By Sean Taylor
MilkRun, a Portland, Oregon-based company, is supporting small, local farmers by enabling them to sell produce safely and directly to consumers' homes.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Leslie Brooks
More than 75 percent of the world's food crops rely on pollinators, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Through their pollination, bees not only promote biodiversity, but also secure our food supply.
But one in four species of bee is at risk of extinction in North America, according to the United Nations Environment Program. And the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has recorded declines in bee populations in Europe, South America, and Asia.
- Trump EPA OKs 'Emergency' Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 ... ›
- 7-Mile 'Bee Corridor' of Wildflowers Will Feed London's Pollinators ... ›
- 347 Native Bee Species 'Spiraling Toward Extinction' - EcoWatch ›
By Danielle Nierenberg
The production and disposal of plastic food packaging is energy-intensive and leads to polluted air, soil, and water resources. And once plastics are in circulation, they accumulate in oceans, harming marine life, and break down into smaller microplastics that make their way into food and beverages. Currently, the world's oceans are polluted by more than 5 trillion plastic pieces, collectively weighing over 250,000 tons. And of the 30 million tons of plastic Americans throw away annually, only 8 percent is recycled, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
1. Purchasing Products Using Innovative Plastic Replacement Technologies<p>Keeping coffee fresh can be difficult, and <a href="https://sprudge.com/the-truth-about-compostable-coffee-bags-105358.html" target="_blank">several companies claim their bags are compostable</a>—but the plastic parts, which help with ventilation, are not. <a href="https://elevatepackaging.com/" target="_blank">Elevate Packaging</a> has created the first coffee bag with fully compostable valves, and <a href="https://donmaslowcoffee.com/blogs/sustainability/elevate-packaging" target="_blank">Don Maslow Coffee</a> is one of the first brands to adopt them. For their chocolate truffles, Alter Eco uses compostable wrappers made of eucalyptus and birch trees with <a href="https://www.newhope.com/supply-news-amp-analysis/guayaki-announces-ultimate-green-packaging-biodegradable-compostable" target="_blank">microscopic aluminum layers</a> that maintain freshness; these are fully compostable and biodegrade in oceans. And Guayaki, a sustainability-focused yerba mate company, now sells their loose-leaf teas in compostable <a href="http://www.biomasspackaging.com/brands/natureflex/" target="_blank">Natureflex</a> bags, which contributed to reducing their annual packaging use by 44,000 pounds.</p>
2. Drinking Tap Water Instead of Buying Plastic Bottles<p>Around 20,000 plastic waste bottles are sold every second around the world, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/28/a-million-a-minute-worlds-plastic-bottle-binge-as-dangerous-as-climate-change" target="_blank">according to figures from Euromonitor International</a>—a total of 480 billion in 2016. And not only are many of these wasted, but they also deposit microplastics in our digestive systems. And according to <a href="https://www.boell.de/en/2019/11/05/plasticatlas?dimension1=ds_plastic_atlas" target="_blank">the 2019 Plastic Atlas</a>, compiled by the Heinrich Böel Foundation and Break Free From Plastic, "people who drink water from plastic bottles wash something like 130,000 microplastic particles down their throats every year," compared with 4,000 particles present in tap water.</p>
3. Trying to Avoid Disposable Plastic Utensils<p>The wave of plastic straw bans in summer 2018 drew attention to the massive plastic waste associated with the products: Based on beach cleanup data, <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768.abstract?ijkey=BXtBaPzbQgagE&keytype=ref&siteid=sci" target="_blank">researchers calculated</a> that around 7.5 billion straws are currently littering America's beaches. But straws make up only <a href="https://phys.org/news/2018-04-science-amount-straws-plastic-pollution.html" target="_blank">around 4 percent of plastic trash</a> on a piece-by-piece level, making it important to examine other commonly disposed utensils, like plastic forks and spoons. Cutlery has been <a href="https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/take-deep-dive/threat-rank-report/" target="_blank">rated by the Ocean Conservancy</a> as one of the items "most dangerous" to sea life—but if everyone in the U.S. switched from plastic to reusable cutlery, it would stop the use of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/carrying-your-own-fork-spoon-help-plastic-crisis" target="_blank">more than 100 million</a> plastic forks, knives, and spoons.</p>
4. Buying in Bulk<p>Although many grocery stores' bulk bins have temporarily closed due to COVID-19, purchasing in large quantities, along with meal planning, can still be an effective way to minimize the number of individual packages sold. And switching from prepackaged foods to the bulk aisle can <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/04/12/149931279/whats-the-scoop-on-bulk-foods" target="_blank">save around 56 percent on food costs—what</a> NPR's The Salt described as "a permanent two-for-one sale on dozens of organic foods and ingredients.</p>
5. Choosing Personal Care Products Without Microplastics<p>Personal care products with microbeads, such as certain toothpastes and soaps, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X16308657" target="_blank">are a major contributor of microplastics</a>, or small plastic fragments that build up in the environment as a byproduct of plastic products breaking down. One study of particular exfoliant products found that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0025326X1500449X?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">between 4,500 and 94,500 microbeads</a> were released per use. Microplastics can <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es501090e" target="_blank">get stuck in fish gills</a> and enter animals' digestive tracts, which can be problematic given microplastics' ability to <a href="https://civileats.com/2015/01/15/how-microplastics-from-fleece-could-end-up-on-your-plate" target="_blank">absorb and retain potentially toxic substances</a>.</p>
