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Academic & Educational Programs

CEFS offers many formal educational opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students, K-12 classes, and the greater community. If you are an educator and would like to partner on an educational event, please contact us at

The cornerstones of CEFS educational opportunities are the summer internship program, the season-long apprenticeship program, and a partnership with the Agroecology Minor Program at NC State University.

Photo of interns working on the farm


The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) offers an eight-week sustainable agriculture internship each summer. Student interns come from all over the country and world to work with faculty members on focused research projects at CEFS' 2,000-acre research farm in Goldsboro, N.C. The internship provides hands-on and classroom learning opportunities.

Through the internship, students gain a better understanding of the scientific process, including data collection and analysis as they relate to sustainable agriculture systems. Interns benefit from professional development and collaborative learning interactions with farmers, extension agents, researchers, non-governmental organizations and the community. Students also learn to evaluate and critique sustainable agriculture systems from a broad systems perspective, and appreciate the challenges, constraints and benefits of sustainable agriculture. For more information, please visit the Internships page.

Link to Agroecology Minor at NC State

Agroecology Programs
at NC State University

NC State offers an Agroecology Minor within its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in the Crop Science Department, as well as an undergraduate Agroecology Concentration.

The interdisciplinary programs are designed to provide students from diverse educational backgrounds with a fundamental understanding of agricultural systems from an ecological, economic and sociological perspective. Faculty specialties include Agricultural and Resource Economics, Animal Science, Botany, Crop Science, Entomology, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, Sociology and Soil Science. The Agroecology programs will prepare students to develop workable solutions to the challenge of sustainable food production.

Apprentices working on the farm


Apprentices participate fully in the production, education, and research/demonstration activities of CEFS' Small Farm Unit (SFU), a 30-acre unit of the 2,000-acre research farm. Apprentices come to learn the basics of running a small farm in a practical hands-on manner by working with the farm manager, extension personnel and university researchers at the SFU on a daily basis.

Apprentices assist with the daily tasks associated with a small farm, help with educational outreach and assist research scientists in a variety of work assignments. The apprenticeship is designed around an entire growing season, March to October. CEFS provides housing and a modest stipend, as well as free admission to workshops. For more information, please visit the Apprenticeships page.

Discover Ag

In the spring of 2006, NC A&T State University launched the Discover Ag program at the CEFS research farm. One-third of all Wayne County third graders from fifteen classes at six elementary schools participated. Four of the six Wayne County FFA Chapters sent support staff to assist with the program.

The overall goals of the Discover Ag program are to strengthen students’ understanding of sustainable agriculture, to integrate with and reinforce the NC Standard Course of Study goals and objectives, and to improve learning as reflected by the North Carolina standardized science testing for third and fifth grades. Initial research using pre- and post-testing indicated an increase in student performance as a result of the program. For more information and a registration form, download the Discover Ag brochure.