Every Every year, Food Tank highlights organizations that contribute to creating a more sustainable global food system by protecting biodiversity, producing valuable agricultural research, fighting hunger, and much more.
This year, Food Tank is featuring 116 organizations you may not have heard about, but should look out for over the new year. These organizations may not be well-known, but are deserving of the spotlight because of their vital contributions to creating a better food system.Food Tank is proud to bring attention to organizations dedicated to alleviating childhood poverty, empowering women to become financially independent through food and farming, preventing postharvest losses and food waste, cultivating the next generation of agricultural leaders, implementing true cost accounting in the food system, putting farmers’ in the driver’s seat of research and development, and innovating the way food is grown in cities. To learn about additional groups making a difference, check out Food Tank’s partner organizations.
4-H—4-H is a youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities in the United States. Based in Chevy Chase, MD, 4-H encourages youth to pursue their own projects, with help from volunteers and mentors. The organization also provides programs in several categories: science programs which encourage youth to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); healthy living programs; and programs that encourage young people to be well-informed and engaged citizens of their communities.
African Biodiversity Network (ABN)—ABN was founded in 1996 in Kenya as a regional network of individuals and organizations in 12 African countries: Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. ABN focuses on indigenous knowledge, protecting biodiversity, and improving agricultural policies and legislation.
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)—AWARD works to strengthen the research and leadership skills of African women working in agricultural research and development. Launched in 2008, AWARD helps promising women contribute more effectively to food security in sub-Saharan Africa.
A Growing Culture—A Growing Culture uses information exchange, outreach, and advocacy to connect farmers around the world to the tools they need for ecologically friendly practices. The organization offers an online platform for knowledge sharing, while promoting site-specific and collaborative development; farmer-led documentation; and farmer-led innovation on the ground.
Agenda Gotsch—Swiss farmer and researcher, Ernst Götsch, migrated to Brazil in the early 80’s and has settled on a farm in the cocoa zone of southern Bahia. Götsch developed a set of principles and techniques that enable integrating food producing dynamics with natural regeneration of forests called Sintropic Agriculture. Agenda Gotsch produces films, text, and courses on Sintropic Agriculture.
Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO)—AERO is a Montana-based grassroots, nonprofit organization promoting resource conservation and local economic vitality. AERO nurtures individual and community self-reliance through programs that support sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and environmental quality.
Asian Farmers Association For Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)—AFA aims to be an influential voice of small-scale farmers in Asia. The organization lobbies governments in Asia and works as an advocacy group for farmers’ rights and development, agrarian reform, and mainstreaming sustainable agriculture in regional and national policies and programs.
Association of Rural Workers (ATC)—ATC is the lead La Via Campesina member organization in Nicaragua. The ATC represents the interests of more than 50,000 campesino and landless rural workers families, organized in cooperatives, small landholding associations, and unions. The ATC operates a Central American Training Center in Nicaragua and trains community leaders from across Central America.
Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC)—AIFSC is a nonprofit organization that works to promote agricultural innovation and attract investment to agricultural development projects. Aiming to build capacity for farming initiatives worldwide, AIFSC focuses on achieving specific goals like improving nutrition, connecting researchers with industry, and enhancing supply chain systems to allow farmers to bring their products to market.
Backyard Growers—Backyard Growers is a grassroots organization in Gloucester, MA which is working to reshape the relationship of communities with their food. They provide resources and support to establish vegetable gardens at homes, housing communities, organizations, and schools.
Barn2Door—Barn2Door is an online marketplace for foods grown sustainably by farmers around the United States. Barn2Door connects producers with consumers by providing an online storefront for marketing, selling, and buying local, sustainable and specialty foods.
Brooklyn Food Coalition (BFC)—BFC is a grassroots organization, which unites and increases the capacity of organizations and community-based groups in Brooklyn who are committed to ending inequity and racism in the food system.
California Food and Justice Coalition (CFJC)—CFJC promotes the basic human right to healthy food while advancing economic, social, agricultural, and environmental justice priorities. CFJC collaborates with community-based efforts to create a sustainable food supply for Californians through advocacy, organizing, and education. The Coalition focuses on increasing access to land and resources for rebuilding local food systems.
