May 2010 - Special Edition
Final CEFS CC Banner
In This Issue
CEFS Merchandise
2010 Sponsors
Dylan Atchley, Missouri
Marisa Benzle, Ohio
Margaret Rossano, Connecticut
Bob Pellitier, Eastern North Carolina
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Visit our online store to find that "perfect something" that will excite anyone's heart with laughter and glee!!!

There are plenty of items to choose from, including: short and long-sleeved T-shirts (youth and adult sizes), baby onesies and bibs, messenger bags and tote bags, aprons, coffee mugs, and much more!
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2010 Sponsors
Many thanks to our sponsors of the 2010 Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture workshop series!

eries Sponsor:

Visionary Sponsor:
Braswell Foods

Additional Sponsors:
> Goldsboro Wayne County Travel and Tourism Department

> AgCarolina Financial
> Cook for Good
> N.C. Electric Cooperative
> N.C. Farm Bureau Federation, Inc.

> Carolina Farm Credit, ACA
> N.C. State Grange

> Wayne County Development Alliance

Interested in becoming a CEFS sponsor?
Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact Nancy Creamer at or (919) 515-9447.
Mission and History of CEFS

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.

N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University established the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) with the N.C. Department of Agriculture at the Cherry Farm facility near Goldsboro, N.C., in 1994. These partners work closely with state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations (for example, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Rural Advancement Foundation International, Farm Bureau), farmers and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension and education for our state. The development of CEFS is a national model for partnership, innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation.

To learn more about CEFS, please visit
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Meet Our Wonderful (and Diverse) 2010 Summer Apprentices

During the off season, we decided to put a greater emphasis on the apprentice program at the Small Farm Unit in 2010. Part of that emphasis would be to reintroduce a marketing component that would provide experience for the apprentices, provide a small income to the SFU and strengthen the fledgling farmers' markets in the Goldsboro/Wayne County area. In addition to making programmatic changes, we cast a much wider net to advertise the positions, resulting in a large pool of very diverse applicants in terms of geography and interest. We had interest from several continents and, interestingly, three middle-aged applicants. After a tough selection process, we offered positions to four candidates. In this issue, they introduce themselves.

2010 apprentices
Left to right: Dylan, Marisa, Margaret and Bob

As you will read below, we have a great group and are looking forward to a terrific summer! Our CEFS goal is to continue to grow the apprentice program over the next few years to be a premier hands-on sustainable agriculture learning opportunity in the East.

Growing on!

Steve Moore
Small Farm Unit Manager
Dylan Atchley, Missouri
I left St. Louis after finishing up an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Catholic Charities. Over the course of that year, I helped establish after-school gardening programs for their city community centers. Before that, I had apprenticed on a small farm in middle Missouri. My decision to come to CEFS was another extension toward my aim of gaining the skills and experience I feel is needed to successfully begin my own operation and to help add to the revitalization of a locally focused community, preferably a community close to my family.

Things are becoming too disconnected too fast, and by reconnecting myself to the land and my food I hope to not only satisfy a personal, innate drive toward wholeness but to also serve as an example for others who might wish to do the same.
Marisa Benzle, Ohio
Surprising to most people I have met here at CEFS and in the agriculture field is the fact that, prior to a year ago, my background was purely in the arts. I studied film and the fine arts throughout my college years at a small art and design school in downtown Columbus, Ohio. My younger upbringing was steeped in the arts as well. My father is a ceramicist, my mother has worked in fibers, and my stepfather is a German-style glassblower.

Growing up, my only connections to agriculture were the soybean fields growing behind my house, the vegetable garden in our back yard, and the few chickens we kept, that were more like pets than livestock. I first decided to search for work in agriculture as a means to improve my skills in the garden. Wanting to be more self-sufficient, I figured a summer of working on a farm would teach me things I couldn't learn from the gardening books I had read. I took a job at a bio-intensive vegetable farm in rural central Ohio in April of 2009 and was soon hooked. At the end of that season, I could have chosen to return to school in pursuit of a new degree for a new career or continue working on a production farm, but I knew I wanted something different.

I decided that if I was truly going to pursue agriculture, I wanted and needed to be in an environment where I would be surrounded by people knowledgeable in the field, have a mentor who was open to teaching me everything I was able to absorb, and be in a hands-on environment where I could experiment with new techniques and observe the tried and true. My parents had all worked in apprentice positions with master craftsmen, and I longed to experience the same kind of in-depth education in my chosen craft. When I discovered CEFS and had my first interview with Steve Moore, it soon became clear that the CEFS apprenticeship was the kind of opportunity I had been dreaming of. The combined experience, practical skill sets and academic knowledge at CEFS has far surpassed my expectations and hopes of learning from the best. Learning daily on the Small Farm Unit as an apprentice is much like being trained in the arts. The challenge of finding harmony among the endless variables asks of those working there a great deal of patience, creativity and hard work. Luckily, those are just the things I was looking for in my CEFS apprenticeship.
Margaret Rossano, Connecticut
Despite 30 days straight of rain and an outbreak of late blight, my apprenticeship at a small, organic farm in Maine last year convinced me that I wanted to continue learning about organic farming. I was attracted to CEFS' combination of research, demonstration and production of food for people in the community, and I am especially interested to learn more about growing in high tunnels and bio-intensive production. I hope that my experience at CEFS will help direct my study of agroecology and food policy in the future.
Bob Pellitier, Eastern North Carolina
Reaching a body weight of over 400 pounds, I soon realized that it was not a sustainable lifestyle, and my deteriorating health was a testament to that. At the age of 47, "Buffet Bob" as I was affectionately known, was practicing the Western art of total body abuse. I was on multiple medications for high blood pressure, was a borderline diabetic, and my cholesterol was off the charts. I knew by the way I felt, the end was near.

After much research and good advice from a trusted friend, I began a journey to reduce my body weight and began to eat the right foods. Within one year, I lost half my body weight and corrected my health collision course. I now eat mostly raw organic or wild foraged fruits, vegetables, nuts and the good grains, beans and rice.

The opportunity to participate as an apprentice on the CEFS sustainable organic farm in Goldsboro was the perfect fit to help me learn the necessary skills to start an eco-educational farm in Edgecombe County. The facility will function as a working, sustainable organic farm to educate area youth.

There is a working partnership with three other landowners in Johnston and Orange counties, and we have formed a nonprofit to expand our work throughout Eastern North Carolina. Our Web site is

I am now affectionately known as "Farmer Bob."
Center for Environmental Farming Systems
Box 7609 - NCSU
Raleigh, NC 27695