19 Jun WithersRavenel helps Inter-Faith Food Shuttle make a difference with new farm design
North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the U.S. To move beyond emergency food provision to sustainable local solutions to hunger, nonprofit organization Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) grows, prepares, and delivers nutritious meals to people experiencing food hardship.
Headquartered in Raleigh since 2008, IFFS feeds the hungry in seven counties. Food is distributed for free at their Mobile Markets, sold at their farm stand on Dover Farm Road, and purchased directly by several well-known restaurants. The farm’s model of sustainability allows for 8–10 tons of fresh, chemical-free produce to be donated every year.
In late 2015, IFFS learned that the development of a new neighborhood would require relocating the farm. Fortunately, a generous neighbor offered them a 10-year lease for 10 acres of land and the use of an additional 5 acres.
At that time, IFFS Farm Director Fred Baldwin reached out to WithersRavenel with a visionary request: navigate designing a new urban farm amidst a rapidly growing city that preserves and enhances the best features of the original farm.
WithersRavenel served as prime consultant on the unique project, providing master planning, due diligence, and site permitting. Relying on agrarian principles, WithersRavenel made sure crops receive ample sunlight and volunteers have access to the shade of conserved trees. Open pastures nestle into the topography, and pathways provide easy access to farm equipment. Fields are bordered by pollinator plants and season-extending high tunnels placed strategically to take advantage of prevailing winds.
Local designer and builder Will Alphin crafted two innovative farm buildings for processing freshly harvested produce that will come to life in the project’s second phase.
IFFS touches thousands of lives every year through distributing food donations, running community gardens, teaching gardening skills, and selling and donating produce grown on their local farm. WithersRavenel is honored to be a part of creating an urban farm setting that inspires as well as provides.