June 12, 2015 (Charlotte, NC) – Compass Group USA, a long-time partner of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), was proud to participate in the 2015 annual Farm to Fork Weekend in Durham, NC June 5-7, 2015 as a Harvest Sponsor.
Farm to Fork celebrates the region’s rich bounty of local foods and honors the skillful farmers and chefs who artfully produce and prepare them. Farm to Fork events also raise money for beginning farmer programs at CEFS and W.C. Breeze Family Farm Extension and Research Center. This year’s events had a special focus on North Carolina’s seafood, a critical but often overlooked component of the state’s local food system. Paul Greenberg, The New York Times best-selling author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood, was the weekend’s distinguished guest. Four Fish won the James Beard Award in 2011 and was the basis for a Time Magazine cover story.
The Farm to Fork event theme strongly aligns with Compass Group’s commitments to support local farms and source sustainable seafood. Currently, Compass spends $42m in local produce in support of American family farms each year. The company also participates in CEFS’s NC 10% Campaign by committing 10 percent of its food dollars to North Carolina. Eighty percent of the company’s contracted seafood is supplied from environmentally-responsible sources. The goal is to be at 100 percent by the end 2017.
“CEFS’s Farm to Fork picnic connects farmers, chefs, companies and individuals to their local community through food; there’s no better way to bring people together,” says Cheryl Queen, vice president communication & corporate affairs, Compass Group USA, and CEFS advisory board chair. “The future of healthy food systems depends on us re-establishing a strong connection to local agriculture and aquaculture, including a deep respect for our farmers, harvesters and fishermen.”
“The Farm to Fork weekend is an important piece of education for the public. With the average age of a farmer at 58, these programs – like the ones CEFS and the Breeze Farm conduct – shine a light on the importance of beginning farmer training,” says Dr. Nancy Creamer, CEFS director, North Carolina State University. “Partners like Compass Group are prioritizing purchases from local farmers and fishermen in volumes that make a significant difference. This purchasing power and focus on supporting sustainable agriculture is driving the food systems change that consumers are asking for.”
The 2015 Farm to Fork Weekend drew in more than 1,000 visitors from throughout the region. Farm to Fork fundraising efforts operate under the auspices of the NC Agricultural Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at http://farmtoforknc.com/
About The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS)
CEFS 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 NC State, NC A&T State University, and the NC Department of Agriculture. http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/
About Compass Group North America
Based in Charlotte NC, Compass Group North America is the leading foodservice management and support services company with $13.6 billion (£8.2 billion) in revenues in 2014. Compass Group USA was recently named one of America’s 500 Best Employers by Forbes. With over 500,000 associates worldwide, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of £17.1 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014.