An Awesome Race for a Fresh Cause: The Siskiyou Challenge Raises Funds for Rogue Valley Farm to School
Running, cycling and kayaking 46 miles sounds like a lot of work, but when it raises $25,000 for local non-profit Rogue Valley Farm 2 School, it can be a walk in the park. Starting and finishing at ScienceWorks, the Siskiyou Challenge is a six-leg, multi-event race by bike, run and kayak or paddleboard, weaving through Ashland and the gorgeous landscape around on April 28.
Jane-of-all-trades Diane Green has participated every year since the event’s inception eight years ago, even taking on the challenge as a solo racer (and more than once).
“It’s really fun,” she says. “The course is varied, so there’s something for everyone and plenty to challenge a solo participant,” Green adds. “Some of the events are a little different from usual races—there’s a road bike and a mountain bike leg, a trail run and a street run, and the kayaking leg.”
And the event’s beneficiary, Rogue Valley Farm to School, is equally impressive.
“Rogue Valley Farm to School has been in the Valley for nearly a decade now and its mission is really providing hands on education for children, and to help connect children and schools with local food and farms,” Executive Director Sheila Carder explains.
The educational programs they implement teaches kids not only about the importance of organic, local and healthy foods, but incorporates writing, math, science and art as well as life-skills such as cooking and gardening.
“Our region depends very much on its local farmers, so supporting our local farmers is critical,” Carder says. “In terms of our children, one of the best things we can do is to get them to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.”
Carder says their goal is to help schools implement healthier choices and to buy and prepare local foods for lunchtime. She calls it a win-win because children who are aware of healthy choices tend to influence their families to eat healthier. It helps the local economy and the environment as well.
“If people get out there and see what a beautiful region we live in, they’ll also be inspired to want to make decisions that are going to take care of that region,” Carder says.
For more information, check out siskiyouchallenge.org and rvfarm2school.org
Saturday, April 28
ScienceWorks, 1500 E. Main Street, Ashland
Caption: Mountain Biking is one of six legs in the Siskiyou Challenge, a fundraiser for Rouge Valley Farm to School.
Credit: Graham Lewis