6. Publicly Demonstrating Your Commitment to Cutting Down Your Plastic Footprint<p>When artist and activist Dianna Cohen first started learning about plastic pollution, she said her first instinct was to find ways to clean up the plastic in the oceans—but she realized those efforts would pale in comparison to the new plastic waste generated every day. "The bigger picture is: we need to find a way to turn off the faucet. We need to cut the spigot of single-use and disposable plastics, which are entering the marine environment every day on a global scale," she said <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/dianna_cohen_tough_truths_about_plastic_pollution/" target="_blank">in her TED Talk</a>. She founded the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which is <a href="https://p2a.co/DUghpK4" target="_blank">collecting signatures on eight petitions</a>, from calling on Amazon to reduce plastic use to encouraging legislators to adopt anti-plastic policies. The coalition is also encouraging people to <a href="https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/pledge" target="_blank">take the 4Rs Pledge</a> to refuse disposable plastic, reduce your plastic footprint, reuse single-use items, and recycle what you can't refuse, reduce, or reuse. In addition, anyone can <a href="https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/the-coalition" target="_blank">become a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition</a> and join 1,200+ businesses and individuals, including Ben & Jerry's and actors Fran Drescher, Jeff Bridges, Jane Fonda, and more.</p>
- World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million ... ›
- Coronavirus Plastic Waste Polluting the Environment - EcoWatch ›
- The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About ... ›
By Alejandro Argumedo
August 9 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples – a celebration of the uniqueness of the traditions of Quechua, Huli, Zapotec, and thousands of other cultures, but also of the universality of potatoes, bananas, beans, and the rest of the foods that nourish the world. These crops did not arise out of thin air. They were domesticated over thousands of years, and continue to be nurtured, by Indigenous people. On this day we give thanks to these cultures for the diversity of our food.
- 28 Organizations Promoting Indigenous Food Sovereignty - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Indigenous Foods You Should Be Eating - EcoWatch ›
By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt
The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.
1. Aboriginal Carbon Foundation (Oceania)<p>The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation is building a carbon farming industry in Australia by Aboriginals, for Aboriginals. The Foundation offers training and support for new Indigenous farmers so they can learn how to capture atmospheric carbon in the soil. The carbon farming projects generate certified <a href="http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Infohub/Markets/buying-accus/australian-carbon-credit-unit-supply" target="_blank">Australian Carbon Credit Units</a> (ACCU), which major carbon-producing businesses must purchase to offset their carbon emissions. Income generated by ACCUs is reinvested in Aboriginal communities by the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation and its participating farmers.</p>
2. AgroEcology Fund (International)<p>The AgroEcology Fund (AEF) galvanizes global leaders and experts to fund <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/26-organizations-working-to-conserve-seed-biodiversity/" target="_blank">biodiverse</a> and regenerative agriculture projects worldwide. Projects funded by AEF have included Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives, agroecology training institutions, and women's market access networks on every continent. With the support of governments and financial institutions, AEF hopes that agroecology will become the standard model for food production worldwide within thirty years.</p>
3. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (Asia)<p>The Asia Indigenous People Pact is an alliance of Indigenous organizations across southern and eastern Asia. Collectively, the Pact promotes and protects Indigenous lands, food systems, and biodiversity. Their alliance is bolstered by regional youth and women's networks, as well as support from international institutions, including the United Nations and Oxfam.</p>
4. Association of Guardians of the Native Potato from Central Peru (South America)<p>The Association of Guardians of the Native Potato from Central Peru (AGUAPAN) is a collective of Indigenous farmers. Each farmer grows between 50 and 300 ancestral varieties of potato, which are <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/food-tanks-summer-2020-reading-list/" target="_blank">indigenous to the Andes Mountains</a> of modern-day Peru. AGUAPAN farmers preserve the crop's biodiversity in their native communities and band together to advocate for economic, gender, education, and healthcare equity.</p>
5. Cheyenne River Youth Project (North America)<p>The Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota has served Lakota youth for more than three decades. Its Native Food Sovereignty initiative offers public workshops on <a href="https://www.nativeseeds.org/blogs/blog-news/how-to-grow-a-three-sisters-garden" target="_blank">Three Sisters gardening</a> of corn, beans, and squash. They also offer classes on Indigenous plants, gardening, and cooking. Their Winyan Tokay Win (Leading Lady) Garden serves as an outdoor classroom to reacquaint Lakota children with the earth. Their other programs use food grown in the garden for meals and snacks. They also sell surplus crops at their weekly Leading Lady Farmer's Market.</p>
6. Dream of Wild Health (North America)<p>Dream of Wild Health runs a 10-acre farm just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their Indigenous Food Share CSA program and farmer's market booths sell produce and value-added products grown by Native Americans. During the summer, Dream of Wild Health offers a Garden Warriors program where children can learn about seed saving, foraging, farmers market management, and other aspects of food sovereignty. They also host the <a href="https://dreamofwildhealth.org/indigenous-food-network" target="_blank">Indigenous Food Network</a> (IFN), a collective of Indigenous partners who advocate for local and regional policy changes. The IFN also hosts community food tasting events featuring prominent Indigenous chefs.</p>
