We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The sun shone brightly as Teaching Farm supporters gathered to celebrate the farm’s newest additions: a classroom and farm office.
“Look at these buildings!” said Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Co-Founder and CEO Jill Staton Bullard. “Thanks to The Jandy Ammons Foundation for the money to create a classroom and an office, so that the teaching on this farm can go on. Whether it’s raining, or whether the sun is shining way too high, these buildings give us a chance to get together and talk and learn.”
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In addition to offering tours and hosting field trips, the Tryon Road Teaching Farm is also home to an Incubator Farmer program that provides beginning farmers with mentoring, their own plot of land, and access to tools.
“We believe that food security means growing produce in food deserts and teaching people how to earn a living by using food as a tool,” said Bullard. “Inter-Faith Food Shuttle does that in numerous ways including incubator farmer training. Giving people who want to learn how to farm a place to start farming. Farming can be expensive. But if they don’t have to worry about the land and we can all share equipment, then we can do it! So today is a celebration of our incubator farmers who are growing businesses by using the ground, and the good soil, and the good organic practices learned and used here at the Teaching Farm.”
In addition to the Jandy Ammons Classroom, the new farm office was made possible by Burt’s Bees, Carolina Yard Barns, Express Electric, Jandy Ammons, Suburban Propane, and Wake Stone. Located adjacent to the old farm office and the tool shed, the buildings now form a small “Farm Village,” and a greater sense of community at 4505 Tryon Road in Raleigh.
“But more than anything else, this day is about people who believe in what we are doing,” added Bullard. “Thank you for believing in us and thank you for giving our incubator farmers an opportunity to get out of the sun and really learn. Everything that you are doing is going to make such a difference. We are so grateful.”
"I have enjoyed participating in the Incubator Farmer program for the past two years," said Lynn Alker of Lot 7. "I have learned a great deal about farming in the field. Having the office and classroom will allow us greater opportunity for learning, and strengthening our farm community. Thank you to those who generously support us and understand the importance of what we are doing."
"The IFFS Incubator Farmer program is the perfect way for aspiring small farmers to gain hands-on experience virtually risk free," said Dustin Crouch, who runs NC Regrown with his brother Jesse. "The new buildings will substantially enhance current Teaching Farm programs, and potentially open the door for innovations to further attack hunger and food insecurity in our community."
"The IFFS Incubator Farmer program has facilitated my calling as an organic farmer, providing the tools and land to grow my first crops of local produce for our community," said Morgan Vickery of Rising Sun Farm. "The addition of the new classroom and office creates a professional and academic side to the program where we can learn how to care for the soil, see what it takes to run a successful farm business, and get some much-needed relief from the heat this summer."
"I am very excited to be part of IFFS' Incubator Farmer program," said Maria Vinueza of Lulu's Farm. "I have learned a lot about farming and how to grow food that is organic, healthy, and delicious. The new buildings are wonderful for all us. Now we will have farming classes. It will very helpful for me. I love people here and what IFFS is doing for our community."
By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org