Opening the IFFS Teaching Farm: Goats on the Move

IFS_beet-hunger_d03September is Hunger Action Month. Learn how volunteers help us BEET HUNGER every day.  Sustainable farms are key to a food secure and hunger-free future - find out below how you can volunteer on our Teaching Farm like Yvonne and help us beet hunger, too! Yvonne Wagner opens the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm every Tuesday morning. One of the tasks included in this volunteer job is moving the goats from their paddock to fresh pasture to graze. It can be a risky business, but it's all part of running a farm!

What else is involved in opening the farm?  Watch Yvonne and find out!

How else can you help out on the IFFS Teaching Farm and help us BEET HUNGER?

Opening the Farm:

What's involved? Opening the chicken coop, feeding the chicks, chickens, and goats, collecting eggs,  checking water feeders and checking the aquaponics greenhouse. Opening the farm is a daily task that takes 45 mins and should happen within 15-30 minutes after sunrise.

Closing the Farm:

What's involved? Securely latching chickens inside their coops and checking the electric chicken fence. Closing the farm is a daily task taking 15 mins that should happen at sundown.

Farm Stand:

The farm stand at Dover Rd is open Thursday and Friday from 12-6 pm, and Saturday from 9am-1pm. Tasks include basic math, using a scale to weigh vegetables, interacting directly with customers, and keeping accurate records. Managing the farm stand happens on Thurs, Fri, and Sat, with volunteers working a 3 hour shift, either opening (11:45-3) or closing (3-6 pm), or anytime on Saturday from (9-1).

Harvesting Crew:

Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings we harvest for the farm stand from 8 am to 11:30 am. Tasks include using harvesting tools such as a knife, scissors, shovel, or digging fork; washing, sorting, and packaging produce and eggs; and delivering them to the farm stand across the street.

Field Preparation Crew:

The field preparation crew tasks include tilling and building rows, hoeing and raking weeds, spreading compost and fertilizer, mowing and weed-eating walkways, moving deer and chicken fences, and transplanting from the greenhouse. These are daily tasks and can be either a morning (9-12) or afternoon (1-4) work time (these times are guidelines, our volunteer coordinator Laura Todd (Volunteers@FoodShuttle.org) does specific time scheduling).

Composting Crew:

We need volunteers to help with picking up brewers mash from local breweries in downtown Raleigh. What's involved? Driving a big box truck, depositing brewers mash in compost area, building and turning existing compost piles, checking compost temperature, and driving  the tractor. Eventually, we hope to pick up food-waste from area restaurants to incorporate into our compost at the farm -pickups are typically 1-3 times per week in the afternoon and take between about an 1.5 hours from pickup to drop-off and mixing.

Please note that all Volunteer Opportunities can be taught on the farm to the appropriate candidates. All are welcome! Contact Joshua@FoodShuttle.org for more info.

IFFS Spring Fling Farm Festival

Last week, we held our Spring Planting celebration, announcing a $700K USDA grant to fund our Young Farmer Training Program. What else has been happening on the IFFS farm this Spring? Plenty!  Sunday, April 1st, was the IFFS Spring Fling: A Farm Festival for the Whole Family, and the beautiful weather made the day perfect for celebrating springtime, indeed! There were lots of kids’ activities! Kids could decorate a clay pot in which to grow their own garden and take the plant home with them. There was also natural egg dying, an egg hunt, face-painting, games (like pin the tail on the rooster), and more!


We were very excited to enjoy a demo and lesson from Arthur Gordon, Chef Emeritus and Owner of the Irregardless Café in Raleigh, which focuses on fresh, seasonal meals! The vegan wild tofu reubens he made were delicious - what a great way to use fresh cabbage from the garden!

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For dessert, we had Vanilla Ice Cream from NC State University – made right on their campus with fresh milk and cream from their cows!


Kids and adults alike enjoyed the farm tour led by Young Farmer Training Program Apprectice Hunter and IFFS Farm Educator Sun Butler! Participants got to know the IFFS chickens, goats, bees, vermicomposting worms, and baby chicks!

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Along the way, those on the tour even got to witness a very special event – a bee swarm! Farm Educator Sun Butler was explaining the apiculture (bee-keeping) operations on the farm, when a great buzzing was heard, and the swarm emerged from the hive! This happens when the queen bee leaves the nest with a large group of drones to mate and form a new colony.

A Food Matters demonstration showing some easy, farm healthy recipes to make with veggies and herbs from the garden piqued our taste buds for warmer weather foods! Ginger, IFFS Nutrition Health Fair Intern, demonstrated how to make a classic tabouli salad, a black bean salsa, and a Greek-style cucumber and yogurt dip with dill. Yum!


The day of festivities also included a composting demonstration! Participants dissected the compost pile, observed the pile "cooking itself" at 150 degrees, and visited with the composting worms in our new wormhouse. Participants also learned how soil biology makes nutrients available to the plants when organic matter is added to the soil in the form of compost or cover crops.

photo by Amin Davis

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