116 Organizations Creating a Sustainable Global Food System


Each year, Food Tank highlights organizations that help create a more sustainable global food system. They protect biodiversity, produce valuable agricultural research, fight hunger and much more.

This year, Food Tank featured 116 organizations that made vital improvements to our food system in 2015.

This year, Food Tank is featuring 116 organizations you may not have heard about, but should look out for over the new year. Photo credit: Food Tank

Here are the 116 sustainable organizations to watch in 2016:

1. 4-H: 4-H is a youth development program of the Cooperative Extension System of land-grant universities in the U.S. Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Agenda Gotsch: Swiss farmer and researcher Ernst Götsch migrated to Brazil in the early '80s 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Backyard Growers: Backyard Growers is a grassroots organization in Gloucester, Massachusetts, 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.

11. Barn2Door: Barn2Door is an online marketplace for foods grown sustainably by farmers around the U.S. Barn2Door connects producers with consumers by providing an online storefront for marketing, selling and buying local, sustainable and specialty foods.

12. Brooklyn Food Coalition (BFC): BFC is a grassroots organization, which unites and increases the capacity of organizations and community-based groups in Brooklyn, New York City who are committed to ending inequity and racism in the food system.

13. 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.

14. California Institute for Rural Studies: California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) 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.

15. Camino Verde: Camino Verde is a U.S.-based nonprofit with locations in Concord, Massachusetts, 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 more than 250 tree species, protects endangered varieties and provides an arena for further research into multi-species agroforestry systems.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. City Schoolyard Garden (CSG): CSG works with youth in Charlottesville, Virginia, 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.

21. 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.

22. Colorado Farm to School Task ForceColorado 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.

23. 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 UK, CIWF published the Case Study of a Health Crisis that details the health implications of the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

24. Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network: This organization brings together agriculture practitioners from the U.S. and Cuba with the goal of exchanging research and information about sustainable food systems.

25. Cultivating Community: Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods by having farm stands and mobile markets. Based in Portland, Maine, 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.

26. ECOVA MALIFounded 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.

27. 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.

28. Fairtrade America: Fairtrade 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.

29. Fair Trade USAFair 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.

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30. 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.

31. 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.

32. Fondy Food Center: The Fondy Food Center brings farmers markets and fresh food to the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 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.

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. Food Literacy CenterThe 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.

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. 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.

41. 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.

42. GoodPlanet FoundationThe 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.

43. 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, DC, the organization is a global partnership of local civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations and citizens from multidisciplinary and diverse backgrounds.

44. Grow Dat Youth FarmGrow 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.

45. 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.

46. Healthy Schools Campaign: Based in Chicago, Illinois, 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.

47. Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA): HAFA is growing the capacity and the wealth of farming families in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 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.

48. Icipe—African Insect Science for Food and HealthIcipe 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.

49. Ideias na Mesa (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.

50. International Potato CenterThe 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.

51. 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, Arizona, area with the help of hundreds of community and refugee volunteers. IRN fulfills this objective through creative, food-based programming that includes gleaning more than 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.

52. 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 defend the environment.

53. 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.

54. 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, post harvest pesticides, international food standards, genetically manipulated organisms and antibiotic resistance.

55. Just HarvestBased in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 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.

56. Kansas City Food Circle (KCFC): KCFC works to cultivate a sustainable food system in the Kansas City, Missouri, 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.

57. 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.

58. 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.

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59. 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.

60. 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..

61. 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.

62. 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.

63. Liberty Prairie FoundationThe 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.

64. Local First Arizona FoundationLocal 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.

65. 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.

66. Maine Farmland TrustStructured 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.

67. 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.

68. 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 change makers and has long supported a people-centered vision of change throughout the world.

69. 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).

70. 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 $15,000 in unpaid back wages for workers.

71. 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.

72. More and BetterMore 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.

73. 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 U.S. and helps to cultivate new farms and food justice programs around the world.

74. NamatiNamati 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.

75. National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN): The NPGN is a collaborative group of gardeners and organizations in the U.S. 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.

76. Native Seeds/SEARCHBased in Tucson, Arizona, 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.

77. 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, California, the New Field Foundation also helps coordinate the AgroEcology Fund, which supports local farming communities that use sustainable food production methods.

78. National 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.

79. 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.

80. Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA): NOFA is a network of more than 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.

81. Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA): NAMA is a fishermen-led organization in Gloucester, Massachusetts, 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.

82. OzHarvestThis 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.

83. 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.

84. 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.

85. 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.

86. 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 U.S. 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.

87. Project DISCProject 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.

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88. Project GROWSProject 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.

89. 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.

90. 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.

91. Roots Memphis: Roots Memphis is an urban farm in Whitehaven, Tennessee, 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.

