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Earlier this week, US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Kathleen Merrigan kicked off her nationwide ”Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” College Tour here in North Carolina. The Center For Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) hosted Merrigan for free lectures at N.C. A&T State University and at N.C. State University February 9. As a national leader in the sustainable food movement, Merrigan spoke at NCSU’s Danbey Hall to an auditorium full of students, professors, farmers, chefs, and concerned citizens.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) staff had a moment to chat with the Deputy Secretary as she toured the NCSU Campus Farmers’ Market with CEFS. Farm Manager Steven Horton and Young Farmer Training Program Coordinator Mitra Sticklen had a chance to meet Dr. Merrigan and explain a bit about IFFS internship and training programs. She wished us the best of luck with these programs and suggested that there should be more programs like ours across the nation. Just a few hours later, many IFFS team members attended her NCSU lecture.

Merrigan’s approach toward whole-system food security is exciting because it connects all the pieces of our broken food system. She explained that the linked problems of diabetes, obesity, food insecurity, and malnutrition could be solved with combined efforts to practice healthy eating habits from an early age and create more local farms. Building a culture of healthy communities who eat fresh food within a vibrant local economy is the basic idea for Merrigan’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” campaign.  Her approach is to promote regional food systems by creating equal access to healthy food and new jobs, and focusing on young leaders to transform the food system.

In a nod to other successful programs at a national level, Merrigan highlighted the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative to fight childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles. Merrigan applauded Michelle Obama for bringing children’s diets in school and at home into the national conversation.

A USDA Press Release from the NCSU lecture quotes Merrigan as saying:

“The Obama Administration believes this is a historic opportunity to help win the future by laying a new foundation for economic growth, creating jobs and building and revitalizing critical infrastructure here in North Carolina and in rural communities across America through supporting and establishing local and regional food systems as an economic development strategy to keep wealth in local communities,”

In addition to offering many options for USDA internships for students in the audience, Merrigan also directed young leaders to apply for FoodCorps , a “yearlong term of public service in school food systems. Once stationed, FoodCorps members will build Farm to School supply chains, expand food system and nutrition education programs, and build and tend school food gardens.”  North Carolina is one of ten states chosen for 2011 FoodCorps through a partnership between CEFS and 4-H, and Merrigan urged audience members to join this year of service for North Carolina’s school food system.

The USDA team engaged the audience with interactive remotes, and Merrigan quizzed attendees about everything from nutrition education to profitable crops in North Carolina. Here are a few interesting statistics from her presentation:

  • 73% of the USDA budget is for nutrition education
  • 43.4 million Americans (that’s 1 in 7) are on SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps
  • 1 in 4 SNAP dollars are redeemed at Walmart
  • 45% of the food dollars spent in Detroit are SNAP dollars

Yikes! You can see from these numbers that our food system is in serious trouble, and we need some serious game-changers to face these challenges.

Merrigan briefly fielded a few questions about local crop sources in the military (see more on this blog), and a question from IFFS Farm Educator Sun Butler about organic farmers and a recent USDA recent decision to deregulate genetically engineered crops. While her response to this question was short and opened the doors for further discussion, she pointed to a strategy of “coexistance” between farmers who use organic methods and farmers who use genetically engineered crops. Merrigan closed simply by saying,

“Not every family needs an accountant. Not every family needs a laywer. But every family needs a farmer…Do you know yours?”

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Last year was very productive on the farm, but now it’s time to look towards the year ahead. Although it is January there are still several projects going on at the farm. We have three new worm boxes in the greenhouse so we have moved all of the vermicompost operations. Since its nice and worm (pun intended) inside the greenhouse, our vermicompost temperatures have remained above 40 degrees F.

These worms are helping us making compost for 2011

In early January’s cold snap when temperatures were in the low teens, many of our greens could not make it in the field even with frost guard cloth. The heavy snow fall and fast melt was good for the remaining greens. During February and March we will be working to get the field planted for spring.

In the greenhouse we are filling up trays of lettuce seed and getting them started. Some of the lettuce is up to 3 inches tall and between 3-6 weeks old. We will start hardening the larger ones off and planting them in the field as spring approaches.


I am really excited about chickens this year. We are going to have 2 flocks (I don’t know what breeds yet) and we are starting a selective breeding program. If anyone knows of any free construction materials for a large mobile chicken tractor, let me know.

