November 2012
Final CEFS CC Banner
In This Issue
Upcoming SOSA Workshops
Board Member Spotlight: Dr. Norman Wirzba
Farmhand Foods Selected as Food "Study Hub" by the Wallace Center
Upcoming Events
CEFS in the News
SWARM Represents at the Clinton Global Initiative
CEFS' Incubator Farm Project Cultivating New Ideas, Beginnings

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Upcoming SOSA Workshops



High Tunnel Production: November 27


Tomato Grafting: December 7


Check the CEFS website soon for the 2013 SOSA Workshop Calendar!



Sustaining Sponsor:

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New Board Member Spotlight:

Dr. Norman Wirzba 


Dr. Norman Wirzba  


Dr. Norman Wirzba, a Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke University Divinity School and a Research Professor at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, joined the CEFS Board of Advisors in 2011. 


Dr. Wirzba grew up farming a mixed hay and grain operation in southern Alberta. He says, "I dreamed of being a rancher in the foothills of the Rockies. When I got older I saw the economics of farming to be incredibly difficult. I decided not to stay in the family tradition of farming. I went off to university and then graduate school, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy. I thought farming was in my past, until I met and became friends with Wendell Berry. He helped me see that farming is not just a way of life. It is also a comprehensive and compelling philosophical position."  


Dr. Wirzba is the Series Editor for Culture of the Land: A Series in the New Agrarianism, published by the University Press of Kentucky, and edited The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land. He is also a Board Member of the Center for Environmental Leadership. Dr. Wirzba earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Loyola University in 1994 and also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University and an M.A. in Religion from Yale University Divinity School.


We are honored to have Dr. Wirzba share his expertise with us!

 Farmhand Foods selected as a Food "Study Hub" by the Wallace Center


Farmhand Foods logo


Farmhand Foods, a CEFS-incubated business that aggregates, distributes, and markets high-quality, locally-raised, pasture-based beef and pork products from a network of 30+ livestock producers, has been selected as a "Study Hub" by the Wallace Center at Winrock International 


The US Department of Agriculture defines a food hub as a business or organization that connects producers with buyers by offering a suite of production, distribution and marketing services. Growing in popularity around the country, food hubs are considered innovative business models that allow farmers of all sizes to meet the growing consumer demand for fresh, local food by facilitating their entry into larger-volume markets such as grocery stores, hospitals and schools.


The nine Study Hubs selected by the Wallace Center's National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration represent different business models and regions of the country. They are being studied in an effort to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by regional food hubs, with the goal of applying lessons learned to growing food hubs nationwide.


"We are thrilled to be selected and excited by the shared learning we'll be able to do with other food hubs in similar stages of development throughout the country. This opportunity comes at a good time as we plan how to scale up and work with more farmers and buyers," says Jennifer Curtis, Co-Founder of Farmhand Foods.


The other regional food hubs selected are the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, California; Cherry Capital Foods in Traverse City, Michigan; Farm Fresh Rhode Island in Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Common Market Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Grasshoppers Distribution in Louisville, Kentucky; Idaho's Bounty Co-op in Hailey and Garden City, Idaho; Jack and Jake's, Inc., in New Orleans, Louisiana; and Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA. Farmhand Foods is the only Study Hub selected that focuses exclusively on meat.


For more information on the Study Hub project, click here.


For more information on Farmhand Foods, see 








Upcoming Events



Register now for NC Choices' 2nd Annual Carolina Meat Conference, December 3 & 4 in Bermuda Run, NC.


Join a diverse group of professionals within the local and niche meat industry for two days of panel discussions, workshops, networking and demonstrations! Topics include cured meats in retail and foodservice, efficiency in small plants, regulatory issues, controlling input costs in pastured meat production, challenges of value-added processing, innovative marketing, and more! Back by popular demand: intensive hands-on workshops for consumers, farmers and chefs.


The conference includes a Monday night social, dinner with the Blind Pig Supper Club, welcome and comments with NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, and a very special keynote address by Dr. Temple Grandin. 


Register at



Save the Dates!


Maya WileyFebruary 27, 2013: CEFS' Annual Lecture featuring Maya Wiley, Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion


More information coming soon!




Farm to Fork Chefs   


June 9, 2013: Annual Farm to Fork Picnic



 CEFS in the News



PRESS RELEASE, October 12, 2012: NC 10% Campaign Reaches $25 Million in Local Food Purchases


August 23, 2012: "Goldsboro rickshaws bring produce to poor neighborhoods," by Jay Price, The News & Observer


Click here for more recent news from CEFS.


Thank you Sponsors!
SARE logo


NC-SARE is a Series Sponsor for the 2012 Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture workshop series.



