Farm to Fork Picnic tickets now on sale

Date posted: May 2, 2013

two women eating at the picnic(Farm to Fork 2009)The Farm to Fork Picnic has been called the "country's best all-you-can-eat feast."

Restaurant and farmer pairings listed on website

Media Contact: Dr. Nancy Creamer, 919.515.9447 or ncreamer@ncsu.edu

Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Farm to Fork Picnic being held June 9, 4-7 p.m. at the PLANT @ Breeze Farm Enterprise Incubator near Hurdle Mills. The popular event, which pairs local farmers with Triangle area chefs, has been called “the country’s best all you can eat feast” by Bon Appetit magazine.

The Farm to Fork Picnic is co-hosted by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Friends of Breeze Farm, Slow Food Triangle and the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. To purchase tickets, visit the website: www.farmtoforknc.com.

The event is a fundraiser to support new farmer training programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and the Breeze Farm. The most recent agriculture census reported that North Carolina was tied for first in the nation in loss of farmland, and the average age of farmers is now 59. At the same time, there is growing demand locally and across the United States for new farmer training programs and for locally grown farm products.

CEFS, a partnership of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, helps develop and train new farmers through a variety of programs. Through the farm apprentice program, participants learn to manage a small-scale organic farm at the CEFS Small Farm Unit in Goldsboro.  They also gain experience with a variety of other crop and animal systems at CEFS, including a pasture based beef and dairy operation.

CEFS also supports a summer intern program, where students spend eight weeks at CEFS working with faculty members and others on weekly classroom learning activities, farming experiences, community projects and research. CEFS is also partnering with six county governments and municipalities across the state to develop incubator farms where new farmers have access to land to learn and develop their business.

Since 2008, the PLANT (People Learning Agriculture Now for Tomorrow) at Breeze program has provided training to more than 300 new and aspiring farmers. Each winter, an eight-week series of evening workshops covers a range of topics important to the success of new farmers.  Following the workshop and completion of a business plan and crop plan, aspiring farmers can launch their farm enterprise, lease plots of less than a quarter acre and utilize equipment provided by the PLANT @ Breeze Farm Enterprise Incubator.

This summer, Breeze Farm will launch a farmland matching service to match landowners with farmers who need to lease land. Beginning in the fall, qualified new farmers seeking to grow their enterprises will be able to lease 2- to 6-acre parcels on rolling three-year leases.

For the Farm to Fork Picnic, restaurant chefs are paired with local farmers to create special dishes with seasonal, local ingredients. For the list of this year’s pairings, for sponsorship opportunities, and to purchase tickets, visit the website: www.farmtoforknc.com.

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