February 2013
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In This Issue
Board Member Spotlight: Michael Tiemann
Second Annual Carolina Meat Conference
Calling NC Beef Producers!
FoodCorps NC Call for Applications
Upcoming Events
CEFS Recieves Major Grants to Support Exciting New Work
Cafeteria Taste-Testing
Winter Update from our CEFS Livestock Apprentice
Upcoming SOSA Workshops

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Board Member Spotlight: Michael Tiemann
Mr. Michael Tiemann, Vice President of Open Source Affairs at Red Hat, is a founding member of the CEFS Board of Advisors.

Mr. Tiemann founded the world's first open source software company in 1989, which means that for the past 24 years he has been trying to explain how one can make money by allowing anyone -- including competitors -- to freely copy software source code. His own company's revenues and profits provided some explanation, but even in 2006, six years after his company was acquired by the world's open source leader, Red Hat, Mr. Tiemann could not answer to his own satisfaction whether the open source business model was truly sustainable. After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Mr. Tiemann realized that the 60-year history of software was insufficient to answer to his questions about long-term sustainability, whereas the 6,000-year history of agriculture just might.


Mr. Tiemann explains, "I was so excited to learn of a comprehensive framework for understanding multi-generational sustainability that I immediately went to find who might be the leading experts in this field. After talking with CEFS Co-Director Nancy Creamer about my interests and the intellectual cross-pollination opportunities between sustainable agriculture and open source software, I happily agreed to join the CEFS Board of Advisors."

Mr. Tiemann is also a Trustee of the UNC School of the Arts, a member of the Board of Visitors of Carolina Performing Arts, and President of Manifold Recording, a high-end, carbon-neutral recording studio in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He is also the co-owner of Miraverse Power & Light, a partner in one of the first solar/agricultural double-cropping systems in the country.
Mr. Tiemann earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering from the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1987.

Second Annual Carolina Meat Conference a Huge Success!


Richard & Ronnie Huettman of
Acre Station Meat Farm,  2012 Commercial Meat Processor of the Year


The Second Annual NC Choices Carolina Meat Conference was held in early December 2012 in the beautiful and historic Winmock Dairy in Bermuda Run, NC.  The conference was attended by over 380 producers, meat processors, food buyers and support businesses engaged in advancing the local and niche meat industry in North Carolina and beyond.


Major highlights included a keynote address and technical presentation with Dr. Temple Grandin, hands-on butchery training classes for home chefs and food professionals, meat-cutting demonstrations with Kari Underly, Adam Tiberio, Tyler Cook, Tanya Cauthen, and Justin Meddis, and a very special nose-to-tail dinner with the Blind Pig Supper Club of Asheville.


Mark your calendars for the 2013 Carolina Meat Conference: December 9-10, 2013. Location to be announced.


To stay informed about NC Choices and the Carolina Meat Conference, visit www.carolinameatconference.com or follow NC Choices on Facebook 


Calling NC Beef Producers: Beef Nutritional Profile Study Seeking Participants

 NC Choices logo  
NC Choices, with support from the NC Cattlemen's Association and NC State University, is conducting a beef nutritional profile study. If you are a beef producer who is interested in participating in a nutritional profile study comparing pasture-raised, grass-finished and grain-finished beef please contact
casey@ncchoices.com by February 28th.
FoodCorps NC Call for Applicants!
FoodCorps NC 2012-2013 Cohort

Applications are now open for the 2013-2014 Program Year! We are looking for highly-motivated emerging leaders who will implement the FoodCorps philosophy with enthusiasm and cheer! Applications are due by March 24th, 2013. To apply now visit: www.FoodCorps.org

Upcoming Events

Maya Wiley
February 27: CEFS' Annual Sustainable Agriculture Lecture Featuring Food Justice Advocate Maya Wiley


Please join CEFS and the NC Agricultural Foundation Inc., for CEFS' Annual Sustainable Agriculture Lecture Featuring Maya Wiley, on February 27 at 7 pm at the Durham ArmoryMs. Wiley will present a free lecture entitled "Unmasking Inequities: Building Toward a More Just Food System for All!".


Ms. Wiley is the Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion, a national public policy strategy organization that works to unite public policy research and grassroots advocacy to transform structural racial inequity into structural fairness and inclusion.


For more information, please see the CEFS website.


Farm to Fork 2011 

June 9:

Farm to Fork Picnic


"The country's best all-you-can-eat feast", according to Bon Appetit magazine. Tickets go on sale April 1!


Sponsor this year's picnic and receive pre-reserved tickets! See http://www.farmtoforknc.com/  for more information.


Upcoming Workshops



Blackberry Production and Hands-on Planting Demonstration: March 23


Enhancing Habitats To Provide Multiple Ecosystem Services: May 22

Please check the SOSA calendar page for newly-added workshops and several exciting conferences!


If you have ideas for specific workshops you would like to see CEFS offer, please contact Lisa Forehand at lisa_forehand@ncsu.edu.

