Extension Local Food Program
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Welcome to the Extension Local Food Program! The main objective of this program is to “promote the production, marketing, and consumption of food grown and caught within North Carolina.” On this page you will find a brief overview of services and programs offered through this program.
On This Page
In 2012 Local Foods was named as N.C. Cooperative Extension’s first Flagship Program. The Local Foods Program is a collaborative program of The Cooperative Extension Program of North Carolina A&T State University and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service of North Carolina State University. Learn more about our staff.
The Extension Local Food Program partners with many university and community partners across the state and nation to build capacity for local food systems.
Each County Cooperative Extension office and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) has a designated Local Food Coordinator. To contact your area Local Food Coordinator, click on your county name or the EBCI from the County Centers website, and then click on the ‘Local Foods‘ link listed under Agriculture & Food on the left-hand sidebar of the county Extension web page.
The Local Food Program Team brings together county agents and campus specialists to create training and resources to build capacity for supporting local food systems in Extension across the state.
The mission of the Extension Local Food Program Team reads:
This multidisciplinary team of Extension professionals shall identify and assess priorities, build capacity and mobilize resources to support Cooperative Extension in leading and fostering stakeholder and community efforts that enhance the local food system(s) of North Carolina.
Our four areas of impact are:
|Improve health outcomes||Increase food security|
|Foster vibrant, resilient, viable food and farming systems||Facilitate regional economic development|
There are currently seven workgroups made up of agents and specialists from all areas of the state and both NC State and N.C. A&T State Universities.
Our Work Groups are:
- Farm to Fork Camps: brings together Agriculture, Family & Consumer Sciences, and 4-H Agents to provide programming for youth on how food is produced on the farm all the way to ending up on their fork.
- Growing Farm Capacity: provides education and resources for new and beginner farmers across the state.
- Farm to Early Childcare and Education: enhances the health and education of young children by developing systems and experiential learning that connect children and their families with local food and farms.
- Farm to School: provides training and resources to support Farm to School education and market development.
- Local Food Preparation: provides resources and education to teach Extension professionals and the public about ways to prepare healthy food.
- Economic Impacts of Local Food: provides education and training, answers questions around local food and economic development, and develops resources to share statewide.
- Farm to Food Banks and Food Pantries: engages with Extension and community partners to increase the amount of local food and nutrition education available in food banks and pantries.
Contact Hannah Dankbar if you are interested in joining the team or any of the work groups listed above.
Find out more about the Program Team resources and impacts in our 2019-2020 Annual Report.
The Overview of Local Food Systems Training Program offers three self-paced courses to develop foundational skills and knowledge for food systems work. The three courses offered are:
- Foundations of Local Food System Development
- Farm to Fork: Foundations in Local Food Supply and Value Chains
- Triple Bottom Line: Economic Realities and Other Considerations for Food Systems Work
These courses are offered once per year. Extension Agents can also enroll in a graduate course through the Agriculture Extension and Education program at NC State University to receive credit for this course.
For more information about either option, contact Hannah Dankbar.
Extension Specialists housed in different programs and departments are available to answer any and all local food questions! We can provide answers to questions, point you towards resources, provide facilitation for meetings, help develop projects, provide evaluation for programs, and anything else you have! Contact Hannah Dankbar for assistance.
There are a number of ways to stay in touch with the Extension Local Food Program: