February 2012
Final CEFS CC Banner
In This Issue
FoodCorps Call for Applications
Upcoming SOSA Workshops
New Carolina Meat Institute Workshops
CEFS is on YouTube!
Save the Dates: CEFS Field Day and Field to Fork Picnic
New Pasture-Based Meat Goat Unit
Winter Farm Musings
Welcome Back Bryan Green

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FoodCorps Call for Applications  



Recruitment for next year's FoodCorps service members is open through March 25th.  Our NC program is eager to recruit service members from North Carolina!

Why FoodCorps?
Why FoodCorps?

You can read more and apply on the Food Corps website.


For more information, contact Tes Thraves  or Liz Driscoll, or join us for an open information call at 4pm on Feb 27th. Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 562-3000; Access Code: 501689#



Upcoming SOSA Workshops


Ginger Production: March 3


Blackberry Production: March 10


For more information, visit the 2012 Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture Workshop Series Calendar.


Sustaining Sponsor:

SARE logo

Whole Animal Butchery and Advanced Charcuterie for Farmers and Chefs


Carolina Meat Conference


March 19-20, Silk Hope, NC

NC Choices and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the next workshop in the Carolina Meat Institute series!


Information and links to registration can be found at www.carolinameatconference.com

CEFS is on YouTube!


CEFS now has a YouTube channel


Our first video, from the Pasture-Based Dairy Unitillustrates how milk is fed to roughly 20 calves at a time using a trough.

You can also find the video on CEFS' website, here. Stay tuned for more CEFS videos in the coming months!


Save the Dates


CEFS Official Field Day:
May 3, 2012
Sustaining Sponsors:
Southern SARE logo transparent 
Farm to Fork Picnic:
May 20, 2012
For more information on these and other events, please visit the CEFS website
Looking for that Perfect Gift? 
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to find a beautiful gift and help support CEFS' work, too!


There are plenty of items to choose from, including: short & long-sleeved t-shirts (youth & adult sizes), baby onesies and bibs, messenger & tote bags, aprons, coffee mugs and much more!


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Message from the Directors


Winter Greetings from CEFS! We are very happy to report that a number of our local foods initiatives are blossoming within the North Carolina Cooperative Extension organization. NC State University and NC Agricultural & Technical State University - our home bases - see the consumer demand for local foods and the engagement of so many stakeholders in the various aspects of (re)building our local food system. 


In mid-December, CEFS Directors met with Cooperative Extension leadership from NC State University and NC A&T State University.  We discussed the ways in which Extension has provided critical support and resources to CEFS' local foods work.


Two CEFS programs stand out in this fruitful collaboration. One is the just-completed Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP) project,Training the Trainers in Community-Based Food Systems. This was a two-year project designed to offer training and resources to six county extension/local partner teams as they developed local food projects in their counties. In the second year, first-year county teams each partnered with another county to share their experience and expertise.


The project built networks and partnerships throughout the state and even across the nation.  CEFS has compiled an online archive - including project profiles, lessons learned, and webinars - that synthesizes the experiences of these twelve counties. The project ended in December and the online archive is now an ongoing resource for NC Cooperative Extension and the general public.


The second project is Bringing New Farmers to the Table, funded by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  As part of the initiative, CEFS is coordinating an Incubator Farm Project that will work with county and municipal governments to transform vacant, publicly-held land into productive agriculture space, providing critical land access to new and beginning farmers in the process. Six sites across the state have been selected for support through the project. 


We are excited to be incubating new farms and farmers, new ideas and possibilities within the world of sustainable agriculture and local foods. And we are grateful for the partnership with NC Cooperative Extension that makes so much of this work possible!


