Saving Butterflies, Growing Food: IFFS Incubator Farmer Elizabeth Mann

Elizabeth Mann's gardening adventure all began with a packet of tomato seeds. Five raised garden beds, 100 monarch butterflies, two certifications (one in permaculture, one in family herbal medicine), a book, and a move from Orlando, FL to Raleigh, NC later, she's landed at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm.

Elizabeth and her family began volunteering at the IFFS Teaching Farm in the beginning of May, and Elizabeth now cultivates her own plot as part of the IFFS Incubator Farm Program.

She grows veggies, herbs, milkweed and other butterfly host plants. She raises butterflies, and hopes to re-create the garden she and her family developed back in Orlando here in NC.  Her goals include restoring the monarch butterfly population, encouraging others to grow plants that attract butterflies, as well as teaching gardening.

What's she growing right now: butternut squash, sweet corn, sunflowers (to attract pollinators), green beans, zucchini, zinnias (for the butterflies), chamomile, oregano, basil, chocolate mint, lemongrass (for distillation into essential oil), and tomatoes

AND, she's hosting a workshop at the IFFS Teaching Farm this Saturday, August 17th, from 10-11am on Butterfly Rearing and Habitat. Then stick around for a workshop on Planning  your Fall Garden with Farmer Sun Butler (Cost is $10 for each of $15 for both; e-mail sun@foodshuttle.org to reserve your spot!).

Can't make it to the workshop? Keep up with Elizabeth on her blog, check out her book, or come visit the IFFS Teaching Farm another time!

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

Upcoming Workshops on the Teaching Farm

An update from Sun Butler, our Farm Educator and Manager on what's going on and what's coming up at the farm:

Swallow Tail Butterflies Infest Food Shuttle Farm Greenhouse Workshop Planned for August 17th

www.richard-seaman.comThis past weekend large numbers of caterpillars were discovered devouring our parsley transplants in the greenhouse. Their distinctive coloring and lack of horns tipped us off that they were not the usual tomato hornworm larvae that we often see in the field. Our resident butterfly expert and incubator farmer Elizabeth Mann was called in. Elizabeth identified the culprits as Swallowtail butterfly larvae who – yes, have a predilection for parsley. Hand-picking the offending future butterflies from our transplants, Elizabeth requisitioned several parsley plants to keep them well fed in rearing boxes until they enter chrysalis in about two weeks.

With butterfly season in full swing out in our fields we thought this would be an excellent time to schedule a workshop on creating butterfly habitat in your garden. Taught by Elizabeth Mann, author of ‘A Study of Butterflies in North America’, you will learn to identify local butterfly species, their preferred food sources and plants you can include in your garden and landscape to encourage them. Check out Elizabeth’s book and reserve a spot at this 1 hour long workshop by emailing Farm Educator Sun Butler sun@foodshuttle.org.

Butterfly Habitat and Rearing with Elizabeth Mann

When: 10 AM Sat. August 17th

Where: IFFS Teaching Farm 4505 Tryon Rd. Raleigh 27606

Workshop Cost :$10 payable day-of.

Some Like It Hot!!! Hot Pepper Sauce Workshop Saturday August 24th at Food Shuttle Teaching Farm

medusahead-bFood Shuttle incubator farmer Mike Carpenter has been spreading delight and pain around the farm lately as he pursues test subjects with plates of peppers cut into tiny slivers urging them “Here! Try this one!.” Some of Mike’s fermented pepper sauces are surprisingly smooth and mild and good sources of lacto-bacillus pro-biotics. Others are being studied as candidates for materials to initiate fusion energy.

On Saturday Aug 24th at 10 AM Mike will share his expertise in pepper farming and beneficial insect conservation and some of his recipes for making his magic pepper sauces. A walk through Mike’s incubator plot is a veritable pepper garden of eating with many strange and wonderful varieties. Across the road we will tour Food Shuttle Teaching Farms’ commercial pepper production under black plastic. If you are going to have a pepper crop in the ground from April until October, you want to have a plan for controlling weeds. Email Farm Educator Sun Butler sun@foodshuttle.org to reserve your spot.

All Things Peppery with Mike Carpenter

When: 10 AM-11AM Saturday September 14th Where: Food Shuttle Teaching Farm, 4505 Tryon Rd. Raleigh 27606 Workshop Cost: $10 payable day-of.

Time to Plan your Fall Garden!

Fall Harvest of Spinach at the IFFS Teaching Farm

Fall in North Carolina can be the most pleasant of garden seasons. With the first frost most bugs and aggressive weeds enter dormancy. It is not so bloody hot and with a little planning, you can enjoy a wonderful variety of Fall greens right into January! Explore the many healthy and delicious crops that you can grow during our mild autumn months to keep your family’s mouths watering way past Christmas. Join us at Food Shuttle Farms Fall Garden Series August 17th and 24th. Email Farm Educator Sun Butler at sun@foodshuttle.org to attend either or both.


Planning Your Fall Garden Part 1 with Farmer Sun Butler

When: 11:15 – 12:15 August 17th

Where: Food Shuttle Teaching Farm 4505 Tryon Rd Raleigh 27606 Cost: $10 (or $15 for both Butterfly Habitat and Fall Garden workshops)

Subjects covered include

  • Fall bed preparation and soil fertility,
  • Starting cold weather crops in hot weather conditions
  • Fall varieties – What To Plant
  • Fall Pest and Winter Weed Control

Planning Your Fall Garden Part 2 with Farmer Sun Butler

When: 11:15am – 12:15pm September 14th

Where: Food Shuttle Teaching Farm 4505 Tryon Rd Raleigh 27606

Cost:  $10 ($15 for Peppers and Fall Garden workshops)

Subjects Covered include:

  • Fall/Winter Cover Crops and No-till Vegetable Production
  • Fall/Winter Season Extension – Extend Your Growing Season year-round
  • Fall Lettuce and Microgreens Production
  • Wonderful World of Arugula