92. 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.

93. SatisfeitoSatisfeito 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.

94. 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.

95. 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 the Guide to Serving Fish in School Cafeterias and supports educational programming in schools about fishing economy and culture.

96. 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.

97. Songhai CentreThe 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).

98. 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.

99. Sustain OntarioSustain 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.

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100. The Coffee TrustThe 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.

101. The Bionutrient Food Association (BFA): The BFA advocates for nutrient-dense crop production in the U.S. 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.

102. 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.

103. The Ecology CenterThe Ecology Center in Berkeley, California 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.

104. 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.

105. 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.

106. 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.

107. 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 donkeys, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

108. The Solidarity Center: Based in Washington, DC, 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.

109. 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.

110. 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.

111. 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, Wisconsin, where it holds education programs and grows and sells vegetables with the help of the neighborhood youth.

112. Washington State University Bread LabThe 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.

113. 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.

114. 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.

115. Women’s Environmental Network (WEN): For more than 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 UK.

116. 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.

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 post harvest 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.

Also check out Food Tank’s 101 Global Food Organizations to Watch in 2015101 Organizations to Watch in 2014 and 101 Additional Organizations to Watch in 2014.


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Rio’s Museum of Tomorrow Illustrates Humans’ Impact on the Earth

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Find Out if Your Eggs Are Truly Organic and Support Local Farms

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Brazilians living in The Netherlands organized a demonstration in solidarity with rainforest protectors and against the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on Sept. 1 in The Hague, Netherlands. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Tara Smith

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.

Bolsonaro ran for president promising to "integrate the Amazon into the Brazilian economy". Once elected, he slashed the Brazilian environmental protection agency budget by 95 percent and relaxed safeguards for mining projects on indigenous lands. Farmers cited their support for Bolsonaro's approach as they set fires to clear rainforest for cattle grazing.

Bolsonaro's vandalism will be most painful for the indigenous people who call the Amazon home. But destruction of the world's largest rainforest may accelerate climate change and so cause further suffering worldwide. For that reason, Brazil's former environment minister, Marina Silva, called the Amazon fires a crime against humanity.

From a legal perspective, this might be a helpful way of prosecuting environmental destruction. Crimes against humanity are international crimes, like genocide and war crimes, which are considered to harm both the immediate victims and humanity as a whole. As such, all of humankind has an interest in their punishment and deterrence.

Historical Precedent

Crimes against humanity were first classified as an international crime during the Nuremberg trials that followed World War II. Two German Generals, Alfred Jodl and Lothar Rendulic, were charged with war crimes for implementing scorched earth policies in Finland and Norway. No one was charged with crimes against humanity for causing the unprecedented environmental damage that scarred the post-war landscapes though.

Our understanding of the Earth's ecology has matured since then, yet so has our capacity to pollute and destroy. It's now clear that the consequences of environmental destruction don't stop at national borders. All humanity is placed in jeopardy when burning rainforests flood the atmosphere with CO₂ and exacerbate climate change.

Holding someone like Bolsonaro to account for this by charging him with crimes against humanity would be a world first. If successful, it could set a precedent which might stimulate more aggressive legal action against environmental crimes. But do the Amazon fires fit the criteria?

Prosecuting crimes against humanity requires proof of widespread and systematic attacks against a civilian population. If a specific part of the global population is persecuted, this is an affront to the global conscience. In the same way, domestic crimes are an affront to the population of the state in which they occur.

When prosecuting prominent Nazis in Nuremberg, the US chief prosecutor, Robert Jackson, argued that crimes against humanity are committed by individuals, not abstract entities. Only by holding individuals accountable for their actions can widespread atrocities be deterred in future.

The International Criminal Court's Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has promised to apply the approach first developed in Nuremberg to prosecute individuals for international crimes that result in significant environmental damage. Her recommendations don't create new environmental crimes, such as "ecocide", which would punish severe environmental damage as a crime in itself. They do signal, however, a growing appreciation of the role that environmental damage plays in causing harm and suffering to people.

The International Criminal Court was asked in 2014 to open an investigation into allegations of land-grabbing by the Cambodian government. In Cambodia, large corporations and investment firms were being given prime agricultural land by the government, displacing up to 770,000 Cambodians from 4m hectares of land. Prosecuting these actions as crimes against humanity would be a positive first step towards holding individuals like Bolsonaro accountable.

But given the global consequences of the Amazon fires, could environmental destruction of this nature be legally considered a crime against all humanity? Defining it as such would be unprecedented. The same charge could apply to many politicians and business people. It's been argued that oil and gas executives who've funded disinformation about climate change for decades should be chief among them.