Cultivator Sponsor:

Looking for that Perfect Gift? 
Cafe Press Tote


Visit our  online store 

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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Please visit our store and help support CEFS!


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Message from the Directors 



 In recent months, CEFS' local food systems programming has received significant national and international attention, which we have been excited and honored to receive.  In fact, our two Directors' schedules can barely keep up!  In early October, CEFS was awarded the regional APLU (Association of Public and Land Grant Universities) C. Peter Magrath Award for Community Engagement at the National Outreach and Scholarship Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (View our short nomination video here.) CEFS' unique partnership of North Carolina's two land grant universities, NCA&TSU and NCSU, stood out as an inspiring model for universities engaged in food systems and sustainable agricultural economic development work. 


In mid-October, our Goldsboro research farm hosted fifty Fulbright scholars from around the world studying at American universities who came to NCSU for the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright Global Food Security Seminar.  They toured the Goldsboro farm to learn about the innovative work going on across our seven research units to address agriculture's most pressing challenges.



And just last week, SWARM, the Goldsboro-based youth food activism group led by our Community-Based Food Systems Outreach Coordinator Shorlette Ammons, was visited by Shellie Pfohl, the Executive Director of  the President's (yes, that's President Obama!) Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  While in Goldsboro, Ms. Pfohl visited the CEFS research farm and several community sites including the Wayne County Public Library garden and Dillard Academy Charter School, where she heard about their garden-based programs from the Produce Ped'lers and the Wayne Food Initiative.


The visit was itself a follow-up to SWARM's recent invitation to and presentation at a youth empowerment event of the Clinton Global Initiative.  You can read more about that great honor in this e-newsletter.


Finally, we were recently awarded the USDA Secretary's Honor award -- the most prestigious departmental awards presented by the Secretary of Agriculture -- for our leadership and accomplishments.  CEFS was the only group outside of USDA to receive the award, which will be presented during a national webinar on December 11.


Somewhere, it is written that to those to whom much is given, much is asked. We have been given much here in North Carolina.  We have a strong network of partners ranging from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service to Farm Bureau to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and hundreds of other organizations.  We have demonstrated the economic development potential of local foods, witnessed by the more than $27 million in local food purchases tracked through the NC 10% Campaign. We have robust long-term systems research being conducted at our Goldsboro research farm.  


We have received more than $9 million in funding this year to tackle everything from greenhouse gas emissions to food, nutrition and health issues; from creating an organic plant breeding center for the Southeast to developing the next rendition of the Farm to Fork statewide action plan; from conducting a statewide food system assessment to training and empowering youth to be the next generation of food systems change.  We look forward to describing these exciting new initiatives more fully in the next few E-newsletters, as they get off the ground.


Amid this incredible opportunity, we find ourselves called to fill a leadership role in teaching about what we are doing here in North Carolina to others across the nation and the world.  We accept this challenge with humility and gratitude for the many partners that work alongside us.  As we approach our twentieth anniversary, we realize that we do in fact have the knowledge and experience to take our place on the national and international stage.


With gratitude for all we've been given, and the brightest hopes for what we can achieve,



John O'Sullivan Signature

Dr. John O'Sullivan

CEFS Director, NCA&TSU

Dr. Nancy Creamer

CEFS Director, NCSU


























SWARM Represents at the Clinton Global Initiative


  SWARM logo

SWARM, the CEFS-supported youth food activist group based in Goldsboro, was recently invited by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to present at a youth empowerment event of the Clinton Global Initiative. As part of the program moderated by Chelsea Clinton, SWARMer Zion Culley, along with two youth from MGR Foundation in Pittsburgh and from Youth Empowered Solutions (YES) in Raleigh, spoke to a crowd of about 100 business, philanthropic and government leaders about their work in their local communities and how they are representative of youth around the world who are taking on leadership and decision-making positions. Below is an excerpt from Zion's speech:


"North Carolina, like much of the South, has a long rich history of organizing to build power and make change. And much of this was led by young people, not much older than the youth represented here today. For example, in 1960, in the Greensboro, North Carolina sit-ins on the first day four youth refused to leave when they were not served because of the color of their skin. What you may NOT know is that the next day, more than twenty joined them. The third day over 60 Black students joined them and by the fourth day, more there were 300 protestors of all races and the next week, protests spread to several campuses across the South.



I say this to show you that what seems like small solutions can lead to profound impacts. That's the legacy that we are a part of. Today, in my community, I see multiple issues that many of my classmates and their families are living with...-young folks competing with adults for fast food jobs, farmers who don't sell enough fresh produce, communities who don't make enough to buy fresh produce, people of color losing farmland and the agricultural traditions they grew up with...this is another reason I got involved with SWARM. In SWARM we believe that youth empowerment means amplifying the voices of young people and organizing to make concrete positive changes for our community.