John O'Sullivan Signature

Dr. John O'Sullivan

CEFS Director, NCA&TSU

Dr. Nancy Creamer

CEFS Director, NCSU

  New CEFS Research Unit:
Pasture-Based Meat Goats 



Goat Meat Unit

Goats have been spotted at CEFS' 2000-acre research farm in Goldsboro, NC! The new Pasture-Based Meat Goat Unit has been developed on roughly 5 acres of land and includes a herd of Boer females that are being bred with Boer and Kiko bucks. Boer is a South African breed and Kiko was selected intensively from feral stock in New Zealand.


The creation of the unit is in response to a growing demand for goat meat products in North Carolina. Goat farming can be a good way to diversify and increase income for both small- and large-scale producers. Goats are also an increasingly popular option for controlling invasive weeds and shrubs due to environmental concerns and elevated costs of other control methods, such as mowing and herbicides. The goats will also be used to teach the principles of controlled grazing, goat husbandry, goat grazing/browsing behavior, health practices, and fencing systems during workshops and the CEFS summer sustainable agriculture internship program.


For more information about CEFS' new Pasture-Based Meat Goat Unit, click here.



Winter Farm Musings


From Callie Herron, CEFS' Small Farm Unit Winter Apprentice

The constant presence of new life and death on farm has had a profound impact on my life. I have felt a baby calf inside its mother, have seen calves enter the world, take their first steps, drink their first milk.  I have seen laying hens grow from mere chicks to vibrant, ever-hungry birds.  This will only continue with the arrival of spring and the planting of seeds.


Callie with the Small Farm Unit's weekly harvest

Along with the beauty of birth and growth, comes the occasional death.  I have witnessed (through tear filled eyes) a calf come out of its mother - 60 pounds and lifeless.  I've watched a Red Tail Hawk capture a chicken and on several occasions have found the remains of the Hawk's conquests.


I never anticipated such soul-searching would occur here, at a place where one learns how to drive a tractor, plant a seed, till the earth. Yet, each new life and each death brings with it a moment of pause and introspection.  The stillness of death and the joy of birth come as a reminder that our time on earth is finite, fleeting. With each death, comes an offering of thanks for the lives that remain.


Farming is much more than a career or a hobby.  It is a spiritual journey, a vision quest.  It is a part of our culture that is now all too foreign to many.  I feel this disconnect not only relates to our food choices and declining health, but to our ailing relationship with, and understanding of, the land, Mother Nature, life, and death.  Our food, our farms, our land have a lesson to offer us and it is my hope that we all take a moment to listen, watch, and participate so that we can once again connect, appreciate, and value all of them.


For more of Carrie's writing - and lots of great photos - check out the CEFS Apprentice blog here.


Welcome (back) Bryan Green


Busha building new chicken houses at the Small Farm Unit

CEFS is happy to welcome back Bryan "Busha" Green as its Small Farm Manager. The Small Farm Unit is one of eight research units at CEFS' 2000-acre field facility in Goldsboro, NC. Busha was previously CEFS' Small Farm Manager from 2003 to 2007. In recent years, Busha has worked in Columbia with tobacco farmers transitioning to organic, in Bolivia with organic greenhouse producers, and in St. Croix (US Virgin Islands) teaching organic production at an alternative farm school and offering technical assistance to an organic growers' cooperative. Closer to home, Busha has worked with CFSA to promote new farmer programs, and assisted in the creation of a North Carolina-based 100% open-pollinated seed company, Sow True Seeds.


Since returning to CEFS, Busha has been hard at work with Small Farm Unit winter apprentice Callie Herron, cleaning, organizing the farm, repairing equipment, and working on the farm plan and seed order. Now that spring is around the corner he is busy preparing for the arrival of CEFS' incoming apprentices and working together with CEFS staff and community partners in Goldsboro to create more synergy between CEFS' farm research units and programs and community initiatives.

Mission & 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.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University established the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at the Cherry Farm facility near Goldsboro, NC in 1994. These partners work closely with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, 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: www.cefs.ncsu.edu

Center for Environmental Farming Systems
Box 7609 - NCSU
Raleigh, NC 27695