Cheers,

Steven

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm and Garden

Crew-Call August 17, 2010


The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Harrison Branch Public Library will host a FREE showing of the food documentary, “FRESH” on Thursday, August 19 at 6:30pm at the Richard B. Harrison Library 1313 New Bern Avenue Raleigh, NC 27610. This documentary is making Americans ‘THINK” about where our food comes from, how we get it and what’s in the food we eat. “FRESH” celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. We hope you can c’mon out and join us for this fun event!

VOLUNTEER TIMES & EVENTS

Food Shuttle Farm,

Looking for something fun to do during the week? Sun and Steven are at the farm most mornings and late afternoons. Email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org)  for more information.

Work day, Saturday between 9a-2p (4505 Tryon Road)

      • We need 10 volunteers that can each commit 2-3 hours this Saturday!
      • Reserve your spot with Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) so he knows you’re coming out to help!

Community Gardens

Neighbor 2 Neighbor             Tuesday               from      8:30a-9:30a

Mayview                                     Wednesday       from      8:30a-9:30a

Alliance                                       Thursday             from      4:00-5:00p

      • We really need help watering & keeping the weeds out of the gardens! If you can volunteer on a different day or time, please email Amanda.
      • We need 3 volunteers for each work day- email Amanda (Amanda@foodshuttle.org) if you can help.
      • Garden Addresses/Directions: Neighbor to Neighbor is at 1200 S Blount Street; 1 story brick building on right with long chain link fence.  The Mayview garden site is located down the grassy hill behind the duplex at 2136 Mayview Rd (backing up to the Jaycee field). Alliance Medical Ministry is located at the corner of New Bern Ave. and Donald Ross Dr. at 101 Donald Ross.

Irvin Learning Farm, 9a-12p (2912B Jones Ferry Road, Chapel Hill)

The Food Shuttle and Triangle Land Conservancy are starting a new teaching farm at TLC’s Irvin Learning Farm outside of Carrboro on Jones Ferry Rd. and we need your help! We’re installing 1/2 acre of vegetables on new land at Irvin Hill and plan to expand this teaching operation to include vegetable production, permaculture and rotation grazing for small farm animal production. If you live near Chapel Hill this is a great opportunity to help start a teaching farm from the ground up.  Please email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) if you are able to help on Friday from 9a-12p and Steven (steven.p.horton@gmail.com) if you can help Saturday from 9a-12p.

Directions to Irvin Learning Farm:
From Chapel Hill: Go west on NC 54 Bypass and take the Jones Ferry Road exit. Turn left onto Jones Ferry Road and follow 3.6 miles to the Irvin Learning Farm sign on the left. Follow the signs indicating the gravel driveway on the left.  Go past the barns and house, take the next dirt path on the left. The garden is down the hill.

Food Shuttle Culinary Garden

We’re looking for a few good gardeners that can help us grow our Food Shuttle Garden! Culinary Job Training Program students and Operation Frontline class participants use herbs and produce from this garden to learn how to incorporate healthy, fresh ingredients into their recipes. The Food Shuttle garden is open during our business hours (Mon-Fri 8a-4p and Sat 8a-noon). Please email Steven (steven.p.horton@gmail.com) if you can help!

PAR (Plant a Row for the Hungry) – sign up to become a member or drop off site!

The IFFS PAR program encourages people to grow extra and/or donate excess produce to people in need through IFFS.  We will have weekly PAR produce drop-off sites at locations around our 7 county service area, including at Logan’s on Saturday mornings.

If you are interested in becoming a member (donating produce from your own harvest) or know of a farmers market or store that might be interested in becoming a PAR drop-off site please contact Don at don@foodshuttle.org.

BackPack Buddies Food Drive this Thursday!

Please join us this Thursday from 6a-6p at Crabtree Mall and Cary Crossroads for the Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM BackPack Buddies Food Drive.


GARDEN SUPPLIES

We are still in need of hand-tool donations.  We gladly accept new and/or lightly used equipment. Thanks to all who have responded.

New Volunteer?

If you have not filled out a volunteer form or have a friend who is interested in helping out please email Janet at (rgsjrs@aol.com)

Hope to see you at FRESH!

Sun, Amanda, Steven, Elizabeth & Katherine

Another simple summer recipe from the creative Sally Bache! Check it out below.

