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OPN Connect Newsletter 338 · September 21, 2023

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Dedicated to Strengthening Local Organic Ag


Since 1979, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) has been working to strengthen organic agriculture and create a robust local food system in North and South Carolina.

“CFSA was founded by a group of farmers who came together seeking to practice organic farming and build a food system that re-centered the community,” says Roland McReynolds, CFSA’s executive director. “This group forged our vision for a sustainable regional food system that is good for all consumers, good for farmers, good for farmworkers, and good for our ecosystems.”

OPS 2024 Retailer Reg square

Roland McReynolds, Executive Director, CFSA

A member-based nonprofit organization, CFSA works with Carolina farmers and communities to “advocate, educate, and build connections that support sustainable food systems,” says McReynolds.

CFSA has more than 2,500 members made up of farms of all sizes, as well as home gardeners, consumers, restaurants and other food businesses, nonprofits, food councils, and ag service providers.

To achieve its mission of fostering a thriving organic and sustainable ag community in the Carolinas, CFSA provides a number of services to growers and other relevant stakeholders.

Vitalis June 2024

“[CFSA's founding group of farmers] forged our vision for a sustainable regional food system that is good for all consumers, good for farmers, good for farmworkers, and good for our ecosystems.” - Roland McReynolds

“We offer direct technical assistance to farmers on organic production and certification, conservation planning, food safety, high tunnel production, and market access,” McReynolds says. “Assistance includes site visits plus ongoing technical support to help farmers meet their production and business goals.”

CFSA also works with food hubs and other food businesses, helping them to optimize their operations and connect with values-driven consumers, so they can provide small Carolina farmers with strong market opportunities.

Squash being loaded for donation, CFSA’s Lomax Research and Education Farm

To help support new and beginning organic farmers, CFSA’s Lomax Research and Education Farm in Concord, North Carolina, offers land access and research-based education to foster a food system that supports the local community and protects natural resources.

This fall, on November 11-13, CFSA will host its 38th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, the largest and longest-running organic farming gathering in the Southeast. With over 100 presenters, the conference will feature a range of educational sessions and networking opportunities aimed at transforming the local food system.

“We offer direct technical assistance to farmers on organic production and certification, conservation planning, food safety, high tunnel production, and market access. Assistance includes site visits plus ongoing technical support to help farmers meet their production and business goals.” - Roland McReynolds

Cal-Organic June 2024

CFSA is also focused on advocating for the needs of organic and sustainable farmers at the local, state, and federal levels. Since 2020, the organization has grown and created a network of more than 500 grassroots leaders who advocate for fair farm and food policies in the Carolinas.

Currently, CFSA is partnering with several organizations on a number of projects related to organic ag. CFSA is a major partner of the USDA’s Transition for Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) in the Southeast Region, which is overseen by Florida Organic Growers. As part of TOPP, CFSA will provide Carolina organic and transitioning-to-organic growers with technical assistance and wrap-around support, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring and other training resources.