7. First Peoples Worldwide (International)<p>First Peoples Worldwide was <a href="http://www.firstpeoples.org/" target="_blank">founded</a> by Cherokee social entrepreneur <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQxwHVeH6zc" target="_blank">Rebecca Adamson</a> to help businesses to align with First Peoples' rights. Now a part of the University of Colorado's <a href="https://www.colorado.edu/business/CESR" target="_blank">Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility</a>, First Peoples Worldwide continues to ensure that Indigenous voices are at the forefront of decision-making processes affecting their own self-determination. The organization works with businesses and institutions to assess their investments and guide them in incorporating Indigenous Peoples' rights and interests into their business decisions.</p>
8. Indigikitchen (North America)<p>Mariah Gladstone's Indigikitchen uses Native foods as resistance. Her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO918GT8I3HX5f4Z1xKCV4A" target="_blank">cooking videos</a> offer healthy, creative ways to eat <a href="https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=PR005" target="_blank">pre-contact</a>, Indigenous foods. The recipes abstain from highly-processed grains, dairy, and sugar, ingredients that did not become standard in diets of the Americas until European colonization. Indigikitchen hopes that its recipes inspire Indigenous cooks to connect with Native foods.</p>
9. Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (North America)<p>The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas provides model policies for Tribal governments to help <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/05/colby-duren-talks-indigenous-food-and-agriculture-policy/" target="_blank">promote and protect food sovereignty</a>. They also co-organize the Native Farm Bill Coalition with the <a href="https://shakopeedakota.org/" target="_blank">Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community</a>, the <a href="https://www.indianag.org/" target="_blank">Intertribal Agriculture Council</a>, and the <a href="http://www.ncai.org/" target="_blank">National Congress of American Indians</a>. The Initiative hosts annual <a href="https://indigenousfoodandag.com/resources/native-youth-summit/" target="_blank">Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summits</a>, where American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth can learn about agricultural business, land stewardship, agricultural law, and more.</p>
10. Indigenous Food Systems Network (North America)<p>The Indigenous Food Systems Network (IFSN) is a convener of Indigenous food producers, researchers, and policymakers across the 98 Indigenous nations of Canada. IFSN supports research, policy reform, and direct action that builds food sovereignty in Indigenous communities. The organization's Indigenous Food Sovereignty <a href="http://www.bcfsn.org/mailman/listinfo/ifs_bcfsn.org" target="_blank">email listserv</a> offers its subscribers everything from stories and legends to recipes and policy reform tools.</p>
11. Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (International)<p>Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty is an international organization based in Rome, Italy connecting the world's Indigenous People to agricultural research and advocacy groups. With Indigenous communities from China to India and Thailand to Latin America, Indigenous Partnerships forges dialogues within Indigenous communities to ensure <a href="http://www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/our-pillars/fpic/en/" target="_blank">free, prior, and informed consent</a> between research and advocacy partners. Indigenous Partnerships also seeks to incorporate global and local Indigenous knowledge into non-Indigenous knowledge systems.</p>
12. Indigenous Terra Madre (International)<p>Indigenous Terra Madre is a global network of Indigenous Peoples sponsored by <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/living-the-slow-food-life-during-lockdown/" target="_blank">Slow Food</a>, an international institution based in Rome, Italy. The network amplifies Indigenous voices and protects the biodiversity of the crops Indigenous communities cultivate. By providing a platform for Indigenous communities to pool power and resources, Indigenous Terra Madre fights to defend the land, culture, and opportunity of all Indigenous Peoples.</p>
13. Intertribal Agriculture Council (North America)<p>The American Indian Food Program by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) helps Native American and Alaskan Native agribusinesses and food entrepreneurs expand their market reach. The Made/Produced by American Indians Trademark promoted by the IAC identifies certified American Indian products and is used by over 500 businesses. IAC's other major American Indian Food Program, Native Food Connection, helps market Native American foods and food producers across the United States. IAC also offers technical and natural resource assistance to connect Native businesses with U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and conservation stewardship resources.</p>
14. Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska (North America)<p>Through its Alaskan Inuit Food Sovereignty Initiative, the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska is convening Inuit community leaders from across Alaska. The Initiative seeks to unify Inuit throughout the state to advocate for land and wildlife management sovereignty. The Initiative also strives for international cooperation to promote food sovereignty across <a href="https://indigenouspeoplesatlasofcanada.ca/article/inuit-nunangat/" target="_blank">Inuit Nunaat</a>.</p>
15. Mantasa (Asia)<p>Mantasa is a research institution in Indonesia dedicated to expanding the number of indigenous plants consumed by the Javanese people. According to Mantasa, only 20 plant species comprise 90 percent of Javanese food needs. Their research is incorporating new wild foods from Indonesia's vast biodiversity into Javanese diets to improve food security and nutrition. Mantasa also helps promote these foods to consumers and local farmers to increase their popularity.</p>
