RALEIGH (July 15, 2020) — Dr. Dara Bloom was recently named (Interim) Assistant Director of Community Based Food Systems at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), effective July 1, 2020.

Dr. Dara Bloom, is a Local Foods Extension Specialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences. At NC State University, since 2013, Dr. Bloom has had the opportunity to conduct social science research and outreach about farming and the food system, while also expanding her focus to engage and educate consumers. She has developed training materials to teach Cooperative Extension Agents from all program areas about local food systems, primarily through a collaboration that led to an online certificate program. Dr. Bloom works closely with Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Agents, and led an interdisciplinary team of Extension Specialists and Agents to develop the Extension Master Food Volunteer (EMFV) program. This program trains volunteers to support FCS programs, including a large module about the food system to help volunteers answer consumers’ food-related questions. Dr. Bloom also serves as the external evaluator for two grant-funded food systems programs run by local non-profit organizations.

Dr. Bloom is also involved with several research projects and initiatives at CEFS, including the Kellogg-funded Farm to Early Care and Education program, where she provides support and training to help child care centers procure local food. She has been involved with CEFS since 2013, and joins the CEFS Leadership Team as Assistant Director of Community Based Food Systems with two existing assistant directors: The Assistant Director of Collaborative Research (Dr. Chris Reberg-Horton) and the Assistant Director of Educational Programs (Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno).

Dr. Bloom is an invaluable team player and a recognized mentor with broad community-based food systems expertise and demonstrated success. In her new role, Dr. Bloom will identify collaborative research opportunities and recruit and engage Community-based and Local Food System faculty and graduate student affiliates. She will be a liaison with state and national partners and will integrate seamlessly with the diverse and inclusive culture of the CEFS community.

Dr. Bloom aims to foster a collective vision for the CEFS Community-based and Local Food Systems programs, and her leadership will help identify strategic opportunities to partner with the broader CEFS community. She is “passionate about the mission of CEFS, the amazing work that people within CEFS do, and the continuous ability of CEFS to move the conversation about sustainable food and farming systems forward.”