Milwaukee student “veggie stand cargo bike” design wins funding

The world is in good hands if Ella is representative of the youth of today and their vision of the future.

On February 13th Anodyne Coffee Roasters hosted the Youth Food Council Community SOUP. Local Milwaukee students presented their ideas for projects to improve the community. Event attendees donate money at the door,  receive a meal, then vote on their favorite presentation. The funds raised are awarded based on final placing.

Last year Ella, an 8th grader, designed a pedal powered phone charger using a hand crank radio part and some spare electronics. The project won 3rd place at the citywide STEM Fair.

Mrs. Erin Dentice, an all around super support staffer, has been building up Parkside Elementary agriculture education programs. Erin and students manage hoop houses at a nearby garden co-op space. They grow a large diversity of foods to teach the community how to cook using local grown healthy foods of over 25 ethnic backgrounds. When Mrs. Dentice was looking for ways to involve students and continue their devotion to “being green” but also looking to sell some of their spare produce at local markets she recruited Ella to help solve the problem.

Ella has a Virtue Schoolbus on loan to base the project around. She then added a solar panel charger for phones, speakers for music, or lights. She had to design a surface of sorts to lay produce for sale on it but wanted to incorporate it into what the bike already had. The prototype uses cardboard but she hopes to find a lightweight material that is stiff to complete the final design. Her and I discussed wood vs aluminum vs other materials a little bit.  Bike Fed partnered with Emmett Gross in the past to make aluminium boxes for our Mobile Repair programs and I told her we could make an introduction.

Ella next to her prototype Market Cargo Bike

I had the chance to meet up with Ella and interview her after she won 1st place in the SOUP event and received $400 to make the project a reality. She was also donated the solar panel to help offset that cost and perhaps spend the remain money. The goal is to have it up and rolling by this Summer’s market season.

.Jake Newborn: “What was the goal with this project, why did you want to do this?”

Ella: “Mrs. Dentice recruited me to help after I did the phone charger bike project last year. Our goal was to reduce our carbon footprint and make the world a better place”

Jake: “What is your favorite fruit or veggie?”

Ella: “I like tomatoes!”

Jake: Why did you want to be a part of this project?

Ella: “I like engineering and designing things, and riding my bike.”

Jake: “What was the most fun part about this project?”

Ella: “Designing it to create something and have it come to life. I love engineering and designing things. I also love riding my bike.”

Jake: ” What was the biggest challenge?

Ella: “The actual table top, I wasn’t sure [at first] how to make it functional and be able to be ridden around”

Thanks to Ella for taking the time to meet with me and congratulations on your winning funding! Can’t wait to see it in action!

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