Farmers, Environmentalists & Military Unite to Bring Foods to Troops

Home / NCEast Alliance / Farmers, Environmentalists & Military Unite to Bring Foods to Troops

The Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) annual conference was recently held at USMC Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. Sixty individuals representing a variety of military, agriculture, forestry, conservation and environmental interests attended the event. In addition to attendees from Southeast states (AL, GA, FL, MS, NC & SC), representatives from as far away as California and Arizona participated to help strengthen the concepts and principles of SERPPAS through an East-West linkage.

The Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) annual conference was recently held at USMC Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC.  Sixty individuals representing a variety of military, agriculture, forestry, conservation and environmental interests attended the event. In addition to attendees from Southeast states (AL, GA, FL, MS, NC & SC), representatives from as far away as California and Arizona participated to help strengthen the concepts and principles of SERPPAS through an East-West linkage.

The event showcased the close partnership between the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the military to work toward the common goal of preserving working lands. A luncheon, dinner and reception were featured which made use of locally grown products.

The SERPASS attendees were served lunch at the Wallace Creek Mess Hall where the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence (DLA) and Sodexo highlighted the local foods being served to all the Marines.  More than one hundred people attended the dinner which featured all North Carolina products. Forty of the guests represented state agencies, local governments, non-governmental partners and community leaders in support of SERPPAS initiatives. 

The 2 day event also presented the cutting edge “market based conservation” initiatives being undertaken in North Carolina though a Marine Corps Installations (MCI) EAST funded program known as Sentinel Landscapes. “Food & Fuel 4 the Forces” (FF4F) is the pilot program within Sentinel Landscapes, managed under North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s contract with NC State University by George Miller, and undertaken to maximize the economic interaction between the military and agribusiness. 

FF4F is a regional partnership between the agricultural community, the military, local governments, economic developers and environmental interests in order to add value to the agricultural product and better integrate the military market for local food.  

“The two pronged approach seeks to fully integrate local food products with the military food consumption while working to support the growth of a renewable fuels industry to add crop opportunities and additional markets for the farmers and foresters over whose land the military trains,” remarked George Miller, Program Manager, Food & Fuel 4 the Forces.   

“We envision a future where North Carolina farmers will feed and fuel the North Carolina service-people,” said Miller.

There is a synergy that exists between the agricultural community and the military in eastern North Carolina in terms of their mutual need to preserve working lands.  Buying local generates revenue for farmers and provides the added benefit of reducing the threat of encroachment around military training areas.  

FF4F worked closely with the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, DLA, Sodexo, Sysco and Foster-Caviness to organize the food events,” said Miller. Last year, 2012, military food purchases from eastern North Carolina farmers increased by $19 million over the prior year.

For more information about “Food 4 the Forces,” click here.