Our campaign to eliminate "pink slime" and get a salad bar in one of our school cafeterias shows how we, as young people, can be decision makers and be experts in our own realities. We recognized that for some of our classmates, our school lunch is the ONLY quality meal of the day. So, we decided that this meal has to be fresh and safe for us and that this should be a right that all students should have. This was important to me personally because I have always been inspired by young people who have left the norm to follow a path of justice. Like the Greensboro Four and thousands who joined their struggle through their sit-ins and civil disobedience, my campaign work with SWARM engaged other young people to be empowered to be decision-makers.



SWARM brings together the best of Southern rooted community organizing, green economies, environmental justice and job creation. I am so proud to be here representing SWARM because rural voices of color are so often left out of these conversations."



CEFS board members Jennifer MacDougall, Cheryl Queen and Michael Tiemann were in attendance. Recounting the evening, Mrs. Queen said, "Zion is a member and youth organizer of SWARM and he is passionate about rural youth of color organizing to change inequalities in the food system. His accomplishments and his remarks would have made all of you so proud and so humbled. Several other members of SWARM attended the dinner and they circulated and worked the room as if they do this every day! [SWARM facilitator and CEFS Community-Based Food Systems Outreach Coordinator] Shorlette Ammons deserves kudos and appreciation for the remarkable job she does in changing the food system and local economy at the grassroots level, developing youth, and allowing these young people to shine and succeed."

Congratulations Shorlette and SWARM!!























CEFS' Incubator Farm Project Cultivating

New Ideas, Beginnings


Interested in farming but don't know where to dig in, so to speak? You're not alone. Access to land has been identified as one of the top challenges facing new farmers in North Carolina. CEFS' Incubator Farm Project addresses this challenge by working with local communities to repurpose public land into incubator farms -- training grounds for new and aspiring farmers. Incubator farms offer new farmers affordable access to land, and sometimes infrastructure, while they refine their farming and marketing skills.


CEFS and local partners including non-profit organizations, municipalities, N.C. Cooperative Extension, and others are working to establish five new incubator farms in Onslow, Moore, New Hanover, Wayne, and Guilford Counties. The local partners provide land, the desire to support aspiring and beginning farmers in their communities, and the enthusiasm to move the project forward, and CEFS provides planning support and access to additional resources.


LINC's urban farm concept plan.

In Wilmington, New Hanover County, the project is a collaboration between Leading Into New Communities (LINC), Inc., and the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Project, Feast Down East. LINC is a non-profit organization that helps people find grounding, literally, as they transition out of incarceration. According to LINC, their urban farming initiative will "operate an urban farm, which provides healthy, high quality, safe and affordable food to residents and the greater New Hanover County community. The urban farm will provide immediate hands-on work for residents upon arrival. Residents will learn skills that can be transferred into entrepreneurial opportunities."  In August, LINC held a ribbon-cutting for their new residential facility and developed a concept site plan for their urban farm.


In Jacksonville, Onslow County, the project is a collaboration of Onslow County Farmers Market, N.C. Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and many other community partners. This incubator farm will build upon an existing gardening training program called Horticulture, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Program (HELP). They have developed a site plan, are working to improve the soil, and hope to have 3-7 participants starting on the incubator farm next summer.


In Goldsboro, Wayne County, community partnerships are developing and the discussion is moving forward about how best to proceed and who will lead the process.


Representatives from several Incubator Farm Project sites tour the Breeze Incubator Farm in Orange County.

In Moore County, the Town of Robbins is working with a number of community partners to define the type of incubator farm that would best suit their needs. There is interest in exploring alternative production methods for fruits and vegetables as well as enthusiasm for supporting the development of new dairy farms.


In Guilford County, a regional partnership is developing led by the Piedmont Conservation Council that includes the Guilford County Cooperative Extension, NC Agricultural & Technical State University, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Elon University. Pending land use approval by the Guilford County Commissioners, startup is forecast for 2014. Currently, 10 acres have been disked and cover crops will be planted this fall to begin the soil improvement process. 


Says Joanna Lelekacs, State Coordinator for the Farm Incubator Project, "the community focus of these projects is very inspiring! All these communities are raising the potential for multi-dimensional impacts of these incubator farms in their communities including, of course, the agri-entrepreneurial impacts, but also community development, health impacts, job creation, food security, sustainable local food systems, and more."


Click here for more information on CEFS' Incubator Farm Project.

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:

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