May 2014
In This Issue
CEFS Kicks off 20th Anniversary at Special Reception Featuring Dr. Ricardo Salvador
Upcoming Events
Donate to CEFS
FoodCorps North Carolina and Farm-to-School: A Recipe for Healthy Kids

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CEFS Kicks Off 20th Anniversary at Special Reception Featuring Dr. Ricardo Salvador

Ricardo Salvador event
Dr. Nancy Creamer, CEFS Co-Director from NC State; Dr. Ricardo Salvador; Dr. John M. O'Sullivan, CEFS Co-Director from NC A&T; and Dr. William Randle, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NC A&T (L-R).


CEFS kicked off its twentieth anniversary with a special reception on April 1 featuring Dr. Ricardo Salvador.  Dr. Salvador is the Senior Scientist and Director of the Food and Environment Program at Union of Concerned Scientists.  From 2006 to 2012, Dr. Salvador was the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Program Officer.  While there, he was instrumental in the awarding of twin endowments to NC State and NC A&T, creating the W.K. Kellogg Distinguished Professorships in Sustainable Agriculture and Community-Based Food Systems at both institutions.

Says Dr. Salvador, "We saw CEFS, and the partnership between NC State and NC A&T, as a national model for food systems change, one in which they could leverage their institutional partnerships, innovative civic engagement programs, and supply chain expertise to transform the state's food system to make it not only more sustainable, but also more equitable for vulnerable communities who often lack access to local and fresh foods."

Dr. Salvador also delivered a lecture as part of NC State College of Agriculture and Life Science's Future of Food Series. Watch Dr. Salvador's lecture, "Fooling the Nine Billion: Why We Need Good Food, Not More Food, and the Role of Land Grant Universities."  

Learn more about Dr. Salvador.
Upcoming Events 


Buy your ticket now!  


Join a remarkable group of Piedmont farmers & cooks for an evening of food, live music, & fun....and discover why Bon Appetit magazine called Farm to Fork the "country's best all-you-can-eat-feast"!

Co-hosted by CEFS, Friends of Breeze Farm, Slow Food Triangle and the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc., the Farm to Fork picnic benefits beginning farmer apprentice and internship programs.

For more information please see



Field day organic canola
Photo: Becky Kirkland/NC State



CEFS' 20th Anniversary Special Events  


Friday October 17: CEFS will be partnering with the NC Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to host a HUGE Soil Celebration/ Field Day at CEFS' research farm in Goldsboro.  The event will feature nationally-recognized speakers discussing some of the soils work being conducted at CEFS, in-field demonstrations, a poster session, farm tours, lunch and more!  


2013 CEFS interns

Followed by... a CEFS Reunion! On Saturday, October 18, we are inviting all past and present interns, apprentices, staff, faculty, graduate students, longtime friends and supporters to join us for an evening of fun, fellowship and camaraderie! 


Check the CEFS website for more information about these exciting events.


Donate Now and Support CEFS!
As you read about the work that CEFS is doing to create a future of sustainable farms, local foods, and healthy communities, we hope that you will consider making a donation to support CEFS.
Please visit our secure online giving portal to make a donation to support CEFS' work.  
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Happy Birthday to Us: CEFS Turns 20! 
a special CEFS e-news dedicated to our twentieth anniversary

CEFS' roots were planted in 1994, when a small circle of leaders in sustainable agriculture came together with the vision of creating a center for the study of environmentally sustainable farming practices in North Carolina.

A task force of university faculty and administrators, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, farmers, and citizens was charged with developing strategies to build a strong sustainable agriculture program in North Carolina. Out of that effort grew the CEFS research facility, a 2,000-acre research farm in Goldsboro.

The farm became home to CEFS' core research programs and units: The Farming Systems Research Unit, Pasture-Based Dairy and Beef Units, Alternative Swine Unit, Organic Research Unit, and Small Farm Unit. Today the research farm is home to top-notch interdisciplinary and systems research, addressing the major agricultural sustainability issues of our time.

Meanwhile, CEFS' programs evolved to meet the opportunities and challenges of transforming North Carolina's food system. From youth engagement programs like Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement (SWARM) and FoodCorps, to local food supply chain initiatives like NC Choices and NC Growing Together, to extension and outreach programs like the Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture workshop series and Farm to Fork picnic, to educational programs like CEFS' summer internship and season-long apprenticeship programs, to consumer engagement like the NC 10% Campaign, CEFS' bold and innovative programmatic initiatives have expanded CEFS' footprint beyond the boundaries of the research farm, reaching every corner of North Carolina and forming deep partnerships in local communities.

Today, CEFS flourishes as one of the nation's most important centers for research, extension, and education in sustainable agriculture and community-based food systems. It is recognized as a national and international leader in the local foods movement, and is celebrated for its work in building consensus around policies, programs and actions that facilitate a vibrant local food economy.

CEFS was born from the shared conviction that a land-grant-university-based research, education, and extension program focused on organic and sustainable agriculture could have a significant and essential impact in North Carolina. Now, twenty years after its founding, CEFS is reflecting on the impact it has made on the state of North Carolina and beyond.

