aurora, Ontario, and have lived in Waterloo for the past 4 1/2 years completing my degree in Global Studies. I am passionate about learning, living a sustainable lifestyle, and investing meaningfully in my community to impact positive change.  I currently work for a local health food store and as the community representative for Evergreen, an environmental NGO based in Toronto.  I love being out in nature, and have spent the past two summers working at Awenda Provincial Park as a nature interpreter, enjoying cycling and hiking on days off. In May 2014, I travelled to Chile for a field course on Development, Social Justice and Sustainable Communities, learning about strategies for sustainable agricultural production in rural communities of Chile. This course re-ignited my belief that food can act as an incredible conduit for learning, connection to our environment, and positive change in our communities. I am so excited to embark on this journey with Otesha this summer!

Shira Gellman

shira imageShira Gellman is excited to be joining Otesha this summer to learn about sustainability and bring those lessons back to her work in Toronto with Ryerson University. She recently graduated from their MBA program and is now working at the new Student Learning Centre as an Operations Assistant and in her spare time as a mentor for social ventures and entrepreneurs. Shira is also a musician and athlete and loves gardening in her backyard in the summer!


Julia Gellman

Julia imageI’m Julia Gellman, and I’m really looking forward to my Otesha journey.  I’m excited to be exploring around my home town of Toronto with a group of people on bicycles, learning about growing food and living sustainably. I moved to Montreal years ago to study Environment at McGill University. After graduating I spent lots of time traveling, and playing ska trumpet across Canada. Now settled in Montreal, I spend most days gardening with kids in an after-school environmental program that I lead. I also work with a Sustainability organization at Concordia University where I’m focusing on reducing and reusing paper-waste on campus. As for this bike tour, I can’t wait to meet new people, see new sights, be outside, and learn lots!

Howie Woiwod

Howie imageI am 38 years old and an aspiring watchmaker, currently in school in Trois Rivieres. I have lived most my life as a musician. I have a diploma in Jazz performance on the trumpet and I enjoy playing keyboards and a few other instruments. I like cooking and eating fresh food. I spend my free time exploring new parts of the city on my bike as well as visiting flea markets and antique shops. I like to watch documentary movies and listening to podcasts and comedians.

I can’t wait to hit the road on this years Otesha Ontario bike tour!

Emma Buchanan

Emma imageHello! My name is Emma Buchanan and I’m Otesha’s Programs Coordinator. My Otesha journey began last year when I rode on the 2014 East Coast Tour. I had the best time ever tumbling up and down the hills with a group of silly, passionate people and am so unbelievably excited to be joining Otesha for another tour! I’m from and live in Halifax, NS where I’ve been active in various environmental and social justice issues. I’m very interested in the intersection of enviro and social justice, and don’t think we can have a strong environmental movement without also acting to end racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism and all the other ‘ism’s’ that exist. I love drumming with my political drumming group, Rad Rhythms, singing, and (my new-found love) playing pick-up soccer. Otesha invigorated a new interest in experiential learning for me and I can’t wait to learn through food on the Pedal to Plate Tour this July!

Justine Spits

Justine imageJustine Spits was born and raised in Belgium. She studied geography at university and did her Ph.D. in geography-geomatics. She has always been travelling a lot, mostly in Europe. In 2008 she travelled to Montreal, fell in love with Canada and therefore decided to move overseas after her Ph.D. More than just being a sport lover (frisbee, hiking, running, swimming…), Justine loves biking and has used her bicycle as her main means of transportation for the last 9 years. She is aware of the environmental challenges that we are facing, and therefore tries to be involved and to act as sustainably as possible. She lived and worked in Fredericton for three years and is currently a bike courier in Montreal. The Otesha Pedal to Plate Tour is going to be her second Otesha bike tour, as she was part of the 2014 Otesha East Coast Tour. She can not wait to do it all over again!

Ash Thackaberry

AshHello all, Ash here!

Rather than a bio I’d like to tell you a story about my final internship of my teaching degree at OISE in 2010. For this internship I decided to take part in a two month cycling, performing, AND farming adventure, surrounded by a community of beautiful beings on their bicycles.

It was here, on The Otesha Project that I discovered deep down what I really want to teach is compassion through humane, environmental, and outdoor education.  I have a great passion for teaching in this context, for example in an outdoor setting because there is an opportunity in every moment to teach kindness, respect, and occasionally a reverence for the life around us. This summer I have been volunteering at Fresh City Farms and continuing to focus my attention on learning about my local, organic food system, holistic nutrition, and ecological gardening techniques. I have also been reconnecting with the natural ecosystem of Southern Ontario; learning about wild edible and medicinal plants here, and being able to identify native and invasive plant and animal species and then share this knowledge, and my passion for nature with both youth and adults alike. I look forward to joining the Pedal to Plate tour this summer as the Food Coordinator and sharing stories, food, and another cycling adventure with a new community of beautiful beings on their bicycles.

Emilie Bouchard Fortier

EmilieBonjour tout le monde!

My name is Émilie, and I first heard about Otesha in 2010 when I was volunteering at a farm called “The Worm Factory” with a wonderful woman, and farmer named Gerrie Baker aka “The Worm Lady.” She hosted an Otesha tour that same summer that I was volunteering and ever since I have been interested in learning about organic agriculture and our food systems especially locally in Montréal.  For example I recently helped with the production and translation of a documentary film about urban agriculture and self sufficient food systems in and around Montréal. The film is loosely translated into “The Cultivating Homo Sapien” and has been featured in film festivals around Québec.

I’m currently living and working as a massage therapist in Montréal which has been a really nice transition for me. It has given me the freedom to make my own schedule and be my own boss so that I have lots of time to do the things I love building community, making art, and getting my hands dirty in the soil in a community garden by my house, and then using that locally grown, and organic food to nourish myself, my friends, and family. I’m excited to participate in and help cook for the Pedal to Plate Tour this summer and nourish the bodies and minds of all those involved.

How to Apply

  1. Read Bike Tours 101 and Eligibility to get a good idea of what going on tour is like.
  2. Fill out the Bike Tours Application Form. It should take around 20-30 minutes to complete. Note that you cannot save your responses as you go, so set aside some time to do it all in one go. Also be prepared to provide the contact information for one personal and one professional reference.
  3. Check out Otesha’s bursary programs. If you think you’re eligible, fill out the Bursary Application Form.

Once your application is in we will get in touch with you within 7 days to schedule an interview over the phone to learn more about you and share more about what to expect on tour.

Questions? Feel free to call us at (613) 237-6065 or write us at programs@otesha.ca!

The Route

How much food- and farm-focused awesomeness can you pack into nine days? Check out our tour route and itinerary to find out!

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Life on the Road

Every tour offers its own unique mix of changemakers, adventures and life-changing experiences. And while your pedal-powered journey will undoubtedly be one-of-a-kind, you can get a taste of what life on the road is like by having a looksie out this photo essay by Alternatives Journal about the 2013 tour. You can also check out our Bike Tours 101 page to learn what it’s like to be on tour with Otesha.

“It was an amazing feeling, being 13 cyclists on the road moving forward together. We had dreams in common and a lot of differences, but no matter what, we were always together, cycling forward. We’d all stop for lunch together and lie on the ground, eating, laughing and telling stories. If someone was selling plums by the road we would be there. We all had a huge sense of adventure and curiosity, and that bonded us more than anything.” — Kat Williams, 2008 Tour Member