People across the country and throughout the world are realizing that to confront the climate crisis and create secure and healthy communities, we’ll need vibrant regional food systems. The Food for Everyone issue of YES! takes a look at the people and organizations who are planting the seeds of sustainable agriculture and sharing the bounty of the local food revolution.
Interested in growing a local food revolution in your kitchen or community? Here are some helpful resources that inspired YES! as we produced this issue.
Local Food Distribution:
These days, the average carrot can travel more than a thousand miles to get to your dinner plate. But local, organic food is often harder to come by. These groups are working to get food from farm to table in a way that benefits farmers, eaters and the environment.
Local Harvest is a site that helps you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food near you. Check it out at www.localharvest.org
- Organically Grown Company is the largest wholesaler of organic produce in the Pacific Northwest. Find organic food and learn more about the organization at www.organicgrown.com
National Farm to School Network brings healthy food from local farms to school children nationwide. Learn more about programs in your state at www.farmtoschool.org
The Politics of Food:
Here are some organizations that are working on food politics at the local, state and federal levels.
- State and Local Food Policy Councils convene citizens and government officials to provide an examination of a state or local food system. Learn more at www.statefoodpolicy.org
Community Food Security Coalition is a North American coalition of people and organizations working from the local to the international levels to build community food security. Find programs, committees and events at www.foodsecurity.org
- Agriculture Observatory at the Institute for Trade and Agriculture Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. Learn more at www.agobservatory.org
National Family Farm Coalition unites the voices of its grassroots members to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities at www.nffc.net
Roots of Change is a collaborative of diverse leaders and institutions unified in a common pursuit of achieving a sustainable food system in California by 2030. Learn more at www.rocfund.org
- Dreaming New Mexico: Food and Farming is researching ways to bring about a more self-reliant local food system for New Mexico at www.dreamingnewmexico.org/food/food-farming
- Farm and Food Policy Project is a diverse group of family farm, rural, public health, anti-hunger, conservation, faith-based, and other groups that have come together to inform the Farm Bill at www.farmandfoodproject.org/declaration
- Central Appalachian Network is a network of seven nonprofits that have worked in 150 counties in the Central Appalachian states to transform the area's economy. Find members, read publications and learn about events at www.cannetwork.org
Community Alliance with Family Farmers builds a movement of rural and urban people to foster family-scale agriculture that cares for the land, sustains local economies and promotes social justice. Watch for legislation and download a county guide to local food at www.caff.org
Join the Local Food Revolution:
The following websites offer more resources for getting involved. Eat local; start a farm-to-school program; or even become a farmer yourself.
Organic Volunteers helps you connect with educational opportunities in sustainability at www.organicvolunteers.org
- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connect people who want to volunteer on organic or small farms with the farms that need help at www.wwoof.org
FoodRoutes is a national, non-profit that reintroduces Americans to their food. Donate, take the buy local challenge, and visit the organization's library at www.foodroutes.org
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service: Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships is an online directory of opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture at www.attrainternships.ncat.org
- Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association generates opportunities for farm workers and limited-resource, aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops from two organic farms in Monterey County, California at www.albafarmers.org
- Land Stewardship Project has a mission of fostering an ethic of stewardship for farmland, promoting sustainable agriculture and developing sustainable communities. Take classes and find events at www.landstewardshipproject.org
The Food Project works with teenagers and volunteers who farm in urban and rural Massachusetts. Find programs for youth, buy food and products and volunteer at www.thefoodproject.org
- Local Harvest is a site that helps you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food near you. Check it out at www.localharvest.org
Sustainable Table celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food. Find recipes, read the organization's blog, and discuss related issues at www.sustainabletable.org
- Eat Well Guide is a site that maps where to find wholesome, fresh, sustainable food near you at www.eatwellguide.org
- American Community Gardening Association is building community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the U.S. and Canada. Learn how to start a community garden at www.communitygarden.org
Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life and promote social justice. Find polling and research, publications and ways to green your office at www.newdream.org
- The Edible Schoolyard provides urban public school students with a one-acre organic garden and a kitchen classroom in Berkeley, California. Learn more about the program at www.edibleschoolyard.org
Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Find the latest news at www.slowfoodusa.org
Organizations across the country are working to ensure that everyone has the right and ability to eat good food. Here are a few innovative food justice initiatives and resources.
Growing Power is a national, non-profit organization and land trust that supports people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food. Learn more at www.growingpower.org
- Growing Food & Justice For All Initiative is aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. Find more at www.growingfoodandjustice.org
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies helps small business leaders use less energy and produce less waste at www.livingeconomies.org
- Garden Resource Program Collaborative is an effort to empower Detroit residents to grow, harvest, prepare and preserve food for their families at www.detroitagriculture.org
Just Food is a non-profit organization that works to develop a just and sustainable food system in New York City at www.justfood.org
- Detroit Agriculture Network promotes urban agriculture and the sustainable use and appreciation of urban natural resources in Detroit at http://www.gengreenlife.com/listing/detroit-agriculture-network/detroit/mi/48203/u
Feeding the World:
Solving world hunger requires rethinking trade and aid. In today’s globalized world, a truly just and sustainable food system means empowering our international neighbors to feed their own communities. For more about international food access and food policy, visit these websites.
Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy has a mission of eliminating the injustices that cause hunger. Check out the institute's blog, publications and bookstore at www.foodfirst.org
- Community Alliance for Global Justice aims to transform the global economy by identifying local and global impacts of trade and monetary institutions, by using education, grassroots mobilization, media and legislative strategies, and by building solidarity across diverse movements. Learn more about the food justice project at www.seattleglobaljustice.org
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems. Find programs, projects and publications at www.iatp.org
- Small Planet Institute supports the grassroots democracy movements worldwide addressing the causes of hunger and poverty. Check out more at www.smallplanetinstitute.org
- Institute for Policy Studies turns ideas into action for peace, justice and the environment. Find projects, events and publications at www.ips-dc.org
Before we had fast food and industrial farming, different regions of the U.S. developed food traditions and cultures that were sustainable, delicious, and well-suited to local climates and resources. Here are some organizations that are reviving those traditions.
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit, member-supported organization that saves and shares heirloom seeds. Become a member, join discussions and shop online at www.seedsavers.org
- White Earth Land Recovery Project has a website where you can learn more about ongoing projects and events, and even shop for food and crafts at www.nativeharvest.com
- New Mexico Acequia Association was founded in 1990 to build a united voice for acequia communities throughout New Mexico. You can find declarations and resolutions, news and a calendar at www.lasacequias.org
- Renewing America’s Food Traditions is a coalition of seven non-profit food, agriculture, conservation and educational organizations dedicated to rescuing foods and food traditions. Find workshops, read news and learn what you can do at www.environment.nau.edu/raft
- Waipa Foundation is working to restore Waipa as a native Hawaiian learning and community center. Learn more about Waipa, find projects and programs, and read about current initiatives at www.waipafoundation.org/index.php
Sustainable Farming and Ranching:
Learn more about eco-friendly food production.
Wild Farm Alliance has a mission to promote agriculture that helps protect and restore wild nature. Learn more about wild farming and food safety, browse the chef's toolkit and find upcoming presentations near you at www.wildfarmalliance.org
- Holistic Management International works to heal damaged land and increase the productivity of working lands. Find certified educators, learn more about projects and services, and visit the organization's online library at www.holisticmanagement.org
- Quivira Coalition fosters ecological, economic and social health on western landscapes. Learn about apprenticeships, find workshops and events, and view a photo gallery at www.quiviracoalition.org
- Eatwild provides information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture, links to local farms that sell grass-fed products and a marketplace for farmers who raise their livestock on pasture at www.eatwild.com
- Grass-Fed Party supports grass-fed ranching. Read the organization's blog and join the grass-fed party at www.grassfedparty.com
- Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes in Iowa and the nation. Find research, resources and seminars at www.leopold.iastate.edu
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service provides information and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, extension agents, educators and others involved in sustainable agriculture. Find publications and resources at www.attra.org
- The Stockman Grass Farmer has been devoted to the art and science of making a profit from grassland agriculture since 1947. Find back issues, events and join member forums at www.stockmangrassfarmer.net
The Land Institute collaborates with public institutions to direct more research toward natural systems agriculture. Find programs, publications and books at www.landinstitute.org
- Permaculture Activist is a quarterly publication that helps people provide food, energy and shelter without exploitation of the land. Learn about permaculture at www.permacultureactivist.net
- Rodale Institute is an organization that has been devoted to organic farming since 1947. Receive a newsletter, watch videos and follow the institute's blog at www.rodaleinstitute.org
Food and farm workers are often treated unjustly and inhumanely by the corporate food system. Sustainable food advocates are striving to create standards that would bring dignity, respect, fair wages, and ethical treatment to the people who produce, package, and process our food. Food workers are organizing to defend their rights. You can learn more or get involved through the following resources.
