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!

IMG_0855          IMG_0862

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!

IMG_0894         IMG_0916



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

Slideshow of photos:

Vermicomposting at IFFS Farm: Scaling it up!

Last Friday at the Food Shuttle farm, we scaled up our vermicomposting operation from wooden bins to a large worm house! Vermicomposting is yet another way to reduce food waste – instead of throwing out our banana peels and food scraps and having them wind up at the landfill, we can compost them and turn them back into soil! The worms eat through the food waste and mixed-in carbons sources, and then the worm castings actually help enrich and improve the soil with microbes and nutrients. This can be used as an organic fertilizer around the farm!

Wormhouse Before

Wormhouse 2

Worm bin

Wormhouse 3

wormhouse 4




Elizabeth's Friday Full of Fun!

By: Elizabeth Stahl, IFFS Communication Intern

Continuing to expand my knowledge of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, I learned food banks and food rescue organizations are quite similar. As you may remember from my previous blog post, I have a connection to MANNA Food Bank which works hand-in-hand with the Plant A Row program and community distribution programs.  So not only does food banking accumulate warehouse goods, but they also work with fresh produce for different agencies.  Food rescue organizations, like the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, deal with food rescue and garden-fresh produce as well as distribution around the community.  Both organizations are dedicated to fighting hunger!

Recently I ventured to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle farm and learned about the organic farming methods they employ.  Not only is Steven Horton, assistant farm manager, hard at work on the farm but chickens and worms put in their fair share as well! Known as the official “worm doctor,” Steven is dedicated to making the farm successful, “I’d like to educate more people on our growing methods a lot of people think that organic farming is like going back to the 18th century, and it's not.” Employing worms to create nutritious, rich fertilizer, utilizing worm-castings ensures delicious vegetables!

After a morning of hard work, I put the “worm doctor” to the test and asked him a few questions.

1. If you could be any vegetable which one would you be and why?

-I would be a bean because they are the most pervasive they will climb up anything and take over anything.

2. What is one type of food you simply could not live without?

-Any kind of berry- strawberries, blackberries, and mulberries- they grow in the wild and are easy to pick.

3. Is there anything other than working on the farm that you do to fight hunger?

­-I work with Crop Mob, an organization of young farmers that wanted to help each other.  They meet and work during the day and then share a meal together, all on sustainable farms.  I also read about farming and new farming methods.

4. Which is more important: the chickens or the worms?



-The worms because they provide really high quality, organic fertilizer they helps make the soil healthy for years to come.  They can feed the chickens and the hungry!  They make growing plants a lot easier!

5. What is something you are most proud of?

-I am proud of where I am at now in my life.  I am proud that I have an open mind and respect my own beliefs but at the same time being open to others beliefs.

8. What is the most important meal of the day and why?

-Breakfast because it keeps you going until lunch!

9. What is something you wish more people did?

-Stop complaining and start doing! 


Special thanks to Steven and his hard work on the farm!  Without his dedication, the farm would not be able to provide seeding transplants for other IFFS farms or grow nutritious produce for the IFFS agencies!  Look for more Friday Full of Fun next week!