IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KXPI) - Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz stopped Happyville Farm in Idaho Falls to talk with the founder and the volunteers. He found the volunteers are happy because they are doing what they love and all of their produce goes to a good cause.
"I like just coming out, doing the work, and then maybe a day later or a week later, we start seeing it really pay off," said Stephanie Van Ausdeln, a volunteer from an area high school.
"I really enjoy just helping others. You know, like growing food for other people. That just screams just me. I love helping others. I do the food basket as well after this. It's awesome to just be over there. We're actually growing food for the food basket. So it's amazing to see the that that product is coming to fruition," said Elder Austin Wray, a service missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These are just a couple of the volunteers busy at Happyville Farm on the west side of Idaho Falls. This is the second year for the farm at this location. It started out as a collective effort spread out among gardeners that liked to grow things. Claudia Pine is one of the growers. She is the founder of the one acre farm.
"It's part of 10 acres that was donated to the city 21 years ago to be a neighborhood park for this low income neighborhood and nothing had ever gotten built. And so Greg (Weitzel, fmr Idaho Falls Parks and Rec) knew that if I started a community farm here, it would be place for people to come and sit and talk and get fresh vegetables," said Pine.
And ironically, it has just grown from there. They now grow food for the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket. And it's not just feeding people, it's teaching people.
Time to Pay It Forward.
"We have volunteers who just love to grow food for other people that have been part of this core mission. We have volunteers who want to learn how to garden, how to farm, and so they are out here for the experience. We have some beginner master gardeners who are here because it's what they love to do. We've got high school kids and college kids who just want to pitch in and do things that help the community. One of our volunteers here today is the secretary at temple view elementary school…" said Pine.
"Claudia, how are you?" said a man walking up to the front of the garden.
"Hi," replied Pine.
"Hi, I'm Kory (Carling) with Mountain America Credit Union," said the man.
"OK," replied Pine.
"And we've heard about what you're doing for the community," said Carling.
"Uh-huh," said Pine.
"And for the farm that's feeding those in need," said Carling.
"Uh-huh," said Pine.
"And we're here today to Pay It Forward," said Carling.
"Oh my goodness!" said Pine.
"So I've brought with me today $500 in cash," said Carling, pulling money out of an envelope.
"Oh Kory," said Pine.
"That I know that you can use to continue to better our community," continued Carling.
"Oh, oh, oh, we can," said Pine.
"And feed those in need. And so on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, we'd like to Pay It Forward for all that you're doing for our community and for all that you're doing to help those in need. So we appreciate it. Thank you," said Carling.
"Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Please, oh please, all of you come out and visit it and see it. This is just going to get better and better because we've got so many people in the community helping," said Pine.
"It's awesome," said Carling.
"Oh, this is, this is really something. Thank you," said Pine.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"Thank you. This is the first time this has happened," said Pine.
"That's so cool," said Carling.
"I'm really grateful. Yeah. This will just, yeah, this will really help," said Pine.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.