Universities, Local and State Jurisdictions





The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) wanted to create the pioneer state framework for building a local and sustainable food economy. To be effective, the process needed to connect partners from across NC representing a diverse array of sectors, interests and geographies.


Fountainworks provided strategic guidance in partnership with CEFS to bring together over 1,000 North Carolinians, a 75-person advisory team, and 9 policy working groups across the state over the course of a year.


These strategies, and other outcomes of the process, are detailed in From Farm to Fork: Building a Sustainable Local Food Economy in North Carolina, a comprehensive guide to statewide action. The final report for the Farm to Fork project laid out issues to be addressed and proposed “game changer” ideas to make progress on these issues. Most of the game-changer ideas have come to fruition, including:

In addition to the development of game changing ideas, the process established new connections between partners, opened a statewide dialogue, and energized organizations involved to continue the collective work. This project is considered a national model in the sector and has inspired the work of other states in their food system development.

What’s Next? – NC Food Action Plan

The work of this initiative is continuing into the NC Food Action Plan, the next step in developing NC’s food system. Fountainworks is partnering with Community Food Strategies, a multi-organizational project housed at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), and funded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. This project will develop a report card that inspires more game-changing ideas to “do food differently.”