Community Food Systems Mentor Profile: Nancy Creamer

The Community Food Systems Mentorship Program offers Network members the opportunity to work directly with a food systems expert to support their growth, learn best practices, and connect with seasoned food movement leaders. 

Nancy Creamer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield/WK Kellogg Distinguished Professor Emerita, NC State University and former CEFS Director, NC State University.

About Nancy: 
I have recently retired from NC State University where I served as the Director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems for over 20 years, and was also a Professor in the Horticultural Science Department focused on integrating cover crops into vegetable production systems. As Director, I provided leadership for a statewide North Carolina initiative engaging many diverse sectors and partners resulting in a statewide action plan: “From Farm to Fork, a Guide to Building North Carolina’s Sustainable Local Food Economy”, and then supported the development of many of the strategic initiatives identified in the report including agricultural research, extension programming, food system and supply chain initiatives, and food policy council development locally and statewide. I also led the development of several internship and apprentice programs, youth programming, and a strong focus on racial equity through our Committee on Racial Equity.   

In addition to the CEFS work, I was also appointed in 2014 as a founding Board member for the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research which was allocated $200 million in the 2014 Farm Bill (and an additional $185 million in the 2018 farm bill) to support agricultural research through public-private and NGO partnerships.  I currently serve on the executive committee of FFAR and Chair of the Development Committee.    

Areas of Expertise

  • Collaborative Grant writing and building interdisciplinary teams 
  • Negotiating the politics at educational institutions and other state agencies 
  • Building inclusive networks  
  • Working with Cooperative Extension  
  • Supporting the next generation of food systems leaders 
  • Statewide Action Planning and Food Policy Council Development  
  • Supporting organizational shifts to incorporate a racial equity lens in traditional agriculture environments 
  • Board Development and mentorship 

Seeking to Mentor

I am interested in mentoring food systems leaders who are either embedded in educational institutions or state agencies who keep hitting roadblocks for their work, or those university or community members who want to engage and develop mutually beneficial University-Community partnerships.