California Institute for Rural Studies—California Institute for Rural Studies wants to increase social justice in rural California for all residents by building sustainable communities based on a healthy agriculture primarily for marginalized populations. The organization engages in scientific research in topics such as food systems, rural health, and farm labor, with the intention of mobilizing policy change. CIRS aims to turn this research into action in order to strengthen social justice and increase the sustainability of California’s rural communities.
Camino Verde—Camino Verde is a U.S.-based nonprofit with locations in Concord, MA and Puerto Maldonado, Peru. Camino Verde’s mission is to plant trees and encourage future planting through educational programs and public awareness. The initiative’s Living Seed Bank acts as a botanical garden with over 250 tree species, protects endangered varieties, and provides an arena for further research into multi-species agroforestry systems.
The Carrot Project—The Carrot Project gives access to financing and support for small farms and food businesses while helping to create a sustainable food economy. Based in Massachusetts, they work with local family farms that take part in sustainable growing methods, as well as retailers that sell locally grown products. They work with approximately 70 farms and businesses every year in the Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and the Greater Berkshires areas.
Center for a Livable Future (CLF)—CLF is a research center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health dedicated to improving human health and ensuring food, water, and shelter for all. The program conducts regional food systems research, examines antibiotic use in animal agriculture, explores the contributions of agriculture to climate change, and offers community food programming in Baltimore, Maryland. Through a systems focus on diet, food production, and human health, CLF works to investigate and promote policies that will protect both human health and the global environment.
Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems—The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems is an education and research program at the University of California Santa Cruz that aims to create a socially responsible and non-exploitative food system. The Center performs research in areas such as food security and social and economic justice in agriculture, and their education efforts span formal university courses to the Life Lab’s Garden Classroom for elementary school children.
Ceres Community Project—Ceres Community Project energizes communities by linking what we eat and how we care for one another with the health of people and the environment. Youth grow organic food and prepare organic meals that are delivered for free to low-income families struggling with a serious health challenge.
City Schoolyard Garden (CSG)—CSG works with youth in Charlottesville, VA to cultivate environmental stewardship ethics and healthy eating habits. CSG uses school garden spaces and farm-to-cafeteria education to enhance academic learning and inspire community engagement.
ChopChopKids—ChopChopKids is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire, engage, and educate kids to cook real food with their families. A key belief of the organization is that cooking and eating together as a family is a vital step in resolving the obesity and hunger epidemics.
Colorado Farm to School Task Force—Colorado Farm to School supports the development of regional farm-to-school networks across the state. The organization breaks down barriers between local producers and school cafeterias by engaging in policy advocacy, supporting local foods infrastructure and increasing awareness about Colorado food systems.
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF)—CIWF campaigns internationally against animal cruelty in farming practices. Part of the Save Our Antibiotics Alliance along with the Soil Association and Sustain in the United Kingdom, CIWF published the Case Study of a Health Crisis that details the health implications of the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.
Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network—This organization brings together agriculture practitioners from the United States and Cuba with the goal of exchanging research and information about sustainable food systems.
Cultivating Community—Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods by having farm stands and mobile markets. Based in Portland, ME, they help empower people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system by having youth programs and encouraging everyone to volunteer and participate on one of their many community gardens.
ECOVA MALI—Founded by former Peace Corps volunteers, Cynthia Hellmann and Gregory Flatt, ECOVA MALI works with Malian farmers to teach other farmers about sustainable agriculture methods. They also offer micro-financing and small-scale grants so that farmers can invest in the sustainability, both social and environmental, of their operations.
Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN)—ENN, an Oxford-based organization, enables nutrition networking and learning to build the evidence base for nutrition programming. The organization’s focus is communities in crisis, typically humanitarian emergencies, and where undernutrition is a significant chronic problem.