16. Muonde Trust (Africa)<p>In Mazvhiwa, Zimbabwe, the Muonde Trust invests in Indigenous innovations in food, land, and water management. The Trust seeks out individuals with new ideas and provides peer-to-peer support to help bring those ideas to life. Muonde Trust currently supports innovations in indigenous seed saving and sharing, livestock and woodland management, irrigation systems, and constructing kitchen spaces.</p>
17. Native American Agriculture Fund (North America)<p>The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is the largest philanthropic supporter of Native American agriculture. The Fund offers grants to Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions to support healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy economies. In 2020, NAAF is offering US$1 million in grant funds specifically for youth initiatives and young farmers and ranchers. NAAF is also centralizing COVID-19 relief information for Native farmers, ranchers, fishers, and Tribal governments.</p>
18. Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (North America)<p>The Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) places Indigenous farmers, wild-crafters, fishers, hunters, ranchers, and eaters at the center of the fight to restore Indigenous food systems and self-determination. NAFSA's primary initiatives are the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network, the Food and Culinary Mentorship Program, and their Native Food Sovereignty Events. Each of these initiatives centers around the reclamation of Indigenous seeds and foods.</p>
19. Native Seed/SEARCH (North America)<p>Native Seed/SEARCH preserves and proliferates <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/a-call-for-community-based-seed-diversity-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/" target="_blank">indigenous seeds</a> through their Native Access programs. Their Native American Seed Request program offers free seed packets to Native Americans living in or originating from the Greater Southwestern Region. The Bulk Seed Exchange allows growers to pay it forward by returning 1.5 times the seeds they receive to be put towards future Native American Seed Request packs. While Native Seed/SEARCH sells an assortment of popular seeds to the general public, its collection of indigenous seeds are <a href="https://www.nativeseeds.org/pages/native-access" target="_blank">only available to Native farmers</a> and families. They hope these seeds will revitalize traditional foods and build food sovereignty.</p>
20. Navajo Ethno-Agriculture (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Navajo Ethno-Agriculture is sustaining Navajo culture through lessons on traditional farming. The seasonal courses focus on land, water, and food as students cultivate, harvest, and prepare heritage crops. During COVID-19, Navajo Ethno-Agriculture suspended its courses and is focusing on supplying neighboring farms with heritage seeds and farm equipment. They are also offering food processing and packaging services to protect and rejuvenate soil.</span><br></p>
21. North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Founded by the chefs of </span><a href="https://sioux-chef.com/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">The Sioux Chef</a><span style="background-color: initial;">, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS) is reimagining the North American food system as a generator of wealth and good health for Native communities. The organization seeks to reverse the effects of forced assimilation and colonization through food entrepreneurship and a reclamation of ancestral education. NāTIFS is establishing an </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/indigenousfoodlab/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">Indigenous Food Lab</a><span style="background-color: initial;"> in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a training center and restaurant for Native chefs and food. NāTIFS plans to eventually spread this model across North America.</span><br></p>
22. Oyate Teca Project (North America)<p><br></p><p>In response to dire food access on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota, the Oyate Teca Project offers year-long classes in gardening, food entrepreneurship, and traditional food preservation techniques. Oyate Teca helps make local foods available to the community by selling produce grown in their half-acre garden at farmer's markets. The project also serves as an emergency food provider for families and children.</p>
23. Tebtebba (Asia)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Tebtebba is an international organization based in the Philippines committed to sharing global Indigenous wisdom. Its Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity project strengthens Indigenous organizations' research, policy advocacy, and education on biodiversity. The project also works directly with Indigenous communities to strengthen their governance structures, protect their land, and improve their food security.</span><br></p>
24. Sierra Seeds (North America)<p><br></p><p><a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/new-on-the-podcast-rowen-white-talks-indigenous-seed-sovereignty-and-viraj-puri-says-urban-greenhouses-can-transform-produce/" target="_blank">Rowan White</a> and her organization, Sierra Seeds, are dedicated to the next generation of farmers, gardeners, and food justice activists. Her flagship program, Seed Seva, offers a multi-layered education on seed stewardship and Indigenous permaculture. The program is offered online, allowing anybody to access White's wisdom. Additionally, Sierra Seeds offers a <a href="https://sierraseeds.org/seeding-change/" target="_blank">Seeding Change</a> leadership incubator, where emerging food justice leaders meet virtually to support one another while developing individual projects.</p>
25. Storying Kaitiakitanga (Oceania)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">Storying Kaitiakitanga – A Kaupapa Māori Land and Water Food Story is a project of Dr. Jessica Hutchings and other Māori researchers and storytellers. The project was developed as part of the </span><a href="https://www.ourlandandwater.nz/" target="_blank" style="background-color: initial;">Our Land and Water National Science Challenge</a><span style="background-color: initial;"> to collect the stories of Māori food producers across the food system. Storying Kaitiakitanga is exploring how traditional Māori principles and practices can inspire more sustainable food systems for the next generation. Stories include beekeepers, yogurt producers, and business development service providers.</span><br></p>
26. Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">The Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a grassroots Lakota organization building food sovereignty on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota. Their reservation-wide Food Sovereignty Coalition is dedicated to reconstructing a healthy local food system. They have greatly increased food production on the reservation and train residents and students on Oglala food histories, current local foods, gardening, and food preservation.</span><br></p>
27. Wangi Tangni (Central America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">In Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast, the women of Indigenous Miskita communities receive native plants from Wangi Tangni to grow for food, medicine, and reforestation. The organization provides communal and legal support for women, many of whom do not speak Spanish. The organization's overall mission is to promote political participation and gender equality through sustainable development projects such as indigenous plant rematriation.</span><br></p>
28. Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (North America)<p><span style="background-color: initial;">The public schools of the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico and Arizona partner with the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project to build gardening spaces and provide nutrition education. The partnership is intended to reintroduce traditional knowledge and practices into students' educations about food. The Project hopes that the community gardens will also inspire more Zuni to grow their own food and reduce rates of obesity and diabetes in their communities.</span><br></p>
- Indigikitchen Is Bringing Native Food Sovereignty Online - EcoWatch ›
- 8 Gardening Tips From Indigenous Food Growers - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Peoples Hold the Past and Future of Food in Their Hands - EcoWatch ›
By Katell Ané
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.
By Danielle Nierenberg and Maya Osman-Krinsky
In the United States, over 2,000 acres of agricultural land are sold every day for housing or commercial development, according to the American Farmland Trust. This has especially affected Black farmers who, since 1920, have seen nearly a 90 percent decline in land ownership, according to the U.S. Census.
1. Alaska Farmland Trust (United States)<p>One in five Alaskans is considered food insecure, and over 95 percent of the food consumed by Alaskans is imported from the contiguous U.S., according to the Alaska Farmland Trust Corporation (AFTC). AFTC was created in 2005 to support the existing farms in Alaska's Mat-Su valley and safeguard farmland against development. AFTC aims to protect 5,700 acres of farmland in the next 50 years to ensure productive farms, ranches, and forests for generations of Alaskan farmers to come.</p>
2. American Farmland Trust (United States)<p>Since its inception in 1980, the American Farmland Trust (AFT) has worked to protect farmland from development and promote sound farming practices. AFT leads the <a href="http://www.fao.org/resources/infographics/infographics-details/en/c/216754/" target="_blank">conservation agriculture movement</a> by combining on-the-ground projects with research and advocacy. AFT also created the <a href="https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/11/14/1651476/0/en/No-Farms-No-Food-Farmland-Takes-Action-With-American-Farmland-Trust-Partnership.html" target="_blank">No Farms No Food</a> message, which aims to connect the food we eat to the farms that grow it. The organization has protected millions of acres of farmland from commercial development while helping tens of thousands of farmers adopt better farming practices.</p>
3. Anera (Middle East)<p>Since 1968, Anera has worked to provide emergency relief and sustainable long-term aid to refugee communities in Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan. In 1985, they began a decade-long <a href="https://www.anera.org/what-we-do/agriculture/" target="_blank">agricultural development project</a> to help Palestinian farmers reclaim hundreds of acres of land. This project continues to grow in the West Bank, giving loans to thousands of farmers and encouraging sustainable projects to combat food insecurity and water scarcity.</p>
4. Bangladesh Krishok Federation (Bangladesh)<p>The Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF) was established in 1990 as a grassroots peasants' rights organization. Since before its founding, BKF has organized landless people to fight for policy reform by demonstrating, organizing, providing legal aid, and working with the government to negotiate fair land deals. BKF and its women-led counterpart, Bangladesh Kishani Sabha (BKS), work in tandem to secure rights for peasants, farmers, and the 112 million landless people in Bangladesh.</p>
5. Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (Cambodia)<p>The Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) addresses land rights issues for Cambodian farmers through community organizing and policy negotiation. CCFC's <a href="https://www.ccfccambodia.org/no-land-no-market-no-life" target="_blank">No Land No Life Campaign</a> tackles forced evictions and unjust legislation by mobilizing small farmers to speak out against Cambodian authorities on land tenure and human rights issues. CCFC has been a platform for <a href="https://www.ccfccambodia.org/archives/category/press-announcement" target="_blank">over 6,800 farming families</a> condemning forced evictions and exploitative commercial farming.</p>
6. Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (United States)<p>The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund is a non-profit cooperative association of black farmers and landowners. The Federation builds support for public policies and credit unions that help Black and family farmers expand and protect their landholdings in the South. They also hold annual events and workshops centered around education, forestry, and racial equity in food systems.</p>
7. Food First Information and Action Network International (International)<p>Food First Information and Action Network International (FIAN) was the first international human rights organization with a specific focus on adequate food and nutrition. FIAN fights for land and natural resources by holding corporations and governments accountable for violations of people's right to food. FIAN aims to secure people's access to land rights while advocating for gender, economic, agricultural, and legal equality worldwide. In 2019, FIAN's right-to-food activism reached 60 countries.</p>