Charging individuals for environmental crimes against humanity could be an effective deterrent. But whether the law will develop in time to prosecute people like Bolsonaro is, as yet, uncertain. Until the International Criminal Court prosecutes individuals for crimes against humanity based on their environmental damage, holding individuals criminally accountable for climate change remains unlikely.

This story originally appeared in The Conversation. It is republished here as part of EcoWatch's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Author, social activist and filmmaker Naomi Klein speaking on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20, 2018. Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Natalie Hanman

Why are you publishing this book now?

I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the other crises we face. A really strong theme running through the book is the links between it and the crisis of rising white supremacy, the various forms of nationalism and the fact that so many people are being forced from their homelands, and the war that is waged on our attention spans. These are intersecting and interconnecting crises and so the solutions have to be as well.

The book collects essays from the last decade, have you changed your mind about anything?

When I look back, I don't think I placed enough emphasis on the challenge climate change poses to the left. It's more obvious the way the climate crisis challenges a rightwing dominant worldview, and the cult of serious centrism that never wants to do anything big, that's always looking to split the difference. But this is also a challenge to a left worldview that is essentially only interested in redistributing the spoils of extractivism [the process of extracting natural resources from the earth] and not reckoning with the limits of endless consumption.

What's stopping the left doing this?

In a North American context, it's the greatest taboo of all to actually admit that there are going to be limits. You see that in the way Fox News has gone after the Green New Deal – they are coming after your hamburgers! It cuts to the heart of the American dream – every generation gets more than the last, there is always a new frontier to expand to, the whole idea of settler colonial nations like ours. When somebody comes along and says, actually, there are limits, we've got some tough decisions, we need to figure out how to manage what's left, we've got to share equitably – it is a psychic attack. And so the response [on the left] has been to avoid, and say no, no, we're not coming to take away your stuff, there are going to be all kinds of benefits. And there aregoing to be benefits: we'll have more livable cities, we'll have less polluted air, we'll spend less time stuck in traffic, we can design happier, richer lives in so many ways. But we are going to have to contract on the endless, disposable consumption side.

Do you feel encouraged by talk of the Green New Deal?

I feel a tremendous excitement and a sense of relief, that we are finally talking about solutions on the scale of the crisis we face. That we're not talking about a little carbon tax or a cap and trade scheme as a silver bullet. We're talking about transforming our economy. This system is failing the majority of people anyway, which is why we're in this period of such profound political destabilisation – that is giving us the Trumps and the Brexits, and all of these strongman leaders – so why don't we figure out how to change everything from bottom to top, and do it in a way that addresses all of these other crises at the same time? There is every chance we will miss the mark, but every fraction of a degree warming that we are able to hold off is a victory and every policy that we are able to win that makes our societies more humane, the more we will weather the inevitable shocks and storms to come without slipping into barbarism. Because what really terrifies me is what we are seeing at our borders in Europe and North America and Australia – I don't think it's coincidental that the settler colonial states and the countries that are the engines of that colonialism are at the forefront of this. We are seeing the beginnings of the era of climate barbarism. We saw it in Christchurch, we saw it in El Paso, where you have this marrying of white supremacist violence with vicious anti-immigrant racism.

That is one of the most chilling sections of your book: I think that's a link a lot of people haven't made.

This pattern has been clear for a while. White supremacy emerged not just because people felt like thinking up ideas that were going to get a lot of people killed but because it was useful to protect barbaric but highly profitable actions. The age of scientific racism begins alongside the transatlantic slave trade, it is a rationale for that brutality. If we are going to respond to climate change by fortressing our borders, then of course the theories that would justify that, that create these hierarchies of humanity, will come surging back. There have been signs of that for years, but it is getting harder to deny because you have killers who are screaming it from the rooftops.

One criticism you hear about the environment movement is that it is dominated by white people. How do you address that?

When you have a movement that is overwhelmingly representative of the most privileged sector of society then the approach is going to be much more fearful of change, because people who have a lot to lose tend to be more fearful of change, whereas people who have a lot to gain will tend to fight harder for it. That's the big benefit of having an approach to climate change that links it to those so called bread and butter issues: how are we going to get better paid jobs, affordable housing, a way for people to take care of their families?

I have had many conversations with environmentalists over the years where they seem really to believe that by linking fighting climate change with fighting poverty, or fighting for racial justice, it's going to make the fight harder. We have to get out of this "my crisis is bigger than your crisis: first we save the planet and then we fight poverty and racism, and violence against women". That doesn't work. That alienates the people who would fight hardest for change.

This debate has shifted a huge amount in the U.S. because of the leadership of the climate justice movement and because it is congresswomen of colour who are championing the Green New Deal. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaibcome from communities that have gotten such a raw deal under the years of neoliberalism and longer, and are determined to represent, truly represent, the interests of those communities. They're not afraid of deep change because their communities desperately need it.