Fairtrade America—Fairtrade America is committed to changing the way trade has traditionally worked, which has disadvantaged the poorest producers. Through better prices, good working conditions, and fairer trade terms for marginalized producers in developing countries, they are continuously work to change the status quo and make trade fair.
Fair Trade USA—Fair Trade USA enables consumers to vote with their dollar. The organization provides farmers in developing nations the tools they need to thrive as international business people. Instead of creating dependency on aid, they use a market-based approach that gives farmers fair prices, workers safe conditions, and entire communities resources for fair, healthy, and sustainable lives.
Farm Forward—Farm Forward is a nonprofit advocacy and consulting group dedicated to transforming the way America farms and eats. Farm Forward’s projects focus on preventing animal abuse on factory farms and improving animal welfare.
Fight Hunger Foundation (FHF)—FHF conducts field action, educational programs, and research in three states across India—Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan—to prevent, detect, and treat malnutrition in a country where, according to UNICEF, approximately 47 percent of children are underweight.
Fondy Food Center—The Fondy Food Center brings farmers markets’ and fresh food to the greater Milwaukee, WI area. By coordinating various farmers markets’ and the Fondy Farm, the Center works towards its goal of creating an educated, healthy, and well-fed Milwaukee. Through the Fondy Food Project, the organization works to halt the declining number of local farmers via affordable, long term land leases; access to affordable farm amenities, such as greenhouses and irrigation; and collaboration with other local organizations to recruit young farmers.
Food Forward—Food Forward is the largest produce recovery-for-the-hungry nonprofit organization in the southwestern U.S. Food Forward uses an innovative and award-winning model to glean fresh fruits and vegetables from backyards, public spaces, farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Terminal.
FoodFight—Based in New York City, FoodFight uses schools as the platform to provide teachers, staff, parents, and students with the knowledge and tools they need to make healthier eating and buying decisions.
Food Integrity Campaign—The Food Integrity Campaign is a nonprofit program of the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. The Food Integrity Campaign focuses on protecting and empowering the community of whistleblowers, truth-tellers, and advocates who protect food’s integrity.
Food Literacy Center—The Center’s mission is to inspire kids to eat their vegetables. They teach low-income elementary children cooking and nutrition to improve their health, the community, and the environment.
Food Shift—Food Shift works collaboratively with communities, businesses and governments to develop sustainable solutions that reduce wasted food and hunger. Since the start of their organization, they have recovered 100,000 pounds of food from farms, grocery stores, events, and more. They believe that by reducing food waste, we can feed the hungry, create jobs, combat climate change, and cultivate more sustainable communities.
Freedom from Hunger—Freedom from Hunger helps low-income women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America achieve a sustainable self-help solution to end world hunger through a combination of microfinance, education, and health protection.
Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN)—GRAIN conducts independent research and analysis while collaborating with small farmers and social movements to support biodiverse community-controlled food systems. The majority of their work is centered in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where GRAIN highlights agricultural struggles, particularly focused on land grabs, food sovereignty, and biodiversity loss.
Global Justice Now—Global Justice Now is a social justice organization that mobilizes people to fight for change. Their food sovereignty campaign mobilizes people to stop big corporations that are dominating the small-scale farms that are feeding the world. Global Justice Now provides ways to take action against land grabbing and stand by small farmers to support food sovereignty.
Global Partnerships for Afghanistan (GPFA)—GFPA launched the Women Working Together collaborative initiative in 2005 in order to increase the quality of life of women in Afghanistan. GPFA focuses on programming that enhances female-run farms and orchards, teaching food preservation, greenhouse operation, and other practices.
GoodPlanet Foundation—The GoodPlanet Foundation seeks to educate the public about the importance of environmental protection. The organization utilizes the power of photographs, posters, websites, films, and other visual media to spread information on ocean and forest conservation. From Meatless Monday promotion to fighting desertification, the foundation focuses on individual solutions to global food and agriculture problems.
Groundswell International—Groundswell International works to strengthen communities by promoting agroecological farming; women’s equity and empowerment; local food systems; community health; organizational capacity strengthening; and climate change resilience. Based in Washington, D.C., the organization is a global partnership of local civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens from multidisciplinary and diverse backgrounds.