White Dog Café Foundation: Fair Food is dedicated to bringing local food into the Philadelphia marketplace. Find programs and visit the farmstand at www.whitedogcafefoundation.com/fairfood.html
- Magen Tzedek is a new ethical certification seal for the kosher food industry. Learn more about the seal at www.hekhshertzedek.org
- The Farmworker Support Committee is a migrant farmworker organization governed and comprised of farmworkers who are fighting for better working and living conditions. Volunteer your time, find videos and learn about fair labor standards at www.cata-farmworkers.org
Local Fair Trade Network is a Minneapolis-based organization that brings together growers, sellers and eaters of food to build a system that is just and healthy for everyone. Whether you are a farmer, farm worker, business owner or consumer, you can find more information at www.localfairtrade.org
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based worker organization whose members are largely immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout Florida. Find out more at www.ciw-online.org
- United Farm Workers has a mission to provide farm workers with the inspiration and tools to share in society's bounty. Learn more about campaigns, find research and even send an e-card at www.ufw.org
- The Agricultural Justice Project is a non-profit initiative to create fairness and equity in our food system through the development of social justice standards for organic and sustainable agriculture. Learn about the project's standards and international scope at www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org
- Equal Exchange Fairly Traded partners with cooperatives of farmers who provide high-quality organic coffees, teas, chocolates and snacks. Find products, farmer partners and resources at www.equalexchange.coop
- Southern Alternatives Agricultural Cooperative promotes human rights agenda aimed at eradicating race, class, cultural, religious and gender barriers experienced by southern black women. Learn more at www.federationsoutherncoop.com/
:: LOCAL FOOD REVOLUTION LIBRARY
Want to read more or dig deeper? The following books and films provide inspiration, advice and insight on how to transform our food system.
Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds, by Claire Hope Cummings, exposes the stories behind the rise of industrial agriculture and plant biotechnology, the fall of public interest science and the folly of patenting seeds. (Beacon Press, 2008)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan, investigates the complex answers to the simple question: What should we have for dinner? (Penguin, 2006)
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan, proposes that what we eat comes down to seven simple words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (Penguin, 2008)
Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe, features 100 pages of recipes by ecological culinary pioneers including Alice Waters, Mollie Katzen and Nora Pouillon. (Tarcher, 2003)
Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, by Mark Winne, offers an insider's view of what it's like to feed hungry people in inner cities devoid of healthy food options. (Beacon Press, 2008)
Revolution on the Range: The Rise of a New Ranch in the American West, by Courtney White, shows a new American West where cattle and conservation can go hand in hand. (Island Press, 2008)
Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, by Brian Halweil, examines our current food system. While Halweil exposes many flaws, he also offers solutions. (Norton, 2004)
“The Pleasures of Eating,” an essay by Wendell Berry, suggests that eating is an agricultural act, a fact not always recognized by industrial eaters.
The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, by Wendell Berry, suggests that farming is a cultural development and spiritual discipline. Today's agribusiness, however, takes farming out of its cultural context and away from families, and as a nation we are more estranged from the land. (Sierra Club, 1977)
Stuffed & Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, by Raj Patal, examines the irony that some parts of the world are dealing with an epidemic of obesity while people in other parts of the world are enduring starvation. (Melville House, 2008)
Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis, by Vandana Shiva, reveals what connects humanity's most urgent crises—food insecurity, peak oil and climate change—and why any attempt to solve one without addressing the others will get us nowhere. (South End Press, 2008)
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon, tells the story of how the authors devote a year to eating food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home. (Harmony, 2007)
Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasure and Politics of Local Food, by Gary Paul Nabhan, reminds us that eating close to home is an act of cultural and environmental significance. (Norton, 2002)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver, makes a case for returning the kitchen to the center of family life and the diversified farm to the center of the American diet. (HarperCollins, 2007)
Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy, by Lyle Estill, chronicles a community-powered response to resource depletion in a fickle global economy. True stories from Chatham County, North Carolina offer a counterbalance to the bleakness of our age. (New Society, 2008)
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, by Janine M. Benyus, explains this new science and how it is transforming how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, do business and feed ourselves. (Harper Perennial, 1997)
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser, examines the local and global influence of the U.S. fast food industry. (Harper Perennial, 2002)
Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto, by David Tracey, outlines the power-to-the-people campaign to greening our cities. (New Society, 2007)
Eat Where You Live: How to find and enjoy local and sustainable food no matter where you live, by Lou Bendrick, is a fresh, funny and positive approach to eating locally. (Skipstone, 2008)
Gardening for The Future of The Earth, by Howard-Yana Shapiro and John Harrisson, shows you how to create bounty in your own backyard and help save the planet one seed at a time. (Bantam, 2000)
Fresh Food From Small Spaces: The Square Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting, by R.J. Ruppenthal, is a guide to growing in small areas without using energy-intensive systems. (Chelsea Green, 2008)
Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts, by Shannon Borg and Lora Lea Misterly, describes the work on the farm and how students learn to connect with the food they grow. (Skipstone, 2008)
You can also watch these films.
- The Future of Food, directed by Deborah Koons Garcia, is an in-depth look into the controversy surrounding genetically modified foods. (Arts Alliance America, 2004)
- The Real Dirt on Farmer John, directed by Taggart Siegel, tells the story of one man, his farm and his family—a story that parallels the history of American farming. (Gaiam, 2008)
- Good Food, directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young, tours Washington state farms and ranches that have adopted healthier organic methods in raising their products. (Bullfrog Films, 2008)
Anna Stern compiled these resources for Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Anna is an editorial intern at YES!