We hope that you will join us for some of the special programs and events we are planning this year to celebrate our successes, honor those who helped shape CEFS along the way, and look ahead to our next twenty years.

FoodCorps North Carolina and Farm-to-School: A Recipe for Healthy Kids

Radishes!                                        Photo: JJ Richardson/CEFS


As part of our 20th anniversary, we are reflecting on the impact that CEFS has made on the state of North Carolina and beyond.  This is the first in a series of stories exploring that impact.


Sitting around a table at a regional sustainable agriculture conference, North Carolina's FoodCorps service members exude youthful optimism.  They are discussing what attracted them to FoodCorps - part of the AmeriCorps network of service programs - out of all the many options available to them.  "I knew I wanted to do service," says Eliza Hudson, who is in her second year of FoodCorps service in Guilford County, "and a lot of other programs didn't have as much direct experience with kids.  I wanted to be in classrooms, outdoor classrooms, sharing my passions with them."


Leah Klaproth, a FoodCorps fellow who is in her third year of service, adds, "I feel more like a firestarter here.  We're getting things started in Title I schools where there is a real need for resources, and so much possibility in terms of what can be done [with school gardens and nutrition education]." 


FoodCorps is a national program whose mission is to "give all youth an enduring relationship with healthy food."  Working in partnership with local communities and organizations, FoodCorps aims to change children's attitudes and behaviors towards food through nutrition education, school garden engagement, and increasing access to healthy, local produce through local farm to cafeteria pathways. 


CEFS and NC 4-H co-host FoodCorps in North Carolina, providing training and support to seven FoodCorps service members and one FoodCorps fellow in six sites throughout the state.  FoodCorps intentionally directs its efforts toward Title I schools, defined in North Carolina as public schools with a student poverty rate of more than forty percent.  In Guilford County, the program is in its third year, working in partnership with the Guilford County Cooperative Extension Service (CES) at nine High Point Title I elementary schools.


Guilford CES Horticulture Agent Karen Neill has been part of developing the FoodCorps program since the very beginning, and has personally seen its benefits: "Kids are engaged, test scores are up, kids have a much greater appreciation of where food comes from.  They've learned life skills - they know how to improve and amend soils, they understand seasonality." 


Arguably, the most significant benefit is that the program impacts what kids are eating.  Various research studies have shown that children are much more likely to try a new food if they have helped to grow it.  And that is proving true in Guilford County, where monthly school cafeteria taste tests highlight foods the students are growing in their school gardens. 


Extension Master Gardener volunteer Ken Meeks hands out broccoli samples at Oak Hill Elementary's cafeteria taste-test.  
Photo: JJ Richardson/CEFS


In the bustling school cafeteria at Oak Hill Elementary School in High Point, Extension Master Gardener volunteer Ken Meeks hands out little paper cups filled with broccoli florets baked in olive oil and parmesan cheese.  An older gentleman with an affable manner, the kids perk up when he nears their table.  "Who wants to try broccoli?" he calls out from behind his broccoli cart.  Hands shoot up quickly.  The broccoli, local and organic, was sourced from a farm about 30 miles away from the school. 


One by one, the kids - who are encouraged, but not forced to try the foods - sample the broccoli.  Some take little nibbles, wincing almost as if in pain; others chew slowly, pensively; still others gulp the pieces down practically whole and ask for seconds.  All seem excited by what is taking place.  The students receive stickers for trying the food, and as they leave the cafeteria they record their official "taste-test" opinion by affixing small colored dots to sections of posterboard that read "I loved it!", "Only so-so", etc. 


"The kids really enjoy [the taste tests]," says Julie Oxendine, the school's cafeteria manager.  "It starts in kindergarten - FoodCorps is here and encouraging [kids to try different foods].  By the time they're in third and fourth grade, they already have the habit, and they're not afraid to try new things."


Beyond the significant on-the-ground impact that FoodCorps is having in schools, the program is also helping to advance the Farm-to-School movement generally across the state.  The FoodCorps fellow devotes a portion of her time to supporting the growth of the Farm to School Coalition of North Carolina, a group that brings together numerous agencies and organizations in an effort to leverage the multiple Farm-to-School efforts in the state, and maximize policies and resources that enhance Farm-to-School work. 


Watering the greens at Oak Hill Elementary's school garden. 
Photo: JJ Richardson/CEFS

As the Oak Hill Elementary taste test winds down, outside the school a group of children is doing a garden-based activity.  Led by FoodCorps service member Melissa Tingling, students are tending to raised beds of radishes, lettuces and other greens.  Shrieking with excitement, they race over to one of the beds.  "Hey, I found broccoli!" one of them yells.  Another, gently holding a watering can, names the plants as he waters.  "That's cilantro, there's kale...."  Melissa calls them over to the radish bed and announces that they can harvest small bunches to take home and eat with their families.  Hunched over the beds, their little hands dig out the radishes one by one, triumphantly holding them up for inspection.  Happy faces shining, not one minds the dirt under their nails.


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