Grow Dat Youth Farm—Grow Dat Youth Farm nurtures a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. They work collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents and to inspire youth and adults to create personal, social, and environmental change in their own communities.
Hands for Hunger—Hands for Hunger is working to improve food security in the Bahamas while simultaneously reducing food waste. By mobilizing individuals and community organizations, Hands for Hunger gathers unused food from grocery stores, hotels, and other businesses, which is then distributed to low-income residents, including victims of abuse and psychiatric patients.
Healthy Schools Campaign—Based in Chicago, IL, Healthy Schools Campaign, focuses on supporting healthy school food, and maintains the belief that health and wellness should be incorporated into every aspect of the school experience. In addition, farm-to-school programs play an important role in our ongoing school food policy initiatives, as well as food education, school garden development, and parent engagement.
Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)—HAFA is growing the capacity and the wealth of farming families in Minneapolis-St. Paul to build a sustainable and fair food economy for all. Through cooperative farming, education and advocacy, they are building paths to wealth creation, not just income generation.
icipe—African Insect Science for Food and Health—icipe has a mission to promote food security and health in the tropics through better management and understanding of insects. The organization strives to include indigenous experts in its multidisciplinary research teams, which work to produce viable solutions for citizens of tropical areas. icipe also works to mobilize and build the capacity of local tropical communities and institutions so that they may solve their own problems on their terms.
Ideias na Mesa—In English “Ideas on the table,” Ideias na Mesa is a virtual network with the mission to share concepts and practices with communities to cultivate better food and nutrition in Brazil. The network is open to anyone wishing to share knowledge and experiences; post news and events; read articles and publications; and watch videos related to the country’s food and nutrition. Ideias na Mesa also offers discussion forums, a quarterly magazine, and distance learning courses.
International Potato Center—The International Potato Center, based in Peru, works to preserve and enhance knowledge and production of tuber farming in the developing world. Through research and engagement programs, the organization aims to improve the lives of impoverished people by promoting root crop production.
Iskashitaa Refugee Network (IRN)—IRN ensures that refugees are well-nourished and successfully adapted to their new homes. In addition, IRN reduces the immense food waste in the Tucson, AZ area with the help of hundreds of community and refugee volunteers. IRN fulfills this objective through creative, food-based programming that includes gleaning over 50 tons of produce annually, redistributing most of it to refugees and other food insecure families, and producing food products with the gleaned edibles that are resold at farmers’ markets.
International Cocoa Farmers Organization (ICCFO)—ICCFO represents and protects the interests of 600,000 cocoa farmers and workers worldwide. The goal of ICCFO is to ensure that cocoa is produced sustainably, and that it is priced fairly. ICCFO aims to empower women and children, to prevent child labor in farms, and to defend the environment.
International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR)—ISOFAR supports research for the promotion of organic agriculture by facilitating global cooperation, methodological development, education, and knowledge exchange. ISOFAR supports individual researchers through membership services, publications, and events, and works to integrate stakeholders in the research process.
Japan Offspring Fund (JOF)—JOF activities include testing the safety of food and campaigning about safety issues. The organization also represents and empowers consumers at international meetings – such as FAO and OECD – which is then reported in a monthly magazine. Major campaign areas include: food additives, postharvest pesticides, international food standards, genetically manipulated organisms, and antibiotic resistance.
Just Harvest—Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Just Harvest educates, empowers, and mobilizes people to eliminate hunger, poverty, and economic injustice in communities by influencing public policy, engaging in advocacy, and connecting people to public benefits.
Kansas City Food Circle (KCFC)—KCFC works to cultivate a sustainable food system in the Kansas City, MO region by promoting and advocating for sustainable farmers. KFFC connects eaters with local, organic, free-range food and educates the community on the importance of a healthy food system.
Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW)—KAW is a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane, and other advocacy groups working to eliminate the inappropriate use of antibiotics in food animal production. The KAW campaign publishes resources for consumers and works to spread the word on antimicrobial resistance.
