Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is a farmer-driven, membership-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic agriculture. CFSA is made up of thousands of farmers, gardeners, businesses and organic agriculture enthusiasts in North and South Carolina who are committed to sustainable agriculture and the development of locally based, organic food distribution systems.
CFSA's key program areas are: Education, Advocacy, Food Systems and Farm Services
Founded in 1979, CFSA is the oldest and largest sustainable and organic farm organization in the Southeast.
Founded in 1979 by a group of farmers, gardeners and consumers, CFSA began as a way to support each other in their efforts to foster the growth and distribution of organic food in the Carolinas. CFSA officially incorporated in 1982 and developed an organic certification program in 1987. In 1986, CFSA hosted the first Alternative Farming Field Day, which eventually became the annual CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference. In 1995, CFSA coordinated the first Piedmont Farm Tour, which has since become a signature, annual event.
In 2002, the USDA National Organic Program prohibited entities that conduct organic certification services from consulting and educational activities. CFSA determined that their educational and advocacy programs should be their primary focus and dropped their certification program.
In 2003, CFSA launched the Saving Our Seed project with grant funding from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. In 2004, CFSA incubated Eastern Carolina Organics with funding support from the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to help market Carolina organic produce; ECO later becomes a separate, farmer-owned company. In 2008, CFSA continued to build on its food incubator program, launching the Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project with support from the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company to create Carolina Ground, a small-scale mill to assist the growing and processing of Carolina-grown organic wheat for use in local bakeries.
In 2010, CFSA hosts the first Organic Commodities & Livestock Conference and launches the Organic Carolinas Initiative, a comprehensive program to build the organic agriculture community in the Carolinas. CFSA is also instrumental in winning protections for small farms and local food entrepreneurs, known at the Tester-Hagan Amendment, a massive new federal food safety law. CFSA launches the Local Produce Safety Initiative to help small farms ensure produce safety and meet federal standards, with funding from an NC Specialty Crops Block Grant.
Also in 2010, CFSA launched a project that has grown to become CFSA's Farm Services, a technical assistance program which helps farmers interested in transitioning to organic build their Organic Farm Plan and access NRCS grants to implement conservation practices on their farms.
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is a farmer-driven, membership-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local, organic foods by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic agriculture.
Our key program areas are: Education, Advocacy, Food Systems and Farm Services
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) is governed by a diverse, 15 member board of directors, elected by our members at the CFSA annual meeting. Our board includes farmers, business leaders, agriculture educators, and concerned citizens. Roland McReynolds, a North Carolina attorney, now serves as the Executive Director.
Issues of the CFSA Newsletter back to 2004 are available  for free. Earlier issues can be requested.
- Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Organic Commodities and Livestock Conference
- Regional Farm Tours
- Sustainable agriculture advocacy at the local, state and national levels
- Organic Certification Education
- Technical services for farmers transitioning to organic certification, training for Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and Conservation Activity Plans
- Consulting support for sustainable food projects in NC and SC
- Quarterly Stewardship News newsletter and monthly eNews
- Intern Referral Service