Mini-Market Opening on June 1st!

The Mini Farmer’s Market is not so “mini” anymore!  The market is expected to have 13 vendors at its opening on tomorrow, June 1st, 2011!  The Mini-Market is a collaborative effort between the Wayne County Health Department and the City of Goldsboro.  The market will be open from 9:30am-2:30pm each Wednesday through the fall and is located near the Herman Park Center at Herman and Pou Streets.

The Market Opening Day Celebration will feature fresh veggie songs by Dillard Academy Charter School along with fresh, local produce from your Goldsboro neighborhood farmers!

On the Fight for Food Equity, by CEFS intern Elena Wertenbaker

The ideas of food justice and community development have been very prevalent in my internship experience over the past two weeks. Both of these terms are nebulous and difficult to concretely define, as they refer to complex and shifting ideas, but I will give it a shot. Food justice is indiscriminate access to safe and healthy food, and involves the breaking down of existing barriers to that access, which include physical, economic, and paradigmatic barriers. Community development, as I am beginning to understand it, is the development of whatever a community needs to be successful and productive according to its own standards.

We have had numerous discussions about food access in low-income communities and about the role that “alternative food” advocates and practitioners have been trying to play in such places. The overwhelming tendency in this movement has been to try to implant the ethics of sustainably raised, healthy, local food into these communities preformed, as in to take ideas about food that have risen out of other contexts and needs and “teach” them to folks in low-income areas. This tendency is born of very good intentions- many of the areas in question presently have little or no access to fresh or unprocessed foods, and the want to change things that are currently unjust is natural and common. The trouble is that it makes the assumption that people in very different communities with different needs and resources all want to see the same kind of changes in available food. The situation in an area that currently only has access to conventionally grown food from the global food system is different than that of an area that currently doesn’t have access to fresh food at all. The former community is hungry for the ability to make choices about the kind of the food system it chooses to support, while the latter may actually just want what is perceived to be normal and standard. One of the articles that we read quoted a person in an area with limited food access saying that the change they wanted was to have a Safeway built in their neighborhood.

So then my question is what to do. I have had this conviction for years that connecting with food and land has the capacity to make people feel good in some deep and fundamental way, and my plan has always been to take this idea to places where people may not have ever thought of it, and to groups that might particularly benefit from something of that nature. After having had all of these conversations about not imposing the ideas that one community has about food on others, and acknowledging that my truths are my own, I feel steeped in the question of how to proceed.

My ideas about the healing potential of engaging with food and the earth mostly revolve around the idea of a return to the most basic- bodies and food that nourishes and the land that we slowly and continually draw our very lives from. To me this has the potential to cut through the complexity and franticness that is threaded through our lives and culture, to be a metaphorical deep breath, an opening.

What I keep hearing from folks with more experience actually working with food and people is that to figure out how to be of service to other people and communities, the trick is to listen. To trust that people actually know what they need and that they can let you know what that is. To me this translates as taking on a certain quality in oneself, which really is just a matter of being open, which is really the foundation of the whole healing farm idea to begin with. So what I’ve come around to is that the quality that I need to cultivate in myself in order to have a shot at being successful in this work is the same quality that I hope to inspire in others through the healing farm, which is a very interesting “full-circle” experience.

-Elena Wertenbaker

CEFS Intern Blog: Chapter 2

Each of us has our own definition of ‘sustainability’. This week, the CEFS interns describe what the term means to them, and how their experiences here at the farm affect their perception of sustainability.

Sustainability, according to CEFS intern Remy Long:

Note: You define your “suffering.” You define your “middle way.” You interpret your “Eightfold Path.” No single paradigm is correct. No single paradigm can carry the burden alone in “being wrong.”

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths:

1.     All life is suffering (birth, growth and death are all suffering).

2.     There is an origin to the suffering, and it is believed that origin is craving (in all its forms).

3.     There is an end to suffering, and that is to end craving.

4.     The Eightfold Path will guide us away from craving which causes suffering, which is done by enacting the following: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

First Noble Truth:

Aldo Leopold once said: “…the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Many of us concerned with the issue of sustainability feel the burden, or suffering, of the ignorance we have displayed in our pasts and continue to in our future. We have immense amounts of information, (some that would ease our suffering if we heeded it, some that is forced upon us as propaganda) yet some choose to perpetuate suffering further by attempting to discredit or disregard information regarding our human evolution or impacts we have upon our biota.

Second Noble Truth:

We’ve gathered concepts of what genetic and cultural pressures have caused our suffering. Our craving has come in the form of globalization, industrialization, the loss of culture, the loss of individuality, the manipulation and exploitation of the environment, and so on. But, as many of us know, there are ways to work within this world and promote the expiry of suffering.

Third Noble Truth:

We want the greater populace to understand their suffering, and show them that the end to their suffering will come with the active diminishment of their craving. We have the information to end our suffering. Distribute that information, and create or promote a healthy environment in which to access and interpret that information, and you allow those suffering to define their own middle way.

Fourth Noble Truth:

The Eightfold Path (right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration) is the path we shall walk to end suffering, and attain not only enlightenment, but also an entirely sustainable biota.