Koanga Institute—Koanga is home to New Zealand’s largest heritage organic seed collection. The Institute provides a home for the Permaculture Research Institute of Wairoa, New Zealand and is internationally known for producing competent and knowledgeable students and teachers. Workshops are geared toward individuals who are interested in living sustainably and empowering change in their communities.
Korean Women Peasants Association (KWPA)—KWPA empowers women peasants in South Korea and promotes food sovereignty and the survival of small scale farmers. They harness women peasants’ indigenous knowledge of the land, organize native seed banks, and oppose corporate control of the food system.
L.A. Kitchen—L.A. Kitchen maximizes the value of cosmetically imperfect fruits and produce to reveal the power of food. Donated products fuel L.A. Kitchen’s culinary-arts, job training for young people exiting foster care, as well as men and women returning from incarceration. Working alongside volunteers, they produce free, healthy meals for nonprofit partners..
La Cocina—La Cocina helps low-income food entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay area to formalize and grow food businesses. La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities.
Latin American and Caribbean Center for Rural Women (Enlac)—Enlac serves as an organizing voice for marginalized, rural women. Enlac calls for policies that give Latin American and Caribbean women equal access to land rights, raise awareness about violence against female agriculture workers, boost access to clean water, and conserve native seeds.
Liberty Prairie Foundation—The Liberty Prairie Foundation provides leadership and financial support for sustainable local food system development, social entrepreneurship, conservation, and environmental education. The Foundation supports educational programming and an incubator program that prepares new farmers to meet the demand for locally-grown organic food.
Local First Arizona Foundation—Local First Arizona Foundation help individuals and families looking to eat healthier and support local communities. They partner with higher education, work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve systems supporting healthy and sustainable foods in Arizona, as well as help to provide systematic support for Arizona’s small-scale food producers.
Locally Delicious, Inc.—Locally delicious is a Northern California nonprofit that engages in educational activities around the benefits of eating locally grown food by creating projects that support the accessibility of local food to the community. They have written two books, Locally Delicious and LunchBox Envy. All proceeds from book sales go back into the community to support their mission.
Maine Farmland Trust—Structured as a land trust and often working in partnership with local and regional land trusts, Maine Farmland Trust is Maine’s leading force in protecting farmland. Through FarmLink and their Buy/Protect/Sell program, they place next-generation farmers on land and help make farmland more affordable for them.
Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society—The Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society is dedicated to promoting healthy ecosystems and strong communities. Providing farmers with information they need to make their operations successful, they support profitable farms and emerging technologies.
Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice (MRFCJ)—Founded by Ireland’s first female president, this organization builds strategic partnerships in security and climate justice by promoting low-emissions agricultural practices and the empowerment of marginalized farmers for nutritional sovereignty. The organization has a strong focus on the role of women as changemakers, and has long supported a people-centered vision of change throughout the world.
Mazingira Institute—Mazingira Institute is a Nairobi-based nonprofit organization with three main initiatives: Settlements Interventions Network Africa (SINI), which promotes the dissemination of experiences and knowledge among people interested in improving the quality of life of people living in African villages, towns, and cities; Operation Firimbi, which serves as a whistleblower for land grabbing and promoter of community well-being; and the Nairobi and Environs Food Security, Agriculture, and Livestock Forum (NEFSALF).
Migrant Justice—Migrant Justice works to amplify the voice, capacity, and power of the farmworker community in the U.S. and engage community partners to organize for justice and human rights. Based in Vermont, the organization boasts organizing victories in the dairy industry and immigration arena, and has collected more than US$15,000 in unpaid back wages for workers.
Millennium Institute (MI)—MI is an independent nonprofit with the goal of promoting systems literacy and dynamic modeling tools in order to achieve sustainable development globally. MI works to achieve awareness through public education and strategic partnerships centered around interdependence and sustainability.
