Two North Carolina land-grant universities affiliated with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) – N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University –were among those named regional winners of the C. Peter Magrath University Engagement Award for 2012, presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
Established in 2006, the Outreach Scholarship and Magrath University Community Engagement Awards recognize four-year public universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become more deeply involved with their communities.
Winners of the awards come from four regions—South, North Central, West and the 1890 university community. CEFS was recognized as the 1890 winner because N.C. A&T State University was established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. In addition to the universities, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is also a partner organization in CEFS.
Each regional Magrath winner receives a cash prize of $6,000 and moves on to compete for the national C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award during the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at the University of Alabama Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. The national winner will be announced during the 125th APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 11-13 in Denver, CO.
CEFS was started in 1994 as a center for outreach, teaching and research related to sustainable agriculture, based on a research farm in Goldsboro. During 2008-09, CEFS began an effort to develop sustainable local foods systems for North Carolina, beginning with regional meetings and a statewide summit to develop “game changer” strategies for immediate action with high impact.
These efforts resulted in the comprehensive guide From Farm to Fork: A Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable Local Food Economy. Many of these “game changer” ideas have now been achieved and others are underway: the state legislature established the N.C. Sustainable Local Foods Advisory Council, CEFS launched the statewide “10% Campaign” in partnership with N.C. Cooperative Extension, and CEFS and 4-H (along with many community partners) won a competitive proposal to serve as a pilot site for FoodCorps, an Americorps service program focused on increasing young people’s access to fresh, healthy foods.
Dr. Nancy Creamer is the CEFS director for N.C. State University, and Dr. John O’Sullivan is the CEFS director for N.C. A&T State University.
Other universities receiving the Magrath Awards are East Carolina, Miami (OH) and Colorado State universities.
“These four projects exemplify the broad principles of outreach and engagement with the community and surrounding region embraced today by the public university community,” said Peter McPherson, president of APLU. “We salute these outstanding initiatives that stand as model engagement programs for colleges and universities nationwide.”
For more information on the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, visit www.cefs.ncsu.edu.