Saturday, March 21, 2009

International Vegetarian Soul Food (IVS)

Between my work with the Brazos Locavores, the local farmers' market, and reaching people through this blog, I'm repeatedly asked if I've connected with different farms in the area. Often, I can say that yes, I've heard of the farm, sometimes having visited it personally. It's always exciting though, when I find out about farms that I haven't heard of before - especially when I hear their strong and vibrant. 

IVS (International Vegetarian Soul Food) was one of those farms. Serving the community as a whole, I actually first heard about IVS through an international PhD student at Texas A&M who came to me for help with her research project on tourism and marketing of small organic farms. It turns out, IVS is a big hit among the international students at TAMU who come here from around the world and find our supermarket fare less than thrilling.

Although I hope to meet owners Lavell and Andrea in person, our crazy schedules have thus far kept us from this pleasure. In the meantime, I wanted to get the word out to all you locals on another great food resource here in the Brazos Valley. Here's an email interview I did with Lavell and Andrea earlier this month:

SGF: Tell me a little about the history of your farm?

IVS: We've been growing organic vegetables for over 15 years. Andrea grew vegetables on fruit farms in Northern Michigan. Lavell started growing vegetables as a child with his grandfather in the Washington DC area. Before moving to this area, we both worked on community based food and garden projects. Our gardening in Texas started the moment we moved here and we've been successful in producing healthy organically grown veggies here for four years.

SGF: Is IVS a CSA? Are you customers exclusively from the university community?

IVS: No, we use an on-line ordering system, selling to restaurants and individuals. We have an equal number of University and non-affiliated University community members.

SGF: What products do you sell and how can they be ordered?

IVS: [We produce] organically grown seasonal produce and healthy prepared meals. [They can be ordered] online through a weekly email.

SGF: Tell me more about the healthy prepared meals.

IVS: I started offering prepared vegetarian meals and a catering service a year ago. Our ever changing menu is based on the seasonal allowances from the farm. We sell meals to families as a private chef service and cater lunches, parties, and full formal dinners, all based on the vegetables we grow.

SGF: What restaurants include your local foods in their menu?

IVS: Maddens, The Village Cafe, Sbissa Dining Hall at TAMU, Marimont Country Club, and Southern Comfort Cafe.

SGF: How can interested individuals get in touch with you?

IVS: Folks that are interested in ordering veggies through us can send us an email and we will add them to the list.

I thought perhaps I'd not had the pleasure of enjoying produce from IVS just yet, but since I eat at the Village Cafe, I'm sure that in fact I have! But looking at those photos... I mean, how can you resist the food? It's gorgeous! 

As you can see, there's yet another great source of fresh, local, organic veggies here in the Brazos Valley. I've added IVS to the BCS Buy it Local post. Be sure to keep an eye on this page as I add new producers all the time. 

In the meantime, for more information about IVS, be sure to email the farm at I'm off to discover more information about some of those restaurants serving local food. Eating local - it's spreading!

Happy (and mindful) eating!


Mike said...

I love IVS, Lavell got me started in agriculture and they have a great little set-up. I want to link to this interview for a blog post I am doing about urban farming. You are doing great work, keep it up.


Heather @ SGF said...

Mike - I'm looking forward to visiting the farm. I've heard many good things. Glad to hear he was your inspiration! Feel free to link.