CEFS History

About Us

CEFS envisions a future of vibrant farms, resilient ecosystems, strong communities, healthy people, and thriving local economies.
CEFS is 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 celebrated for its work in building consensus around policies, programs and actions that facilitate a vibrant local food economy.

In 2012, CEFS was named a regional winner of the C. Peter Macgrath Community Engagement Award, a national distinction which recognizes outreach and engagement partnership efforts of four-year public universities. In 2012, CEFS was also awarded the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award – the most prestigious departmental award presented by the Secretary of Agriculture – for “assisting rural communities in creating prosperity so they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving.” CEFS was the only entity outside of USDA to receive the award.

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.