8. Friends of the Earth International (International)<p>Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is a grassroots network mobilizing for climate justice, human rights, food sovereignty, and gender justice. Across its 73 member groups, FoEI supports campaigns defending peasant farming against large-scale industrial land grabs. Most recently, <a href="https://ja4change.org/2019/12/13/justica-ambiental-ja-celebrates-human-rights-day-with-the-launch-of-2-case-studies/" target="_blank">Justiça Ambiental</a>, a FoEI member group, worked with a <a href="https://www.foei.org/news/blogs/agroecology/mozambique-land-rights-acroecology" target="_blank">Mozambican village</a> fighting to reclaim their stolen land.</p>
9. GRAIN (International)<p>GRAIN is an international non-profit organization that advocates for community-controlled and biodiverse food systems. Using research and public awareness outreach campaigns, GRAIN supports small farmers in their efforts to combat corporate land deals and land grabs. In 2019, GRAIN supported struggles for land in Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Cameroon, Cambodia, and Brazil.</p>
10. Grupo Semillas (Colombia)<p>Corporación Grupo Semillas is an environmentalist NGO that backs Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and peasant organizations in Colombia. Grupo Semillas supports land tenure and reclamation efforts in their <a href="https://www.semillas.org.co/es/resultado-archivo-categoria?id=53431fcd6075e1796e6f86f9ec1b9028" target="_blank">Tierras y territorios</a> division, which focuses on pushing back against agribusiness and land monopolies. Through partnering with other regional organizations, Grupo Semillas conducts and disseminates research about land rights, food sovereignty, and biodiversity to Colombia's marginalized populations.</p>
11. Hawai’ian Islands Land Trust (Hawai’i)<p>The Hawai'ian Islands Land Trust (HILT) takes a holistic approach to land conservation through <a href="https://www.conservationeasement.us/what-is-a-conservation-easement/" target="_blank">conservation easements</a>. HILT comprises four Hawai'ian land trusts, all of which aim to conserve Hawai'ian farms, ranches, watersheds, forests, and historical landscapes. HILT has protected over 18,000 acres of Hawai'ian land through land acquisition and protection initiatives and policy advocacy.</p>
12. Institute for Poverty Land, and Agrarian Studies (South Africa)<p>The Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) is an organization dedicated to researching land grabbing in Africa. PLAAS uses its research and policy engagement to highlight how food systems can both perpetuate and alleviate poverty. Since its founding in 1995, PLAAS has published reports calling for a restructuring of agro-food systems to aid marginalized communities harmed by parasitic land deals.</p>
13. La Via Campesina (International)<p>La Via Campesina (LVC) is an international peasant's rights movement fighting for food sovereignty, climate justice, and territory rights. LVC leads a global campaign for agrarian reform by defending food sovereignty and asserting peasant farmers' rights to seeds. LVC has covered land access efforts in Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Andalusia, and Ethiopia, carrying out nearly 50 activities across different continents in 2019 alone.</p>
14. Namati (International)<p>Namati is a legal empowerment organization that seeks to tackle problems of land, environmental, health, and citizenship justice. The organization employs paralegals who work directly with communities; with nearly 20,000 community partners, Namati reaches over 350,000 people directly. Namati's initiatives in Kenya, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone support smallholder farmers struggling to navigate administrative processes and land grab disputes.</p>
15. National Black Farmers Association (United States)<p>The National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) was founded in 1995 to represent Black farmers in the U.S. They focus efforts on civil rights, land retention, access to loans, education and agricultural training, and economic development. NBFA's work has impacted tens of thousands of farmers since its inception, fighting for food sovereignty, land rights, and an end to hunger.</p>
16. National Black Food & Justice Alliance (United States)<p>The National Black Food & Justice Alliance (NBFJA) is a coalition of Black-led organizations that is working toward Black land and food sovereignty and self-determining food economies. Building off a <a href="https://www.blackfoodjustice.org/rationale-strategy" target="_blank">long legacy</a> of Black food security efforts in the U.S., NBFJA is combating anti-Blackness and inequities in the food system by building visibility of Black-led efforts, creating an organized framework around food and land issues impacting Black people, engaging in direct action, and building togetherness space.</p>
17. Partners for the Land and Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa)<p>Partners for the Land and Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT) is a platform that confronts the marginalization of Indigenous peoples in Brazilian Amazonia and Sub-Saharan Africa. PLANT works with their local partners on hands-on projects, public policy, and research and analysis. PLANT supports food sovereignty, condemns land grabs, and seeks to center indigenous voices in global decision-making about ecological justice.</p>
18. Peconic Land Trust (United States)<p>The Peconic Land Trust (PLT) partners with landowners, communities, and organizations in Suffolk County to conserve Long Island's working farms. PLT is working on several local projects on Long Island, including land conservation legislation and community conservation campaigns. Since 1983, they have protected over 13,000 acres of land and secured millions of dollars for land protection.</p>
19. South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust (United States)<p>South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust (SSCFLT) is a Washington-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving affordable farmland. SSCFLT brings together local farmers, agriculture preservation advocates, affordable housing advocates, and active citizens to form a <a href="https://community-wealth.org/strategies/panel/clts/index.html" target="_blank">community land trust</a>. SSCFLT works to reduce landowning costs for farmers and demonstrate sustainable farming practices in community farm environments.</p>
20. Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (United States)<p>Iowa is <a href="https://silt.org/why-launch-a-land-trust/" target="_blank">losing 25 acres of farmland</a> each day to development and imports more than 90 percent of their food from out of state, but the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) is fighting to change this. They believe that through the state's farming landscape, economy, and food supply, they can build more resilient communities in Iowa. SILT is working to create affordable land access for Iowa's farmers and protect land for sustainable food farming to rebuild the the state's rural economy and mitigate climate change.</p><a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Over+2%2C000+acres+of+farmland+are+sold+daily+for+commercial+purposes%2C+according+to+%40Farmland.+These+20+organizations+working+to+%23ProtectFarmland+around+the+world.&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffoodtank.com%2Fnews%2F2020%2F07%2Ffarms-for-the-future-19-organizations-protecting-farmland%2F&via=foodtank"><span></span></a>
By Francesca DiGiorgio
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to increase federal aid for emergency food distribution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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By Katie Howell
More than 6,000 plant species have been cultivated for food worldwide, but only nine account for the majority of total crop production, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO finds that crop diversity is continuing to decline across the globe because of unsustainable agricultural practices, industrialization, and increased urbanization.
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By Danielle Nierenberg
Since the first episode of Food Talk Live aired on March 19, our twice-daily live conversation series has featured nearly 150 food system experts, advocates, scientists, chefs and more.
How do we rectify racial inequities in land ownership?<p>"As a result of colonial genocide, land grabbing, USDA discrimination, state-level nativism, lynching, and expulsion, over 98% of the farmland in this county is owned by white Americans today. Ralph Paige of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives put it simply, "Land is the only real wealth in this country and if we don't own any we'll be out of the picture." We need a nationwide commitment to share the land back, so that all communities can have the means of production for food security."</p><p>— Leah Penniman, founder and director of Soul Fire Farm. <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10055-3" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
How impactful can collective agricultural labor unions be to protect farm workers?<p>"In 2019, through our collective bargaining procedures, we resolved cases on wage issues amounting to over US$800,000 dollars. If they were non-union, that money would have been lost to the worker's pocket. If this is what we recoup for workers in the union setting, imagine what must be happening in non-union settings."</p><p>— Baldemar Velásquez, founder and president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/new-on-the-podcast-baldemar-velasquez-on-amplifying-the-voices-of-migrant-farmworkers/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
What does it mean to support local, regional, and sustainable food by engaging in good food purchasing?<p>"This is a time I think of as a great reckoning. Seeing the public interest in food and how important food is as a public service is how procurement works — it aligns the purchasing power of government institutions with what the values of the public are. I think an important next step would be to have city or municipal leaders set aggregate purchasing targets and invite, encourage, persuade all large food service institutions to participate in setting these aggregate targets. And then you can really start making accelerated change in the local food economy, which is something we know we need to build back right now. The idea of good food purchasing is to support equity and to support creating economic opportunity for those who have not had that economic opportunity."</p><p>— Paula Daniels, co-founder, chair of the board, and chief of what's next at the Center for Good Food Purchasing. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/new-on-the-podcast-didier-toubia-on-cultivated-meat-and-paula-daniels-on-good-food-purchasing-policies/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
What is the importance of “middle-man” food processors in supporting local farm-based food systems?<p>"Can we imagine how to circle out of this in a way that is better than what we had before? I want to shine an uncomfortable light on the farm-to-table movement. It turns out to have a very weak link. I don't know that the answer is to return to that moment, because what this shows is that it wasn't as strong in conception of feeding people and a food system moving forward as we would've imagined."</p><p>— Dan Barber, executive chef and co-founder of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/04/dan-barber-and-luke-saunders-on-keeping-the-farm-to-community-connection-during-covid-19/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
What can we do to make regenerative farming not only the norm, but affordable?<p>"We need to realize that economic justice and the growth of organic and regenerative food and farming and land use go together. We can't have one without the other. That's what's so beautiful about this Green New Deal."</p><p>— Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/04/cummins-talks-green-new-deal-regenerative-agriculture-covid-19/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
How can traditional resource-management techniques lay the foundation for food sovereignty?<p><em>"Tagal</em> is a traditional fisheries management practice in [the Malaysian state of] Sabah, in which communities swear oaths to nurture wild fisheries until they teem with river carp, and then open them, by agreement, for communal consumption at special times. During COVID-19 the power of tagal has therefore also become a key topic: how communities who have reinvigorated their culture of river stewardship have been able to access their own protein resources in their places."</p><p>— Cynthia Ong & Kenneth Wilson of Forever Sabah in Sabah, Malaysia. <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10082-0" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
