This March, 13 students graduated our Spring Seed to Supper class, armed with the knowledge and resources to grow produce from seedlings in the ground to full-fledged veggies on their supper table. Like so many IFFS programs, the impact of Seed to Supper beginner gardening classes reaches deep into the community. Not only do participants learn low-cost vegetable gardening to help reduce their monthly food budget, the group becomes a resource for self-sufficiency. It is a community of like-minded neighbors who have the knowledge and desire to support each other in growing their own food.
Seed to Supper students learn the basics of pest management, diseases, weed control, how to harvest, preserving techniques, and creating a garden map. Loosely based on square-foot-gardening, the map lays out what vegetables will be planted where, based on the space needed for growth and germination schedules.
Congrats to our Graduates!
The graduates received completion certificates, gardening kits, and lots of applause and love! Each participant was presented with gardening gloves, a trowel, seeds, seedlings, compost vouchers, and even customized fertilizer based on nutrient tests run on their own soil samples. We owe a huge shout-out to Raleigh Yard Waste and Logan Trading Company for providing supplies to get these new gardeners off to a great start!
Graduation is not the end of the gardening support IFFS offers to Seed to Supper participants. We will conduct follow-up visits to their gardens later in the season, and even offer a refresher course. More important, are the connections they have made with others in the class, both students and instructors. They know they have a strong foundation to rely on as they work the soil to increase the self-sufficiency of their families.
We Couldn’t Do It Alone
The Seed to Supper course is another example of the Food Shuttle’s collaborative work. We could not do this alone! Partners for this recent Spring course include Southeast Raleigh Assembly (SERA), which helps us with space and recruitment, and NC Cooperative Extension which provides Master Gardener volunteers.
IFFS is the first national partner for theOregon Food Bank who developed the Seed to Supper curriculum, with hopes of it being replicated. We rely on them for assistance and information, and they get concrete feedback about what is working and what can be improved.
IFFS began running Seed to Supper courses in 2015 when we graduated two classes, totaling 24 participants. This year, we intend to more than double that impact with four sessions graduating a total of 60 participants. We’re off to a great start with one class down, and folks already enrolled in the upcoming Summer class.
By Sally Bache, IFFS Administrative Services Manager. Contact: Sally@FoodShuttle.org