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Our Mission: Community and Rural Development at NC State Extension leverages, connects, and strengthens the research and education in Extension Programs to transform communities and promote economic prosperity.
Current Capacity Staffing and Programming: Five full-time staff, led by Dr. Susan Jakes, Associate State Program Leader in partnership with County Directors and District Directors across the state. CRD provides services statewide in the following areas:
- Community and Economic Development
- Latino Programming
- Local Food System Development
- NC AgVentures Farmer Grant Program
- Urban Programs
CRD Vision: CRD transforms communities and promotes Economically and Socially Vibrant Communities by leveraging and connecting the capacity of NC State Extension to build engaged leadership, inclusive partnerships, and innovative solutions.
Cultivate NC focuses on community systems change by offering planning services, direct technical assistance on development projects, technical training’s for agents, engagement in interdepartmental and multi-state collaborations, and evaluations of Extension partner programs.
Latino Programs provide leadership for Extension’s initiatives to build organizational capacity to engage effectively with Latino and other diverse audiences. This program partners with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and/or University colleagues to contribute, co-submit and/or co-PI awarded grant and gift funds to support Latino and new audiences programming.
CRD & Leadership and Engagement of Diverse Audiences
Leadership and engagement of diverse audiences is a fundamental value of the CRD’s mission. When community members lead their own process to transform and promote community and economic prosperity, the work is owned by the community, and new leadership is developed. CRD provides resources and opportunities to build any needed capacity to do this effectively.
Leadership is a broad talent in community members that comes in different shapes and forms and works to achieve different objectives, goals, and outcomes. Community members may need the opportunity to discover and/or strengthen it. CRD leadership development can be both a catalyst and a supporter of this process.
In the context of CRD, leadership development, and engagement of diverse audiences go hand-in-hand. Transforming communities to build on existing strengths, address needs and promote prosperity must be built by and for all community members, which include groups of different ages, backgrounds, races, ethnicity, religions, sexual orientations and identities, disabilities, long-term health conditions, and education levels. CRD provides an inclusive platform for outreach and engagement of diverse audiences.
NC AgVentures Grant Program for Farmers
NC AgVentures is an Extension grant program sponsored by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC). The overall goal is to strengthen the rural economy, particularly in places negatively impacted by the downturn in the tobacco industry. The program offers two grant options; an individual farm grant or a community grant. Both grant options are available in the following counties: Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Cabarrus, Caswell, Catawba, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Forsyth,, Gaston, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Iredell, Johnson, Lincoln, Martin, Mecklenburg, Nash, Northhampton, Orange, Person, Pitt, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Sampson, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Union, Vance, Wake, Wayne, Wilson, Wilkes, Warren, Yadkin
Local Food Programs
The Local Food Program at NC State Extension provides training and support for County Local Food Coordinators and other Extension Agents engaged in local food work. The Program Manager makes resources available on its portal, provides training on local food systems and resources created by the Local Food Program Team, and creates opportunities for cross county and cross program communication.
Urban Programs is a developing area of CRD work. Through urban extension efforts, we are working to fulfill NC State Extension’s vision to be a dynamic and relevant organization, responding to changes in the social, political, and economic environments of our state. Highlighted programs include work on getting the vote out for Durham County youth, nutrition and cooking education in Mecklenburg and New Hanover Counties, local water resource protection in Guilford County, community garden development in Forsyth County, and Summer Food Services for youth in Wake County.
2018 Impact Sheets for each of these programs are found below.