urban ag

Camden Street Learning Garden Dedicates Classroom to Jamie Kirk Hahn

Camden Street Learning Garden Dedicates Classroom to Jamie Kirk Hahn

“We’re all from different backgrounds & we’re all here sharing a meal together in honor of somebody who inspired this garden from its very roots."

Weekend Workshops: Grow Your Own

Join us for two upcoming agricultural workshops this weekend!

  • On Saturday, July 20th from 9:30-11:30 at our Hoke Street Training Center, learn to grow microgreens with IFFS Urban Ag Educator Maurice Small and the IFFS Urban Ag team! You've heard of baby spinach - microgreens are even younger, harvested at less than two weeks old. At this young stage, the greens pack up to 4-6 times more nutrients than mature greens. During this fun and educational morning, you'll learn how grow, prepare, and enjoy these nutritious greens!
  • On Sunday, July 21st,  join us for C.R.A.F.T. United Piedmont's second farm tour and potluck of the 2013 season,  3-7pm at LL Urban Farms in Raleigh.  The special topic will be Indoor and Outdoor Hydroponics.

Click here to learn more and sign up. For an idea of what to expect, check out this blog post from the June tour, held at Dancing Pines Farm in Efland. Every tour is as unique as the farm that hosts it, but you can expect an informal, behind-the-scenes, collaborative learning experience that is driven by the questions and interests of participants, rather than by a pre-determined curriculum. All experience levels welcome. Come ready to learn and share!

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is an international model of regionally-organized farmer training rooted in the belief that farmers learn best from each other. Through CRAFT United Piedmont, local farmers host educational tours on their farms once a month from June to November. Each tour will focus on a special topic and will be followed by a community potluck.

CRAFT membership and all events are free through 2013. Please RSVP to each event.

Part 3: Gardening Class for Teens at Parrish Manor

Students from NC State University (NCSU) have partnered with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to conduct a gardening class for teens in the community garden we manage at Parrish Manor, meeting once a week from Sept. 27 - Nov. 15. On the day I visited, NCSU Soil Science students Natalie and Jacob were teaching a lesson on compost. They brought with them a bag of un-enriched potting soil and some finished compost. As an experiment, they asked the class participants to fill 6 mason jars with the following: Potting soil + vegetable scraps; Potting soil + paper scraps; Potting soil + plastic scraps; Compost + vegetable scraps; Compost + paper scraps; Compost + plastic scraps.

The teens in the class then talked about which material might break down the fastest, considering factors like the amount of micro-organisms present, the amount of nitrogen, etc. Their hypotheses: The vegetables will break down in compost fastest, and the plastic in potting soil will break down slowest. They’ll monitor the jars in the coming weeks to see if their hypotheses are correct.

Labeling Jars Soil Science

Soil Science Jars

Natalie and Jacob also taught the class about waste management and jobs that involve waste treatment and composting. They began the lesson by asking the class to draw where they think waste from our toilets goes after it’s flushed, and ended by highlighting ecological waste water treatment practices like those in the EcoVillage of Findhorn, Scotland. They discussed job opportunities in composting, such as vermicomposting mico-enterprises, where such nutrient-rich worm castings are sold as natural fertilizer, and composting operations like CompostNow (another IFFS partner). It was clear to me these teens were seriously interested in this stuff –Kiara, who also works in the garden, is even thinking about changing her major at Wake Tech to something involving agriculture!

The following week, they nailed together compost bins for the garden, and the teens got to create their own vermicomposting bins!

Vermicomposting Bin


Parrish Manor Vermicomposting

Fun fact: Did you know that worms can eat twice their body weight in one day? Wow!

See what else has been happening in the Parrish Manor community and community garden in Part 1and Part 2 of this series.