More and Better—More and Better is a network that facilitates collaboration among organizations working to end hunger and poverty in developing nations. More and Better is composed of NGOs, CSOs, national campaigns, and social movements, all working to eliminate hunger and poverty by lobbying for policies that support agriculture, food, and rural improvement in developing countries.
Multinational Exchange For Sustainable Agriculture (MESA)—MESA facilitates cross-cultural exchange of agricultural ideas by connecting farmers, activists and advocates from around the world. MESA provides stewardship training programs for farmers in the Unites States and helps to cultivate new farms and food justice programs around the world.
Namati—Namati is building a grassroots campaign of legal advocates that are providing support for people living outside the protection of the law. Through quality legal aid, research, advocacy, and a global network Namati is ensuring that people maintain their rights. In Uganda, Mozambique, and Liberia, Namati is helping 23,400 people document their land and protect their land rights.
National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN)—The NPGN is a collaborative group of gardeners and organizations in the United States dedicated to creating gardens and spaces that benefit pollinators. Through their Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, NPGN is inspiring individuals, companies, schools and organizations to plant pollinator-friendly gardens for insect health and to provide education about the food-production benefits of pollinating species.
Native Seeds/SEARCH—Based in Tucson, AZ, Native Seeds/SEARCH distributes and documents agricultural seeds and their wild relatives, specifically those species critical to the culture of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Native Seeds/SEARCH is also a major regional seed bank and a leader in the heirloom seed movement.
New Field Foundation—The New Field Foundation provides funding and support for rural women’s organizations in West Africa that create change, especially in relation to food production and security. Based in San Rafael, CA, the New Field Foundation also helps coordinate the AgroEcology Fund, which supports local farming communities that use sustainable food production methods.
New York Young Farmers Coalition (NYYFC)—NYYFC represents, mobilizes, and engages young farmers to ensure their success. They envision a country where young people who are willing to work, get trained and take a little risk can support themselves and their families. They support: independent family farms, sustainable farming practices, affordable land for farmers, fair labor practices, farmer-to farmer training, farmers of every gender, race and sexual orientation, and cooperation and friendship between all farmers.
North Coast Heritage Grain Alliance (NHCGA)—The NHCGA was formed to educate and support a sustainable local grain economy in Northern California. The NHCGA envisions a community collaboration to ensure a robust grain economy through best practices to grow and use heritage grains, which reflect diverse culinary lineages.
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)—NOFA is a network of over 5,000 farmers, policymakers, educators and food lovers that aims to support organic food, sustainable agriculture, and a cleaner environment. They develop and promote the distribution of locally grown, nutritious food throughout the northeastern U.S. with chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA)—NAMA is a fishermen-led organization in Gloucester, MA working at the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, and environmental justice. NAMA is working to build a movement toward a healthy ocean, a just seafood system, and community-based fisheries that are diverse, fair, and equitable for all.
OzHarvest—This organization collects perishable food waste from commercial retailers and redistributes it to 600 charities in Australian cities. In addition to the work of diverting food waste from landfills and providing nutritious choices to people in need, OzHarvest also provides nutrition education classes across Australia.
Permaculture in Ukraine—Permaculture in Ukraine aims to unify the efforts of those who have successfully applied permaculture techniques in their households and to give them an opportunity to share experiences and support others. Their mission is to spread knowledge and promote the idea of permaculture in society.
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria—This initiative is working with more than 400 farmers in the Oaxaca region of Mexico to grow and market amaranth as a healthier alternative to corn and wheat, in an effort to fight obesity.
Popular Peasant Movement (MCP)—MCP is a grassroots organization in Brazil that engages peasant families through organizing and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices that are environmentally friendly and economically viable. MCP has been a leading voice in Goiás against the expansion of large-scale industrial plantations.
Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI)—PFI strengthens farms and communities by using farmer-led investigation and information sharing within a diverse group of Iowan and central United States farmers. The organization hosts “farminars,” workshops, field days, and an annual conference with the goal of connecting farmers. PFI also hosts a Cooperators’ Meeting wherein farmers share knowledge; participants share results from recent research and demonstration projects; and farmers’ needs and wants are addressed.
