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Dara Bloom, PhD

Associate Professor; Assistant Director of CEFS

Local Foods Extension Specialist

512 Brickhaven Drive, 220F


Dara Bloom is an associate professor and Local Foods Extension Specialist at NC State University. She is also Director of Community Based Food Systems for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). Dara was inspired by her time doing community gardening on the US/Mexican border to learn about the structure and policies of the larger agri-food system, as well as how community-based projects can enhance local food security. Dara earned her degree in Rural Sociology at Penn State University, with a focus on the Sociology of Agriculture and Food Systems. Her graduate research revolved around the challenges and opportunities of “scaling up” local food systems, including the interactions between social, environmental, and economic values as alternative movements are incorporated into conventional systems. Her current work includes providing support through Cooperative Extension and CEFS to develop local food value chains as part of community-based local food projects that integrate low-resource consumers and support local farmers. This has included exploring how to strengthen immigrant/refugee communities’ capacity to participate in local food production and preparation, and how to connect food pantries with local food sources. She is currently conducting research about how to build relationships between local farmers and childcare centers and senior centers.

Programs and Initiatives

  • Extension Master Food Volunteer Program
  • Local Food Online Course
  • Farm to Early Care and Education
  • Farm to Senior Services

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • AEHS 590: Intro to Local Foods

Contributing Websites

Professional Honors/Offices/Recognitions

  • 2018: Rural Sociological Society Early Career Award
  • 2018: NC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Specialist Award
  • 2018: North Carolina Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Excellence in Teamwork Award, Extension Master Food Volunteer Program
  • 2018: North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists, Outstanding Subject Matter Program by a Team Award, Extension Master Food Volunteer Program
  • 2018: North Carolina Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Family Health and Wellness Award, Cooking Local Foods Made Simple Agent Training

Selected Publications

  • Ammons, S., Blacklin, S., Bloom, D., Brown, S., Cappellazzi, M., Creamer, N., … Ukah, B. (2021). A collaborative approach to COVID-19 response: The Center for Environmental Farming Systems community-based food system initiatives. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
  • Bloom, J.D.(2020). “Spiraling up”: Using ripple effect mapping to evaluate how an extension volunteer program increases community development capacity. Community Development, 1-20.
  • Bloom, J. D.,Lelekacs, J., Hofing, G., Stout, R., Marshall, M., & Davis, K. (2020). Integrating Food Systems and Local Food in Family and Consumer Sciences: Perspectives from the Pilot Extension Master Food Volunteer Program. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development9(2), 197-220.
  • Dunning, R., Bloom, J. D., & Brinkmeyer, E. (2020). Making a Market for On-farm Food Loss: Exploring Food Banks as a Market for Southeastern Produce. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development9(2), 185-195.
  • Bloom, J. D., Hardison-Moody, A., & Schulman, M. (2018). Bonding and bridging: Leveraging immigrant and refugee community assets to support healthy eating. Community Development, 1–20.
  • Bloom, J. D., Lelekacs, J. M., Dunning, R., Piner, A., & Brinkmeyer, E. (2017). Local Food Systems Course for Extension Educators in North Carolina: Summary of an Innovative Program. Journal of Extension,55(4). Retrieved from
  • Bloom, J.D., Hinrichs, C.C. (2017).  The Long Reach of Lean Retailing: Firm Embeddedness and Wal-Mart’s Implementation of Local Produce Sourcing in the US. Environment and Planning A.  49(1), 168-185.
  • Bloom, J.D., Gamble, E. (2017) Farm to Food Bank Resource Guide for North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Raleigh, NC: NC Cooperative Extension.
  • Bloom J.D.,Alford, Z., Mansure, M. (2017). Best Practices for Integrating Local Food into Nutrition Education and Cooking Classes. Raleigh, NC: NC Cooperative Extension.
  • Bloom, J. Dara and Lelekacs, Joanna M. 2014. Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Local foods program brochure.

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BA Swarthmore College

MS Penn State University

PhD Penn State University

Area(s) of Expertise

  • Local Food Systems
  • Food Access to Community-Based Food Systems
  • Value Chains and Supply Chain Governance