Thank You Sponsors!
CEFS gratefully acknowledges the sponsors of the 2013 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture featuring Maya Wiley:
Lead Sponsor:
Compass Group North America
Visionary Sponsor:
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
Sustaining Sponsors: 
  • The Support Center
  • Sustainable Food NC
  • NC Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NC SARE)
Steward Sponsors: 
  • Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA)
  • Self-Help Credit Union
Guardian Sponsors: 
  • Land Loss Prevention Project
  • Feast Down East
  • The Abundance Foundation
  • UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
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CEFS Receives Major Grants to Support Greenhouse Gas Research, an Organic Plant Breeding Center for the Southeast, and the Development of NC Local Food Supply Chains 


CEFS is proud to announce several major grants that will support exciting new work over the next few years.


Greenhouse Gas Research

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded CEFS $734,802 for an integrated research, education and extension project entitled Assessing The Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Potential Of Organic Systems In The Southeast. The long-term goal of the project is to understand the impact that organic systems in the Southeastern US can have on greenhouse gas emissions, and to educate stakeholders and students about how to maximize the mitigation potential of such systems.


Agriculture contributes 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The central hypothesis of this project is that greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by reduced tillage practices and incorporation of high organic matter inputs into the soil. CEFS will compare three certified organic systems and three parallel conventional systems at its research farm in Goldsboro, NC in order to quantify carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions and to identify the potential mechanisms underlying carbon and nitrogen stabilization in soil. Outcomes of the project will provide essential data for developing organic practices that reduce soil nitrogen dioxide emissions while increasing carbon sequestration. CEFS will also develop new curricula on greenhouse gases and agriculture for student training and stakeholders.


Organic Plant Breeding Center

The USDA's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) has awarded CEFS (along with project partner Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA) $1,262,855 for a project entitled Creating an Organic Plant Breeding Center for the Southeast. The project will focus on four plants (corn, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans) for which there is high organic market demand and production potential in the Southeast. The new center will breed corn hybrids that are resistant to GMO contamination, increase weed competitive ability in soybeans, find seedling disease resistance in peanuts, discover allelopathic wheat lines through newly-developed protocols, and increase the yield of all four crops under organic conditions.


The impetus for the project grew out of a series of farmer panel discussions hosted by NC State's Organic Cropping Systems Program, in which farmers voiced concern over increasing privatization of breeding efforts, decreasing availability of GMO-free varieties, and the lack of breeding under organic conditions.


Stakeholder involvement is critical to the project. Farmers, NGOs, crop consultants, and county extension will govern the center along with plant breeders to insure that it serves the organic community and institutionalizes a collaborative relationship among the groups. The new center will focus not only on how the plants are bred, but how they are distributed as well. According to Michael Sligh, RAFI-USA's Just Foods Program Director, "the need to get regionally-appropriate organic seeds into the hands of farmers is key and this center can help serve as a hub of this activity".


Local Food Supply Chains

Most recently, CEFS was awarded the first year's funding of a five-year, $3.9 million grant to build and evaluate supply chains for local farmers and fishers to supply large-scale markets in North Carolina. The grant was awarded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).


CEFS will work with existing wholesale distributors and with farmers, fishers, processors and emerging food hubs to address the growing demand for local foods from institutional and retail buyers. The project seeks to create a statewide and national model of local food supply chains that serve large markets and incorporate values of the local foods movement -- sustainability, fair pricing for producers and others in the value chain, and inclusion of medium and small-sized farms.


Lowes Foods and Fort Bragg, as well as US Foods and Foster Caviness which supply food to Fort Bragg, are major project partners and represent the type of large-scale retail and institutional markets the supply chains will serve.


"We are excited to explore ways that local food supply chains can scale-up to significantly increase consumer access to seasonal and nutritious foods in the state," said Dr. Nancy Creamer, co-director of CEFS from NC State University. "Local food systems have the capacity to grow jobs; strengthen the economy; preserve farms, farmland, fishing communities and working waterfronts; and improve health outcomes, as consumer demand for fresh foods continues to increase."


Dr. John O'Sullivan, co-director of CEFS from NC A&T State University, added, "It will bring resources to help producers make important market connections, creating jobs and enhancing farm viability. It will also engage students at both NC A&T SU and NC State in facilitating market-based changes, giving them important lessons and real world connections and experiences."


The project involves research, outreach and academic components and includes a number of partners within North Carolina.

Cafeteria Taste-Testing


By Sarah Dixon, Gaston Cooperative Extension FoodCorps Service Member

food corps


October's kale salad was a riotous affair, given that it was our first time doing the taste tests and the kids' first time seeing the garden teacher in the cafeteria offering things to eat in little plastic cups. A few kids surprised me by spreading rumors that I was handing out seaweed. A small contingent were somehow convinced that I was offering tree leaves, similar to the wet oak and maple plastered on the parking lot outside.


