USDA awards $700K grant to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
In a time when local farmers are aging out - even as demand for locally grown food is increasing - the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is growing the next generation of North Carolina farmers. As proof, USDA representative Ron Brown recently announced the award of a $700,000 grant to fund Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's two-year-old Young Farmers Training Program.
Initially seeded by funding from the John Rex Endowment in 2010, the Young Farmers Training program currently has seven returning second-year students and 12 first-year students. Many of these teenage farmers expect to go on to colleges to study agriculture or dig in to work-study programs and internships to get hands-in-the-dirt education. The program is the only such training in North Carolina targeted to youth 15-18 years of age.
The USDA funding is among the largest awards in IFFS's 23-year history. It will be used to support staff salaries, purchase farm equipment and supplies, and develop teaching materials-all to be used on IFFS's six-acre outdoor classroom, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm on Dover Farm Road in West Raleigh.
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle partnered with the Growing Power Regional Outreach Training Center and North Carolina State University to apply for the USDA grant. The organizations will work together to create a rich and fertile learning environment by providing hands-on technical training in basic crop farming practices, creating a centralized network of farmers to explore new farming methods, connecting retired farmers with beginning farmers, and connecting young future farmers with food system leaders across North Carolina.
To learn more about the program, visit www.foodshuttle.org.