At CEFS, I find that many of the people are working, knowingly and unknowingly, within The Eightfold Path to help construct an enlightened and sustainable world. As an intern, you may develop your path toward the middle way while weeding the garden, harvesting on the farm, opening your mind in a lecture or reaching out to the community. If you are willing to embrace the madness and unknown of all things, you may begin to find peace within yourself, and from there spread the basic information of what causes craving, how to diminish craving, and therefore come closer to attaining enlightenment and sustainability.

Stay tuned for more!

Presenting CEFS Summer 2010 Interns!

Coming from all over the country, and even from South America, the CEFS interns arrived to the farm earlier this month to work on sustainable ag research projects. For two months, they’ll explore everything from community food mapping to cover crops. Let’s meet them!

Claire van Wassenhove

Claire in the dairy

I am Marie Claire van Wassenhove. I am from Montevideo, Uruguay and I am 21 years old. This year I finished my studies as an agriculture technician and I also study Veterinary science in Uruguay.
I came to the CEFS internship because I thought it was a great oportunity for me to learn about sustainability and organics, related to animal science, which is what I will like to work on once I finish my studies as a veterinarian.
Here at CEFS I am in the dairy unit. I enjoy being in this unit because I learn lots of new things, which I could relate to my country and my career too.
I have lots of good expectations on this internship and I am hoping to learn as much as I can, not only things that have to do with my career, but also other culture, different from my country. I hope this will happen due to the lovely group of people (enterprises, other interns, teachers, etc) which are here at CEFS!

Elena Wertenbaker

Elena's onion harvest

I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY, and did not have any particular
connection to food or farming as a young sprout. My initial interest in agriculture
was born of an interest in community. I decided to take some time off of school
after my second year of college and was interested in exploring the question
of what created strong communities. I thought that a shared, mutual endeavor,
and a connection to what is really important must be important parts of the
equation. It seemed that food and farming might provide an appropriate anchor.
I have spent time on a few different farms and I am convinced that this work
is worthwhile. Food is fundamentally about survival, and there is something
powerful to me about dedicating time and energy to meeting our most basic
needs. To engage with other people in this endeavor creates of survival a
celebration.
I am entering my senior year at Warren Wilson College (Swannanoa, NC),
where I am an environmental studies major with a concentration in sustainable
agriculture.

Jeremy Mauck

Jeremy is ready for the beehives

Hi, My name is Jeremy Mauck. I was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, a
suburb of our Nation’s Capital. I’m a rising non-graduating senior at Virginia
Tech majoring in Environmental Policy and planning, and I hope to minor in
Civic Agriculture and Food Systems. I wasn’t familiar with CEFS before starting
the internship, but since I have been here I have learned a lot. Coming from a
non-farming background I didn’t know a turnip from a head of cabbage in the
field, but that was quickly changed. While I’m not sure what I want to do with
my life after school, I have realized over just the past two weeks that there
are a lot of issues surrounding sustainable ag and I want to make sure I’m
involved with this developing field.

Wendi Jiang

Wendy and Jeremy (and arm) cooking up somethin' yum

Hi! I’m Wendi Jiang from Raleigh, North Carolina. I just finished my freshman year at NC State University and am majoring in Sociology and Plant and Soil Science with a concentration in Agroecology. I am especially interested in the relationship between food systems and various cultures around the world, particularly in regards to food security. I decided to participate in the CEFS internship so I could learn the more practical applications of the information I am learning in school and gain general perspective on what farming is like.

Remy Long

Peregrine Farm's Bourbon Reds

Hey, I’m Remy. I’m a CEFS Summer 2010 Intern. I hail from Kalamazoo, Michigan, but I’m a native of Santa Cruz, California. I grew up in a good home, the ‘burbs, ya know? But, suburbia (physical & social aspects) didn’t cut it for me, and my time at college was spent weeding out the unsustainable cultural trends that can flourish in such a background. I studied environmental studies and international studies. I got involved in environmental activism and research. I got into Thoreau, Emerson, Ginsberg, and Leopold (can you guess which one of those doesn’t quite fit?). Now, as a college grad, I’m waiting for my Peace Corps service to start in Sub-Saharan Africa, where I will be working in sustainable agriculture education and outreach.
Now, how did I get to sustainable agriculture, and what does CEFS have to offer when cultivating a well-rounded background in such a field? Well, I got into sustainable agriculture because of my interest in systems analysis. It seemed like a baseline environmental issue that was so intimately and frustratingly associated with our social and economic constructs. It seemed like a good “bottom-up” approach to promote positive grassroots change. So, basically, I wanted to work outside, get dirty, continual learn and work in a field that was focused on sustainability.
Now, how did I get to CEFS? Well, other than an organic community garden and a few months of WWOOFing, I had limited experiences in sustainable agriculture and all its facets. So, I didn’t want to show up to my Peace Corps service totally clueless, so I sought out programs that would be beneficial, and CEFS was the place. I can’t speak to my whole experience here, but I have to say it has already been immensely beneficial to work in the different units of the program, hear the different lectures that range from food justice to agricultural practices, and meet a wide range of researchers, workers and leaders in sustainable agriculture. If you’re considering studying or practicing sustainable agriculture, and you have a couple months, CEFS is a great program.