Project DISC—Project DISC is a program focused on working with rural Ugandan children to strengthen their capacity to autonomously produce healthy and safe food. The program takes a holistic approach, going beyond just growing crops to addressing nutrition as well. Students in the program also learn how to cook and process food.
Project GROWS—Project GROWS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching youth in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia about nutrition and growing healthy food. By producing food and providing educational programing, Project GROWS improves community access to nutritious food and cultivates the next generation of young, healthy farmers.
Regenerative Kitchen Garden & Food Forest—Located in Anjuna, India, this project focuses on ecosystem regeneration of land that for 20 years had vegetation systematically burnt. The regenerative mission consisted of diversifying the crops by planting five coconut trees, neem trees, and legumes.
Roots of Change—Roots of Change works to develop and support a network of leaders and institutions in California that are interested in establishing a sustainable food system by 2030. The network includes food producers, businesses, nonprofits, communities, government agencies, and foundations that are changing the way people think about food.
Roots Memphis—Roots Memphis is an urban farm in Whitehaven, TN committed to the three pillars of sustainability—people, planet, and profit. The farm, which is free of pesticides and chemicals, practices ethical food, farmer cooperation, fair business values, and sustainable growing practices. The farm also runs Roots Memphis Farm Academy, which educates new sustainable farmers.
Sakhrah Women’s Society Cooperative—Sponsored by New Global Citizens, Sakhrah creates small, women-led businesses in Jordan. The cooperative runs several projects, including farming, drying vegetables, cleaning and packaging crops, and a dairy operation. The members of the cooperative equally divide the revenue from the items produced, which can provide a safety net for women whose projects may have been less successful.
Satisfeito—Satisfeito is a global network of restaurants and nonprofit organizations working together to combat food waste and child hunger. Consumers eating at participating Satisfeito restaurants can choose the moderately-sized ‘Satisfeito’ portion. The restaurant then donates the resulting savings to organizations that fight child hunger.
Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)—In India, SEWA helps organize poor and self-employed women workers. SEWA works with women to become recognized as fully employed in order to receive benefits such as work security, income security, health care, and child care.
Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) Fish to Schools—Supported by the SCS, the Sitka Fish to Schools initiative brings locally caught seafood to Sitka school cafeterias. Based in Sitka, Alaska, the SCS has developed a ‘Guide to Serving Fish in School Cafeterias’ and supports educational programming in schools about fishing economy and culture.
Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON)—SWOFON is a coalition of women farmers across Nigeria working together to promote women-friendly agriculture policies and increasing women’s access to land.
Songhai Centre—The Songhai Centre is a sustainable development organization that, among other projects, teaches environmentally conscious farming practices in rural areas in Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their agricultural education is based on a policy of production totale zéro déchet (zero waste total production).
Songtaab-Yalgré Association (SYA)—SYA brings together women from Burkina Faso to produce shea nuts, using the collective to simultaneously improve their literacy and their working conditions. As a locally-sourced crop, shea nuts were chosen for their potential to allow the women harvesting them to achieve a higher level of economic self-sufficiency, and empower them to become independent in their society.
Sustain Ontario—Sustain Ontario works throughout Ontario province to promote and support healthy food and farming. Sustain Ontario organizes working groups and advocates for better policy in the areas of edible education, food policy and sustainable communities.
The Coffee Trust—The Coffee Trust works with growers in Guatemala and Honduras to develop solutions to poverty in coffee-producing communities. The Trust supports community-controlled projects that promote education, healthcare and sustainable food economies.
The Bionutrient Food Association (BFA)—The BFA advocates for nutrient-dense crop production in the United States. The Association helps growers and consumers learn about and measure the nutrient availability of soils and foods. They also advocates to retailers and wholesalers for the preferential placement and promotion of bionutrient food in markets.
The Center for Studies and Development of Cambodian Agriculture (CEDAC)—In partnership with Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), CEDAC has worked to promote the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which has been shown to increase yields and improve soil fertility while reducing the use of chemicals and maintaining local ownership of seeds. CEDAC supports several other agricultural innovations and techniques including Ecological Chicken Raising (ECR), pig raising, home gardening, aquaculture, composting, and multi-purpose farming.