A couple weeks ago I did this riff on a Salade Nicoise

In two huge salad bowls:

  • leaf lettuce from the garden
  • grill-roasted beets from the garden (substituting for the traditional potatoes)
  • grill-roasted green beans from the garden
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • capers
  • olives
  • Italian canned tuna packed in olive oil
  • dabs of herbed goat cheese

Served with crusty baguette and a balsamic dressing. This salad truly was greater than the sum of the parts. Possibly the best salad ever.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm and Garden

Crew-Call August 10, 2010

The Food Shuttle has several exciting events coming up and we would love for you to join us! Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM BackPack Buddies Food Drive, An Alice Affair, and Fox 50 Family Fun Fest & The Great American Tobacco Duck Race. Click on the links to get involved.

VOLUNTEER TIMES & EVENTS

Food Shuttle Farm,

Looking for something fun to do during the week? Sun and Steven are at the farm most mornings and late afternoons. Email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org)  for more information.

Work day, Saturday between 9a-Noon (4505 Tryon Road)

      • We need 10 volunteers that can each commit 2-3 hours this Saturday!
      • Reserve your spot with Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) so he knows you’re coming out to help!

NEW DIRECTIONS! No, the farm hasn’t changed location, we’re just asking that all volunteers park at 4505 Tryon Road, where the IFFS Farm sign is now set. Once you park your car, walk across the field towards the greenhouse; Sun and Steven will be in that general area.

Community Gardens

Work times have changed!

Neighbor 2 Neighbor             Tuesday               from      10a-11:30a

Mayview                                     Wednesday       from      8:00a-9:00a

Alliance                                       Thursday             from      4:00-5:00p

      • We really need help watering & keeping the weeds out of the gardens! If you can volunteer on a different day or time, please email Amanda.
      • We need 3 volunteers for each work day- email Amanda (Amanda@foodshuttle.org) if you can help.
      • Garden Addresses/Directions: Neighbor to Neighbor is at 1200 S Blount Street; 1 story brick building on right with long chain link fence.  The Mayview garden site is located down the grassy hill behind the duplex at 2136 Mayview Rd (backing up to the Jaycee field). Alliance Medical Ministry is located at the corner of New Bern Ave. and Donald Ross Dr. at 101 Donald Ross.

Irvin Learning Farm, 9a-12p (2912B Jones Ferry Road, Chapel Hill)

The Food Shuttle and Triangle Land Conservancy are starting a new teaching farm at TLC’s Irvin Learning Farm outside of Carrboro on Jones Ferry Rd. and we need your help! We’re installing 1/2 acre of vegetables on new land at Irvin Hill and plan to expand this teaching operation to include vegetable production, permaculture and rotation grazing for small farm animal production. If you live near Chapel Hill this is a great opportunity to help start a teaching farm from the ground up.  Please email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) if you are able to help on Friday from 9a-12p and Steven (steven.p.horton@gmail.com) if you can help Saturday from 9a-12p.

Directions
From Chapel Hill: Go west on NC 54 Bypass and take the Jones Ferry Road exit. Turn left onto Jones Ferry Road and follow 3.6 miles to the Irvin Learning Farm sign on the left. Follow the signs indicating the gravel driveway on the left.  Go past the barns and house, take the next dirt path on the left. The garden is down the hill.

PAR (Plant a Row for the Hungry) – sign up to become a member or drop off site!

The IFFS PAR program encourages people to grow extra and/or donate excess produce to people in need through IFFS.  We will have weekly PAR produce drop-off sites at locations around our 7 county service area, including at Logan’s on Saturday mornings.

If you are interested in becoming a member (donating produce from your own harvest) or know of a farmers market or store that might be interested in becoming a PAR drop-off site please contact Don at don@foodshuttle.org.

Looking for a fun challenge? Pledge to eat locally grown food!

Go to www.nc10percent.com, set up an account and pledge to eat 10% locally grown NC food. Chances are you’re probably eating more local food than you think and if you’re not, then this is your opportunity to support NC farmers! Spread the word and tell your friends and family to eat local!

GARDEN SUPPLIES

We are still in need of hand-tool donations.  We gladly accept new and/or lightly used equipment. Thanks to all who have responded.

New Volunteer?

If you have not filled out a volunteer form or have a friend who is interested in helping out please email Janet at (rgsjrs@aol.com)

Have a great week and stay cool!

Sun, Amanda, Steven, Elizabeth & Katherine

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm and Garden

Crew Call August 3, 2010

During August we’re taking extra care not to over work ourselves or you, our amazing volunteers, during the hottest times of the day. Please make sure to contact Sun & Steven if you are heading to the farm and take note that all garden activities will be held during morning hours!

VOLUNTEER TIMES & EVENTS:

Food Shuttle Farm

Looking for something fun to do during the week? Sun and Steven are at the farm most mornings and late afternoons. Email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org)  for more information.