I'm the FoodCorps service member for Gaston County, North Carolina, and I've just  recently finished serving my "Harvest of the Month" cafeteria taste tests. I've also just recently finished cleaning sweetpotato out of the stitching of my shoes, apron, pants, shirt sleeves and watch band.



We have a unique arrangement in Gaston County I lovingly refer to as the two-headed monster: last year's FoodCorps service member, Allison Marshall, was hired on by Cooperative Extension and is now my supervisor. Since I arrived, we work in mischievous tandem to accomplish things like cafeteria taste tests of local produce. Allison had established an awesome precedent for FoodCorps in Gaston County, and made it really simple for me to move directly into a positive relationship with our schools.


In September, we sat down with Nutrition Services, introduced me, and offered our services as cheerleaders for any local produce items the cafeteria serves. They accepted, and in October, we served taste tests of kale salad -- kale, shredded carrot, and sunflower seeds with citrus vinaigrette. The cafeteria served local kale on the lunch line the following week; that was the point at which I was accused of handing out wet tree leaves.


But also: I'm happy to report that over half the children told me that they liked it, whether they did or didn't, because they're sweethearts and because "free samples" in the cafeteria was such a fun novelty that I think they wanted to make sure we came back.


Last week we served local, baked sweet potatoes with a little bit of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The cafeterias are serving local sweet potatoes the exact same way this week. For everyone involved, the sweet potatoes are inarguably an easier sell than kale -- but regardless of what we're serving, the kids are just excited we're there offering something for them to try.


Part of me expected the kids to laugh at us for offering sweet potatoes as a novelty. I was truly surprised by how off the mark that expectation was. A shocking number of kids told me that they'd never tried sweet potatoes before. It's not that they've never been offered sweet potatoes -- it's just that they've never, for whatever reasons, made an independent decision to try them just for the sake of trying them. My favorite thing that I heard -- and I got to hear it more than once, is, "Whoa, it's good!" Hey, try it guys- it's good!"


Another thing I love about doing taste tests is the effectiveness of a little dramatic flair.  The best way that I've found so far to get an entire table to try is to walk right past them and pretend you're not going to give them any at all. "This table? Oh, this table doesn't want any," will have kids screeching like injured hoot owls when they don't even know yet what it is you're serving.


CEFS and NC4-H are proud to co-host FoodCorps in North Carolina.  Click here for more information, or visit the NC FoodCorps' Facebook page.












Winter Update from our

CEFS Livestock Apprentice


By Rachael Kearns, CEFS Apprentice


Rachael Kearns is CEFS' first primarily livestock-based apprentice. Her experience prior to the apprenticeship involved conducting research on animal behavior and physiology; however, it was through the apprenticeship that she discovered her passion for working on a dairy farm. She has applied to the combined DVM/PhD program at NC State, and  hopes to conduct research on organic, homeopathic livestock treatments and humane livestock handling at the CEFS Research Farm while pursuing her degree in veterinary medicine.


Spring approaches and we are in the "heat" of breeding season at the dairy... Keeping accord with our seasonal breeding schedule means that all of our cows and heifers will need to be pregnant by a certain date so that our seasonal calving schedule does not get pushed too late! Right now we are breeding heifers when they come into "heat," or estrus, according to their natural cycles. This means that we watch for behavioral signs of heat twice a day and breed those in heat by artificial insemination. But in order to reach the deadline on some of the repeat breeders, we will consider different options for synchronization of their estrous cycles. 



Although our calving season begins in the fall at the dairy, the beef unit calving season has just started! There are several calves bonding with their moms out in pasture at the beef unit, with lots more on the way. These calves will be weaned next fall and will be included in the second replication of our weaning research study. We are working as a team to compile and analyze the data collected from this experiment, and we hope to have some results to present by June. Stay tuned!


Click here for more infomation on CEFS' Pasture-Based Dairy Unit, or visit the CEFS Apprentice Blog here.


SOSA Logo  
SOSA Hits the Ground Running in 2013!
The Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture (SOSA) Workshop Series calendar is filling up fast! Normally, we ease into the workshop season, with the bulk of our workshops starting in early spring. Not this year -- we have hit the (cold) ground running!
In January, we hosted a diverse group of workshops including Herbs, Microgreens and Edible Flower Production; Tomato Grafting; and Muscadine Grape Production in Eastern NC, in addition to partnering with several other organizations on events. 
In February, we partnered with NC Cooperative Extension and the NCSU Food Science Department to offer a very exciting Packaged Foods Manufacturing Short Course, and Bill Cline presented a workshop and demonstration on Blueberry Production and Pruning.  And in March, Gina Fernandez will offer an informative, hands-on Blackberry Planting Demonstration on the Small Farm Unit.
All of the workshops have had a maximum-capacity turnout, showing the area's tremendous growth and interest in sustainably-produced foods. 
For more information, please visit the CEFS website's SOSA page.
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