Wayne Food Initiative

CEFS supports the Wayne Food Initiative (WFI), a collaborative, community-led effort whose mission is to build a fair and equitable food system that is accessible and affordable to all.  WFI’s emerging leaders program, SWARM (Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement), is a teen leadership, advocacy and activism group that empowers young people to organize for food systems change, while gaining hands-on experience in food production, business planning and entrepreneurial development.  For more information visit www.waynefoods.wordpress.com.


Aided by a planning grant to the Center for Environmental Farming Systems from the Office of Extension and Engagement at N.C. State University, diverse institutions and organizations, government and private, for-profit and nonprofit, began meeting in the fall of 2007 to develop a Wayne County sustainable, local foods initiative. From that effort grew the Wayne Food Initiative (WFI), a collaboration of individuals and organizations based in Goldsboro and the larger Wayne County area who seek to build a sound food system that increases the access of fair and affordable food.

Dilard kids shucking peanuts

Dillard kids shucking peanuts

Because WFI is committed to working from its partner strengths, efforts are geared towards increasing the capacity of each partner organization’s work through collective support as well as collectively leveraging partner organization resources in creating new, collaborative actions. WFI work always focuses on youth and increasing access to good food. Current and past partner projects include:

plus collaborative WFI projects

Southeastern Youth Food Activist Summit (SYFAS)

In January 2010, Students Working for an Agriculture Revolutionary Movement (SWARM) attended the Southeastern Youth Food Activist Summit (SYFAS) in Chapel Hill, N.C. SYFAS is cosponsored by FLO Food at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Real Food Challenge, a national student organization focused on getting local, sustainable foods into university campuses. This year, high school students were encouraged to attend SYFAS, so SWARM made its first “university conference” outing. SWARM is the Wayne Food Initiative’s emerging leaders program for youth ages 16-19, and is coordinated through a CEFS partnership with WFI. Students from multiple Goldsboro high schools currently make up the SWARM cadre.