PASCO -- Lisa Douglas was busy Thursday afternoon making a fruit salad featuring berries from her Pasco herb farm for the dozen or so cyclists who would be camping out on her property later that night.
The Global Agents for Change cyclists planned to stop in Pasco during their ride from Portland to Boston to raise awareness about sustainable food production and local consumption.
They plan to spend most of their nights at farms along the way to see for themselves the challenges food producers face.
"(We're) seeing what we produce here in the United States and seeing how feasible it is to eat local," Amelia Lukic-Kegel said.
They have bison ranches, cheese producers and flower farms lined up.
Douglas said the group found her Puddle Ducks Herb Farm on the internet on a pick-your-own-foods site.
"I thought it was kind of fun," she said of the group's request to camp and help out at her farm.
The cyclists also are volunteering their labor on the farms.
Douglas, who has been in business for 10 years, will have them clearing out a bed of bearded irises. She'll be grinding up the bulbs and turning them into orris root, which is used as a fixative or stabilizer for other herbs.
Puddle Ducks grows a variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables and nuts and berries. Ripe right now are strawberries, raspberries and saskatoons.
She said the farm always has herbs available. Fresh right now are mints, lavender blooms, horseradish, grape leaves and raspberry leaves.
The farm typically is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday or by appointment.
Douglas recommends calling 542-0489 before visiting.
Puddle Ducks Herb Farm is at 1817 N. Road 76, Pasco.
Wednesday, the cyclists stopped at Sunnyside's Heavenly Hills Harvest Organic Farm, owned by Merritt Mitchell-Wajeeh.
Mitchell-Wajeeh made sure she had a shady campsite, an above-ground pool, a bonfire and a homemade pizza dinner waiting for them.
"I needed this moved and we don't have a tractor," Mitchell-Wajeeh said as she directed the cyclists to roll a 30-foot metal tank, which may have held water or fuel, into a corner, where it was easier to mow around. She envisions using it as a cistern to collect rainwater.
Many of the riders don't know each other, but all are at least loosely connected to Lukic-Kegel.
Many of them attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver with her and Ben Amundson.
Lukic-Kegel's father, Chris Kegel, and her sister, Tessa Lukic-Kegel, also participated in the ride. Chris Kegal owns a bicycle shop in Milwaukee, Wis., and has taken his family on many bike tours as vacations.
But never with a cause, until now.
They are affiliated with Global Agents for Change, a Vancouver-based nonprofit that sponsors social activism bike tours.
The riders also aim to raise $20,000 to donate to a Boston organization that supports sustainable farming practices in Bolivia. They have $11,000 so far; each cyclist was required to raise $1,000 to participate.
They will finish their 3,000-mile ride Aug. 26.
Most of the riders participate in food-related community causes near their homes, said Ilana Fonariov, another University of British Columbia student.
She volunteers for Food, Not Bombs, a nonprofit that collects unsold groceries and cooks them for the down-and-out of Vancouver.
"We're all sort of involved with our own sort of social activism," Fonariov said.
Sam Brewer, who grew up with Amundson in St. Paul, Minn., said the farms they plan to visit remind him of his father, an avid gardener who turned their typical city lot into an "urban farm" with fruit, berries and vegetables.
"I just wanted to go across America and see how other people do it," said Brewer, a University of Oregon student.
* On the net: www.globalafc.org.