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.