Work day, Saturday between 9a-Noon (4505 Tryon Road)

      • We need 10 volunteers that can each commit 2-3 hours this Saturday!
      • Reserve your spot with Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) so he knows you’re coming out to help!

NEW DIRECTIONS! No, the farm hasn’t changed location, we’re just asking that all volunteers park at 4505 Tryon Road, where the IFFS Farm sign is now set. Once you park your car, walk across the field towards the greenhouse; Sun and Steven will be in that general area.

Community Gardens

Work times have changed!

Neighbor 2 Neighbor             Tuesday               from      10a-11:30a

Mayview                                     Wednesday       from      8:30a-10a

Alliance                                       Thursday             from      8:30a-10a

      • We really need help watering & keeping the weeds out of the gardens! If you can volunteer on a different day or time, please email Amanda.
      • We need 3 volunteers for each work day- email Amanda (Amanda@foodshuttle.org) if you can help.
      • Garden Addresses/Directions: Neighbor to Neighbor is at 1200 S Blount Street; 1 story brick building on right with long chain link fence.  The Mayview garden site is located down the grassy hill behind the duplex at 2136 Mayview Rd (backing up to the Jaycee field). Alliance Medical Ministry is located at the corner of New Bern Ave. and Donald Ross Dr. at 101 Donald Ross.

Irvin Learning Farm, 9a-12p (2912B Jones Ferry Road, Chapel Hill)

The Food Shuttle and Triangle Land Conservancy are starting a new teaching farm at TLC’s Irvin Learning Farm outside of Carrboro on Jones Ferry Rd. and we need your help! We’re installing 1/2 acre of vegetables on new land at Irvin Hill and plan to expand this teaching operation to include vegetable production, permaculture and rotation grazing for small farm animal production. If you live near Chapel Hill this is a great opportunity to help start a teaching farm from the ground up.  Please email Sun (sun@foodshuttle.org) if you are able to help on Friday from 9a-12p and Steven (steven.p.horton@gmail.com) if you can help Saturday from 9a-12p.

Directions
From Chapel Hill: Go west on NC 54 Bypass and take the Jones Ferry Road exit. Turn left onto Jones Ferry Road and follow 3.6 miles to the Irvin Learning Farm sign on the left. Follow the signs indicating the gravel driveway on the left.  Go past the barns and house, take the next dirt path on the left. The garden is down the hill.

PAR (Plant a Row for the Hungry) – sign up to become a member or drop off site!

The IFFS PAR program encourages people to grow extra and/or donate excess produce to people in need through IFFS.  We will have weekly PAR produce drop-off sites at locations around our 7 county service area, including at Logan’s on Saturday mornings.

If you are interested in becoming a member (donating produce from your own harvest) or know of a farmers market or store that might be interested in becoming a PAR drop-off site please contact Don at don@foodshuttle.org.

Looking for a fun challenge? Pledge to eat locally grown food!

Go to www.nc10percent.com, set up an account and pledge to eat 10% locally grown NC food. Chances are you’re probably eating more local food than you think and if you’re not, then this is your opportunity to support NC farmers! Spread the word and tell your friends and family to eat local!


GARDEN SUPPLIES:

We are still in need of hand-tool donations.  We gladly accept new and/or lightly used equipment. Thanks to all who have responded.

New Volunteer?

If you have not filled out a volunteer form or have a friend who is interested in helping out please email Janet at (rgsjrs@aol.com)

See you at the farm and/or gardens!

Sun, Amanda, Steven, Elizabeth & Katherine

Just wanted to give a big thanks to all of you who are helping the Food Shuttle fight hunger in the Greater Triangle by Planting A Row for the Hungry. Our numbers are way up over last year and  we are hearing the PAR chatter in the community and over the twitters and facebooks. So far this season, PARticipants have donated close to 10,000 pounds! That’s 10,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious food that we deliver to children, seniors and families throughout the Greater Triangle. And we know you’re not done yet-the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are coming on strong! Remember, it’s easy to donate. Just bring your produce to any of our convenient drop-off locations!

But wait, there’s more! You know our good friends at Logan’s Trading Co. are huge supporters of Plant A Row for the Hungry. Well, this Saturday, July 31,  they are having Veggie Day celebration! There will be a lot of great activities, veggie tastings, recipes contest and a panel discussion on gardening. Oh, and all seeds will be discounted too. A perfect day for PARticipants*.

Keep the fresh fruits and veggies coming and we’ll see you Saturday!

*We hope our PAR Puns are growing on you!