NCGT Sponsors Nation’s First Local Foods-Focused Business School Supply Chain Fellowships

October 2013 – The NC Growing Together (NCGT) project and NC State’s Poole College of Management Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (SCRC) have partnered to ncsuoffer the country’s first local foods-focused business school supply chain fellowships. A CEFS initiative, the NC Growing Together project aims to bring more locally-produced meat, dairy, seafood, and produce into the state’s mainstream retail and food service supply chains. The Supply Chain Resource Cooperative is a unique, industry-university partnership dedicated to advancing the supply chain industry and the professionalism of its practitioners.

The fellows will provide supply chain research and expertise to develop successful, economically viable connections between local food producers and mainstream retail and institutional food buyers. Fellows will analyze the sourcing practices of NCGT project partners as well as research novel practices used by other retail and food service companies across the country.

Said Dr. Robert Handfield, Co-Director of the SCRC, “this is an exciting opportunity for the two colleges

[Agriculture and Management] to collaborate on a project that brings the two fields together in a unique fashion. We are applying supply chain tools and methodologies to the field of local agriculture, and both parties are learning from one another in the process. The fellows are working on mapping end-to-end supply chains to identify gaps in processing, distribution, and customer service that can be addressed through innovative solutions.”

2013 Supply Chain Fellows. Sebastian is sixth from right in blue striped shirt, and Jessica is fourth from right in dark blue shirt.

2013 Supply Chain Fellows. Sebastian is sixth from right in blue striped shirt, and Jessica is fourth from right in dark blue shirt.

This year’s fellowships were awarded to Sebastian Naskaris, a first-year MBA student who previously spent two years with FoodCorps North Carolina, and Jessica Newsome, a second-year MBA student who previously had an internship at Lowes Home Improvement headquarters in Mooresville, NC.

Said Sebastian, “Through my two years of civil service with FoodCorps in NC, I began to believe that sustaining sustainable agriculture and making its produce accessible to all requires a change in the business of food. Learning supply chain management seemed like my best next step to support my mission. Working with CEFS’ new NC Growing Together project, which seeks to scale up local food supply chains, while learning from Dr. Handfield, the SCRC, and an highly innovative group of NC farmers and sustainable agribusinesses, was an opportunity I could not pass up”.

Added Jessica, “I was drawn to the CEFS/SCRC fellowship because it will give me the chance to engage in economic development in my home state. This particular fellowship is unique in that my research into seafood and dairy supply chains will hopefully lead to new and more profitable marketing channels for NC fishermen and small and mid-size farmers”.

The fellowship awards provide tuition support, financial stipends and benefits. Two more fellowships will be awarded over the duration of the NCGT project.