Kristen Irvin

A lovely, hungry creature at Ever Laughter Farm, Hillsborough

My name is Kristen and I come from the Northern Shenandoah Valley in the beautiful state of Virginia. I was a Women’s & Gender Studies/International Studies major at Elon University in NC (waaay back in ’06; I’m old, y’all), and I’m currently earning my Masters in Agriculture, Food & Environment at Tufts University in Boston, exploring the intersection of the science and policy behind those three fields. I came to CEFS to focus on community food systems and to learn all the wonderful things sustainable ag can do for us. Until approximately 18 days ago, I had zero farming experience, and usually killed whatever vegetables I attempted to grow in my small backyard in Greensboro. I’m pleased to work with these inspiring folks who call Eastern Carolina/Wayne County/Goldsboro home, and can hardly wait to test how serious the “Tractors are off-limits for interns” rule is.

Louise Kirven-Dows

Louise's onion-pickin' pride

I was born and raised on the west coast in Santa Cruz, CA. When I was making my college decision one important factor for me was that I would be living in a very different place from where I grew up. I ended up just about as far away as I could get staying in the Continental coastal New England. In August 2008 I moved to Bar Harbor to attend College of the Atlantic, a tiny liberal arts college on a rugged Maine island. We are a community of independent, self-motivated learners who want to make a positive impact on the world. We share one major of Human Ecology, an interdisciplinary holistic study of the way in which we humans interact with each other, the natural environment around us, and the social and cultural structures that we create. I study sustainable agriculture, and my interests lie in not only biological and ecological aspects of agriculture, but also the social dynamic of whole food systems within communities and on a larger scale. I decided to attend this internship so that I could learn how to do scientific research, and meet and make connections with people working on sustainable agriculture in a part of the country new to me.

Natasha Vos

Natasha's harvest

My name is Natasha Vos and I am a Senior in Animal Science and Poultry
Science at North Carolina State University. I am currently on a
pre-veterinary track with aspirations of someday going to veterinary
school and studying large/farm animals. I decided to commit to the CEFS
summer internship because I saw it as an opportunity to enhance my
knowledge on sustainable agriculture, especially the crop science portion,
as well as gain research in the area of dairy production. My goal is to be
able to use the knowledge and experiences I gain through this internship
in future career endeavors with organizations such as Vets without Borders
and/or Heifer International.

Adeia Nevels

Chickens at the Central Carolina Community College Student Farm

Greetings! My name is Adeia Nevels and I’m from Winston-Salem, NC. I’m double majoring in Animal Science (Industry) and Agricultural Business Management at North Carolina State University. My mentor here at CEFS is Silvana Pietrosemoli, and my research is on Alternative Swine. At the completion of the internship, I will return to NC State to begin my final year of undergraduate studies. In the future, I hope to earn an MBA.

Vincent Feucht

Vinnie's a talented chef!

I grew up in southeastern Virginia in a tiny little town where my father, a dairy farmer from his birth until mine, nonetheless did his best to continue farming despite the land constraints of living in a residential neighborhood. I remember riding home one time with a calf cradled illegally at my feet. We kept it hidden in the woods until we found it a real home.
The crazy thing is that growing up, I never came to see the value in growing my own food, or producing food in a sustainable manner, practices of which I was a part since birth (or even sooner than that). I was young, or rather, younger, and too immature to not be angry at my parents for making my friends afraid to come over and play because they knew they’d be put to work.
Over the past five years or so I’ve come to a much better understanding of the important role sustainable agriculture has played in my life, and increasingly I’ve become aware of the hugely important role it needs to play in the lives of everyone, everywhere.
And so I’m at CEFS, learning the science behind what I’ve been doing or helping to do for my entire life. I’m looking at the social aspects as well, particularly involving food justice, and I’m realizing my passion for food extends well beyond the kitchen and the table.
I’m an English major, and I suppose one could say I ended up here because I failed to find a summer job, but I don’t see it that way. Life tugged me in this direction for a reason, and I cannot wait to find out how it will shape my future in the years to come. Either way I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my summer, and I’m extremely grateful to be where I am.

Stella Kreilkamp

At the Small Farm Unit

Hello! My name is Stella and I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. I graduated in May from Appalachian State University with a degree in Sustainable Development and a concentration in Agroecology.  My love of food is what got me interested in sustainable agriculture. As a CEFS intern, I hope to gain research experience to prepare myself for graduate school.

Gabriela Minchiotti

Gabi and sunflower

My name is Gabriela Minchiotti, and I am from Minas, Uruguay. I am 24 years old and I finished my studies as an agricultural technician.
The main reason I wanted to come to CEFS was to learn more about farmers lifestyle, the food that they produce and their relationship with the communities. And just live here, work and see things from other perspectives.
I am working with Dr. Jean Marie in a project with goats.
I like it here, because we do diferent things every day, you never get bored! And I’m learning a lot. For me it’s a life time experience!