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NC State Extension

Local Food Systems Courses

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We have adapted the below curriculum and are now offering online, local food systems professional development training. See localfoodcourses.org for more information.


Instructor Courses

In 2015, with the support of Southern SARE Professional Development Program funds, a one-time graduate course was delivered to Extension Agents in North Carolina through NC State University and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

The following lectures and panel presentations were recorded during the 2015 course, Local Food Systems for Extension Agents. The course was divided into five themes presented during six sessions. These themes are the basis for the Modules below. Additional detailed course information, including syllabus, learning objectives, readings, and course session agendas, is available for instructors.

MODULE 1: Introducing Local: Where we have been and where we are going

MODULE 2: The Bottom Line: Economic Opportunities & Challenges of Local Food Systems

  • Supporting readings and assignments
  • Business Legal Structures for Local Food Value Chain Businesses. Becky Bowen, NC State University.
  • Making the Case for Economics and Triple Bottom Line of Local Food Systems Roundtable. Roundtable Discussion. Dave Lamie, Clemson University; Eric Bendfeldt, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Eric Henry, T.S. Designs; Kathryn Boys, NC State University; Becky Bowen, NC State University.
  • Growing a Healthy Economy with Local Foods –  6 Steps to Success Toolkit. Becky Bowen, NC State University.
  • Traditional and Alternative Financing Methods. Panel Discussion. Caroline Hampton, Octopus Gardens Farm; Jay Cook, Carolina Farm Credit; Rick Larson, Natural Capital Investment Fund; Tami Schwerin, Abundance Foundation, representing Slow Money NC.
  • Successful Strategic Marketing Tactics – Farmer/ Service Provider Panel Discussion. Anthony Dyson, Blueberry Hill U-Pick; Patricia Tripp, CEFS NC Growing Together Project; Brenda Garner, Sandy Creek Farm; Amy-Lynn Albertson, Davidson County Cooperative Extension.
  • Introduction to Basic Business Planning and Risk Management. Kathryn Boys, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, NC State University.
  • Marketing, Markets, and Regional Branding. Noah Ranells, NC A&T State University.

MODULE 3: Value Chain: Farm to Fork

  • Supporting readings and assignments
  • Community & Economic Impact Potentials of Local Food Systems. Dave Lamie, Clemson University.
  • Building a Regional Food System. Leslie Hossfeld, Executive Director, Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program Feast Down East.
  • Rural Economic Development through Support of Local Value Chains. Panel Discussion. Moderated by Tammy Kelly, Lenoir County Extension Director. Linda Rouse Sutton, County Commissioner; Jan Parson, Assistant Executive Director, Kinston Tourism Development Authority; Pat Jenkins, Kinston Farmers Market Manager.
  • Supply Chain Upgrading and Market Channel Selection for Success in Retail Agriculture. Rebecca Dunning, Research Assistant Professor, NC State University.
  • Values in the Value Chain in Western NC. Panel Discussion. Moderated by Joanna Massey Lelekacs. Jaclyn Mace, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project;  Kathleen Wood, Dig In! Yancey Community Garden; Rob Hawk, Jackson/Swain Cooperative Extension Director.

MODULE 4: Food as a Common Denominator: Bringing Everyone to the Table

  • Supporting readings and assignments
  • Growing Food, Growing Communities: Lisa Valdivia, NC A&T State University and Don Boekelheide, NCCGP
  • Food Security and Resilient Communities. Shorlette Ammons, NC A&T State University.
  • Local Foods at the Grassroots- Rocky Mount, Edgecombe, Nash Region. Food as the Common Denominator. Sue Perry-Cole, NC Association of Community Development Corporations.
  • Community Capitals in Community Food Systems. Michelle Eley, NC A&T State University and Susan Jakes, NC State University.
    • Part 1
    • Part 2
  • Food Access, Collaboration, & Community Ownership of Local Foods Projects. Panel Discussion. Moderated by J. Dara Bloom. Gabe Cumming, Working Landscapes; Caroline Stover, NC FoodCorps; Crystal Smith, Warren County Cooperative Extension; Alice Ammerman, UNC-CH Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
  • Facilitating Systems Change / Collective Impact Model. Abbey Piner, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Community Food Strategies.

MODULE 5: Understanding & Influencing Regulatory Policy & Frameworks / Local Leaders: Framing Local Policy

  • Supporting readings and assignments
  • Role of Extension Agents in Local Food Systems: Distinguishing Government, Policy, and Law. Ted Feitshans, Extension Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, NC State University.
  • What the {Beep} is Policy? [An introduction to terminology and concepts of government and law, relative to local food systems. ] Rochelle Sparko, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.
  • Policy in Action: Farm to School Case Study for Food Policy Issues in NC. Panel Discussion. Moderated by J. Dara Bloom. Tes Thraves and Liz Driscoll, NC FoodCorps; Gary Gay, Director for Food Distribution, NCDA&CS; Robert Parker, Child Nutrition Director, Brunswick County, NC.
  • Extension Involvement in Food Councils. Panel Discussion. Moderated by Jared Cates, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Carol Mitchell, Local Food Coordinator, Wake County Cooperative Extension; Mary Jac Brennan, Extension Agent, Agriculture – Commercial Horticulture, Forsyth County Cooperative Extension.

For questions or comments about the material, please contact:

  • Hannah Dankbar, N.C. Cooperative Extension Coordinator for Local Foods, hannah_dankbar@ncsu.edu
  •  J. Dara Bloom, Co-Instructor, Assistant Professor and Local Foods Extension Specialist, dara_bloom@ncsu.edu
  • Abbey Piner, Course Coordinator, Extension Associate, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, abbey_piner@ncsu.edu

This course was a collaboration of:

  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University
  • South Carolina Cooperative Extension at Clemson University and South Carolina State University
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University
  • Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
  • Center for Environmental Farming Systems

Course Cooperator Logos

Support for development of these materials is provided in part by Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program, grant #ES13-119 and in part by NC Growing Together, a Center for Environmental Farming Systems-led initiative, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, grant #2013-68004-20363.

Southern SARE logo

NC Growing Together project

Written By

Joanna Lelekacs, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionJoanna LelekacsExtension Local Food Flagship Program Manager Call Joanna Email Joanna ANR/CRD
NC State Extension, NC State University
Page Last Updated: 1 month ago
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