Tessa Thraves, Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
After a twelve-year career in teaching and folklore, Tes began work at CEFS in 2007 on community-based food systems, and currently on Farm to School/ECE and Racial Equity. For seven years, Tes cohosted FoodCorps NC with her co-conspirator from 4H-NC. She founded CEFS’s Food Youth Initiative, in partnership with multiple grassroots organizations, to support youth leadership in NC, especially those from communities most adversely impacted by inequities. She is also one of the many founders of the Farm to School Coalition of NC and serves on its steering committee, is the North Carolina core partner for the National Farm to School Network, and is on CEFS’ Committee on Racial Equity (CORE) which does racial equity in food systems trainings, but more importantly strives for systems impact and use of an equity lens across local foods work. Racial Equity is a daily practice and Tes is grateful for all those who laid the path as well as current leaders everywhere. She is a white, Southern, mountain woman re-planted in the piedmont. In her free time, Tes is planting pollinators with her wife, caring for critters, inoculating mushrooms everywhere, or making up songs and cooking for the wee ones in their life.
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems develops and promotes just and equitable food and farming systems that conserve natural resources, strengthen communities, improve health outcomes, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond. CEFS is a partnership of North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In the twenty-plus years since its founding, bold and innovative programmatic initiatives have expanded CEFS’ footprint beyond the boundaries of the research farm, reaching every corner of North Carolina and forming deep partnerships in local communities.