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Caroline Stover, Director, NC Farm to Early Care and Education, Center for Environmental Farming Systems

“CEFS is my career path. I wouldn’t have been prepared for my current job without my previous experience with CEFS. As far as training, experiences, networking, all the mentors I work with – it’s pretty ideal!”

As an AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member in Robeson County, Caroline Stover knew she wanted to work with youth and food in a meaningful way. She served in a soup kitchen and organized connections with community gardens, and then started working in schools. She learned about FoodCorps when she was looking for additional resources to support her work. “The resource I was seeking out became my next step,” she says.

Caroline served as a FoodCorps Service Member in Warren County for two years. When she was offered the chance to become a FoodCorps Fellow, supporting program development and mentoring other service members, she didn’t hesitate. “The progression was pretty seamless,” she says. “First learning about what it looks like in the classroom, then learning about how to develop the program, what goes on behind the scenes.”

After another two years, another opportunity arose that she couldn’t turn down: the chance to direct CEFS’ Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative. Training and professional development opportunities offered through CEFS have been critical for helping her get to where she is. “Getting to be part of a network of people helping me to understand the food system; all the training opportunities offered through CORE to understand systemic inequities and how to weave that throughout the work – all that has been absolutely essential,” she says.