The Ecology Center—The Ecology Center in Berkeley, CA has focused on urban sustainability for the past 43 years. Through education, advocacy, and actual on-the-ground infrastructure projects, the Ecology Center works on issues including food, farming, climate change, sustainable living, and waste.
The Food Project—Since 1991, The Food Project has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. Each year, they work with 120 teenagers and thousands of volunteers to farm on 70 acres in eastern Massachusetts. They focus on identifying and transforming a new generation of leaders by placing teens in increasingly responsible roles, with deeply meaningful work.
The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD)—Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ISD is a civil society organization focusing on the relationship between cultural diversity and biodiversity, or bio-cultural diversity. The organization cultivates an appreciation for indigenous farming practices among youth, and publishes literature related to biodiversity, natural resources, and indigenous knowledge. Two main operational foci include a sustainable community development program and a youth group capacity development program.
The Land Matrix Project—The Land Matrix Project is a land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in land investments. The Project keeps track of official and unofficial land contracts and the different stages of negotiation: intended, concluded, and failed. With more transparent information, The Land Matrix Project hopes to make land development more open with greater community involvement.
The Livestock Conservancy—The Livestock Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect nearly 200 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included are asses, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.
The Solidarity Center—Based in Washington, D.C., The Solidarity Center works with labor centers and human rights groups in more than 60 countries to provide training and union assistance, connect migrant workers, and boost advocacy to prevent child labor and human trafficking.
TRY Oyster Cooperative—This grassroots initiative in Gambia is working to support the livelihoods of oyster harvesters and their families with microfinance, skill building, and financial literacy education.
Urban Agriculture Basel (UAB)—UAB is a nonprofit that encourages the production of foods, herbs, flowers, livestock, and medical plants by the people living in the city of Basel, Switzerland. They are committed to the objectives of the local, social and environmental sustainability, the preservations of nature, biodiversity and, people in Basel and elsewhere.
Victory Garden Initiative (VGI)—VGI’s mission is to build communities who grow their own food, thereby creating a community-based, socially just, ecologically sustainable, and nutritious food system. VGI has a 1.5-acre community education farm in Milwaukee, WI, where it holds education programs, and grows and sells vegetables with the help of the neighborhood youth.
Washington State University Bread Lab—The Bread Lab works with home bakers and cooks, educators, students, chefs, professional bakers, school districts, entrepreneurs, maltsters, brewers and distillers to to increase whole-grain consumption for better health and to strengthen rural communities by modeling a thriving regional grain economy.
Wellness in the Schools (WITS)—WITS inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness as a way of life for public school kids. WITS utilizes meaningful partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents, and kids, to develop and implement programs that provide healthy foods, environments, and opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow.
Women’s Agricultural Cooperative of Pétra—Women small-scale farmers and producers in a small town on the island of Lesvos, Greece established this cooperative to increase their power in the market – and as a result, their incomes. The Pétra cooperative now acts as a major agro-tourism site, where women sell traditional Greek foods, such as olive oils and pastas.
Women’s Environmental Network (WEN)—For over two decades, WEN has been fighting for environmental justice by ensuring that women have the resources they need to make informed decisions. WEN is composed of a number of women-led groups, working in areas such as women’s health and reproduction, climate change, and local food systems across the U.K.
World Central Kitchen (WCK)—WCK empowers people, strengthens the economy, develops key partnerships, creates a skilled workforce, and helps communities feed themselves. WCK also operates the Chef Network, a group of 50 chefs from around the world who have committed to supporting smart solutions to hunger and poverty.
Also check out Food Tank’s 101 Global Food Organizations to Watch in 2015, 101 Organizations to Watch in 2014, and 101 Additional Organizations to Watch in 2014. SHARE this LIST with your social network HERE!
(Danielle Nierenberg is President, Food Tank, foodtank.com)
116 Food Orgs to Watch in 2016