NC State

Farming for the Future: IFFS Incubator Farmer Vann Fussel

Vann Fussel, an NC State student, first got involved with the IFFS Teaching Farm through a volunteer project for his Agroecology class. When looking for a summer farm internship or apprenticeship to get more hands-on experience farming, he happened to run into IFFS Farm Manager Sun Butler, and now Vann has a plot of his own at the IFFS Teaching Farm as part of our Incubator Farm program.

This summer,  Vann is grew lots of tomatoes and basil, along with some other summer produce – squash, eggplant, peppers, and a few flowers. He’s looking forward to testing out new techniques he learns in his classes, continuing to grow and share vegetables, planting more beneficial flowers, and maybe even planting some blueberry bushes.

Farming is definitely in Vann’s long-term plans. His grandmother owns an old family farm currently not in use, and Vann hopes to move out there one day to start a larger, sustainable farm

The IFFS Incubator Farm Program supports and grows new viable, independent farm businesses and aims to serve as a model new-farmer program.

You can help support our agricultural training programs by donating today, or help sustain them year-round by becoming a monthly Ground-Level Giver! Or want to get your hands in the dirt, connect to where your food comes from, and help grow wholesome produce? Volunteer on our Teaching Farm!

UPDATED! A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering College Students*

UPDATE! There's been a slight change of plans for the benefit tonight. The start time has been pushed back to 9 and instead of local bands, you can come out for the Sky Lounge DJ. Canned food won't get you in, but IFFS will still get proceeds from the cover charge. Thanks agains to Eric and his class for making this happen. Last summer at the Mix 101.5 BackPack Buddies Food drive, I met Eric Fotheringham. Eric teaches Political Science at NC State and was interested including a service learning component in one of his courses.

We exchanged emails about it and came up with options his students could choose to work on over the semester. I went to speak to the class, to tell them more about what the Food Shuttle does. They were very engaged and asked some great questions.

In the end, they decided to focus on two things. One was developing sort of a manual for us on how to get in touch with the elected officials for the counties we serve. This is huge for us. About 97% of all the money we raise goes back into our programs, so we've never had dedicated staff to stay on top of that kind of information.

The other project they wanted to take on was organizing a food drive for BackPack Buddies.That was exciting to hear, because we know how important it is to make sure children have nutritous meals over the weekend. And we were excited to see the energy and creativity a group of college students would bring to the process.

Energy and Creativity? They haven't disappointed. As they thought about how to maximize how much food they could collect, the decided to go a step beyond a food drive. Working on their own, they lined up a venue, some local bands and have organized a concert to raise food and money for us. Check out the flyer above for details.

Thanks to Eric and PS201 for all their work to makes this happen. This is a great example of how anyone can join in the fight against hunger. Start with what you are and where you are. Engage your community. Amazing things can happen.

Come out Friday night to the Sky Lounge for a night of great music and to support the fight against hunger. What's better than that?

*Apologies to Dave Eggers for borrowing the title of his best-selling memoir for this post, but it seemed to fit.