In the book, you write: "The hard truth is that the answer to the question 'What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change?' is: nothing." Do you still believe that?

In terms of the carbon, the individual decisions that we make are not going to add up to anything like the kind of scale of change that we need. And I do believe that the fact that for so many people it's so much more comfortable to talk about our own personal consumption, than to talk about systemic change, is a product of neoliberalism, that we have been trained to see ourselves as consumers first. To me that's the benefit of bringing up these historical analogies, like the New Deal or the Marshall Plan – it brings our minds back to a time when we were able to think of change on that scale. Because we've been trained to think very small. It is incredibly significant that Greta Thunberg has turned her life into a living emergency.

Yes, she set sail for the UN climate summit in New York on a zero carbon yacht ...

Exactly. But this isn't about what Greta is doing as an individual. It's about what Greta is broadcasting in the choices that she makes as an activist, and I absolutely respect that. I think it's magnificent. She is using the power that she has to broadcast that this is an emergency, and trying to inspire politicians to treat it as an emergency. I don't think anybody is exempt from scrutinising their own decisions and behaviours but I think it is possible to overemphasise the individual choices. I have made a choice – and this has been true since I wrote No Logo, and I started getting these "what should I buy, where should I shop, what are the ethical clothes?" questions. My answer continues to be that I am not a lifestyle adviser, I am not anyone's shopping guru, and I make these decisions in my own life but I'm under no illusion that these decisions are going to make the difference.

Some people are choosing to go on birth strikes. What do you think about that?

I'm happy these discussions are coming into the public domain as opposed to being furtive issues we're afraid to talk about. It's been very isolating for people. It certainly was for me. One of the reasons I waited as long as I did to try and get pregnant, and I would say this to my partner all the time – what, you want to have a Mad Max water warrior fighting with their friends for food and water? It wasn't until I was part of the climate justice movement and I could see a path forward that I could even imagine having a kid. But I would never tell anybody how to answer this most intimate of questions. As a feminist who knows the brutal history of forced sterilisation and the ways in which women's bodies become battle zones when policymakers decide that they are going to try and control population, I think that the idea that there are regulatory solutions when it comes to whether or not to have kids is catastrophically ahistorical. We need to be struggling with our climate grief together and our climate fears together, through whatever decision we decide to make, but the discussion we need to have is how do we build a world so that those kids can have thriving, zero-carbon lives?

Over the summer, you encouraged people to read Richard Powers's novel, The Overstory. Why?

It's been incredibly important to me and I'm happy that so many people have written to me since. What Powers is writing about trees: that trees live in communities and are in communication, and plan and react together, and we've been completely wrong in the way we conceptualise them. It's the same conversation we're having about whether we are going to solve this as individuals or whether we are going to save the collective organism. It's also rare, in good fiction, to valorise activism, to treat it with real respect, failures and all, to acknowledge the heroism of the people who put their bodies on the line. I thought Powers did that in a really extraordinary way.

What are you views on what Extinction Rebellion has achieved?

One thing they have done so well is break us out of this classic campaign model we have been in for a long time, where you tell someone something scary, you ask them to click on something to do something about it, you skip out the whole phase where we need to grieve together and feel together and process what it is that we just saw. Because what I hear a lot from people is, ok, maybe those people back in the 1930s or 40s could organise neighbourhood by neighbourhood or workplace by workplace but we can't. We believe we've been so downgraded as a species that we are incapable of that. The only thing that is going to change that belief is getting face to face, in community, having experiences, off our screens, with one another on the streets and in nature, and winning some things and feeling that power.

You talk about stamina in the book. How do you keep going? Do you feel hopeful?

I have complicated feelings about the hope question. Not a day goes by that I don't have a moment of sheer panic, raw terror, complete conviction that we are doomed, and then I do pull myself out of it. I'm renewed by this new generation that is so determined, so forceful. I'm inspired by the willingness to engage in electoral politics, because my generation, when we were in our 20s and 30s, there was so much suspicion around getting our hands dirty with electoral politics that we lost a lot of opportunities. What gives me the most hope right now is that we've finally got the vision for what we want instead, or at least the first rough draft of it. This is the first time this has happened in my lifetime. And also, I did decide to have kids. I have a seven year old who is so completely obsessed and in love with the natural world. When I think about him, after we've spent an entire summer talking about the role of salmon in feeding the forests where he was born in British Columbia, and how they are linked to the health of the trees and the soil and the bears and the orcas and this entire magnificent ecosystem, and I think about what it would be like to have to tell him that there are no more salmon, it kills me. So that motivates me. And slays me.

This story was originally published by The Guardian, and is republished here as part of the Covering Climate Now partnership to strengthen the media's focus on the climate crisis.

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