The second objective is to identify supply chain obstacles and determine the effectiveness of interventions.

CEFS will work with North Carolina Cooperative Extension and other partners to provide farmer training and support to increase the supply of local foods in the state.  

One goal is to increase the number of growers certified in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), allowing more local fruit and vegetable producers to supply institutional and retail markets.

Another project partner, the North Carolina State University School of Management Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (SCRC) will work with North Carolina Sea Grant and the local seafood educational initiatives (North Carolina “Catch” programs), Farmhand Foods, NC Choices, Eastern Carolina Organics and other supply chain partners to explore local supply chains for seafood, meat, dairy, produce and value-added food products.

The project will also explore ways to increase opportunities for value-added processing of local products through partnerships with Orange County’s Piedmont Food and Agriculture Processing Facility and Buncombe County’s Blue Ridge Food Ventures, with assistance from James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant.

The third project objective addresses purchasing standards that can limit the ability of North Carolina institutions to source local foods. This will involve examining grading standards and military contracts regarding food products, in partnership with North Carolina’s Eastern Region Military Growth Task Force working with Marine Corps Installations East (MCIEAST).

The fourth objective of the study addresses the demand side to increase local food sales and improve access to North Carolinians of all income levels. CEFS and its partners in North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and UNC-Wilmington will work with Lowes Foods to explore ways of expanding its “Locally Grown Club,” a model that provides community-supported agriculture (CSA)-like boxes of local produce to customers.

In addition, CEFS will work with Fort Bragg and its food suppliers to increase local seasonal produce in dining facilities, expand the Officers’ Club purchases of North Carolina seafood and increase the amount of local foods available to military families through the commissary.

CEFS and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension System are excited about the goals of this project according to John O’Sullivan, co-director of CEFS from North Carolina A&T State University.

“It will bring resources to help producers make important market connections, creating jobs and enhancing farm viability. It will also engage students at both North Carolina A&T SU and North Carolina State in facilitating market-based changes, giving them important lessons and real world connections and experiences.”

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is a partnership of North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. CEFS’s mission is to develop and promote food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.