Eliot Lee, MBA Candidate, Supply Chain Management, Poole College of Management, NC State University
“The Local Food Supply Chain Apprenticeship sent me down the career path of food supply chains. I discovered how business can fit into sustainable agriculture.”
Eliot Lee had no idea that becoming a CEFS Sustainable Agriculture Intern in 2015 would change his life’s trajectory. At the time, he was looking for a job or internship in sustainable agriculture to build on experiences in commercial-scale agriculture and alternative fuels he had while an undergraduate. The internship was “eye opening,” he says, giving him a comprehensive understanding of food and farming systems.
After the internship, Eliot was hired as a CEFS Program Assistant, helping behind-the-scenes with CEFS’ programs and initiatives. He also began learning more about CEFS’ work in different parts of the food system. “CEFS is a really close-knit community. If you show interest, there are a lot of people who will support you in what you want to do. There’s always someone you know at CEFS connected to the kind of work you want to do.”
When CEFS had an opening to coordinate NC Growing Together’s Local Food Supply Chain Apprenticeship, he knew he had to apply. After two summers coordinating the Apprenticeship and learning about building local food economies, Eliot’s path became clear. “The Local Food Supply Chain Apprenticeship sent me down the career path of food supply chains. I discovered how business can fit into sustainable agriculture,” he says.
Along the way, Eliot became a CEFS Compass Group USA Graduate Fellow and added to his real-world experience with an internship at Kellogg. “In business school, there is a real need for folks who can contribute to food systems work. I want to take these experiences I’m having through my MBA program and apply them to something I’m passionate about.”