What role can mutual aid and distributive food systems play in feeding our communities?<p>"Resilience and regeneration are not a given, they need to be purposefully nurtured. We therefore need to invest and facilitate the creation of distributive food systems based on local needs and capacities that assure a fair redistribution of value, knowledge and power across actors and territories to deliver sustainable food for all."</p><p>— Ana Moragues-Faus, professor of economics and business, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10087-9" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
How can greater public funding drive food innovation in Latin America and the Global South?<p>"One of the forgotten links in all these food systems, connections between agriculture, nutrition, and health, is that you need knowledge. You need to do some research, and then you need to innovate. … If we can put trillions and trillions of dollars into good research on safeguarding the economy, we should also be putting in quite a bit of funding for health and food systems."</p><p>— Ruben Echeverria, senior research fellow at International Food Policy Research Institute and research associate at the Latin American Center for Rural Development. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/05/new-on-the-podcast-john-piotti-discusses-a-farmers-relief-fund-and-ruben-echeverria-talks-global-food-policy/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
What role can entrepreneurs play in building a better food system?<p>"We have this really beautiful rich, diverse country where we can produce and we can create so much wealth for all of us, and it's now about zooming in and resourcing these gaps that we know exist."</p><p>— Caesaré Assad, CEO of accelerator Food System 6. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/03/caesare-assad-on-the-food-system-covid-19/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
How do we build a new European community-based sustainable food system that doesn’t replicate the past?<p>"My vision is for a new food economy with more and more of us growing a percentage of our own food, and preferentially purchasing in season and local food from local and sustainable farmers. This future food system will not be identical to those that I remember from my childhood in the '50s and '60s, since the world has changed since then. The internet and other related digital innovations including on-line marketing, and the emergence of farmers markets and community supported agriculture, are all expressions of the boundless innovation of humanity. So, let us hope that the farming community will prosper and come to play a more central role in our future food systems. Let the new food revolution flourish and thrive!"</p><p>— Patrick Holden, British farmer and founder of Sustainable Food Trust. <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10049-1" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
How can we understand and prepare for the connections between COVID-19 and diet health?<p>"Because [the pandemic of diet-related disease] has happened over 30 to 40 years, we've ignored that equivalent or even larger pandemic. And now they're coming together, and we're seeing that we set up an environment of people with poor metabolic health who are predisposed to COVID. … We have not invested in the science that we should have invested in up until this point, to have answers to these questions. People are talking about stocking personal protective equipment and stocking ventilators and stocking vaccines — but what about stocking science on food and health and nutrition? That would've been incredibly important."</p><p>—Dariush Mozaffarian, cardiologist and dean of the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/05/new-on-the-podcast-dr-dariush-mozaffarian-on-creating-healthier-american-diets-and-nutrition-programs/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
How is localized, diverse seed security vital to our food security and national security?<p>"As the world slowly rebuilds and recovers, we all have a fresh opportunity to regenerate and share a greater diversity of seeds—and to honor and return benefits to traditional seed keepers from many cultures. We would be remiss not to sow true, place-based seed sovereignty in every region and among every culture on this planet, well before a future crisis could uproot us again."</p><p>— Gary Paul Nabhan, ethnobotanist and co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/07/a-call-for-community-based-seed-diversity-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
How has the COVID-19 crisis played into forces of industrialization threatening Iranian smallholder farmers?<p>"There is an irony in expecting governments to kick into action in an emergency to support people and production systems that they actively undermine in the best of times. This shows that COVID-19 is not impacting food systems in a vacuum, but is in fact a shock to an ongoing struggle for power and survival. Like many smallholder producers worldwide who make a massive contribution to food security, pastoralists struggle against forces that seek to upend their way of life in favor of industrial food systems."</p><p>— Maryam Rahmanian & Nahid Naghizadeh of the Centre for Sustainable Development in Tehran, Iran. <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-020-10093-x" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p>
How do we encourage young Africans to stay on farms and improve agriculture on the continent?<p>"I would argue that what is missing in the [agricultural] sector is those young people who have access to productive resources and have the knowledge and the skillset that can help improve productivity. … If we want young people to stay in agriculture, then we have to make agriculture profitable for those young people. And for agriculture to be profitable, it has to be productive. Giving them access to those productive resources that will allow them to increase the productivity of agriculture will be critical."</p><p>— Felix Kwame Yeboah, social science researcher and professor of international development at Michigan State University. <a href="https://foodtank.com/news/2020/06/new-on-the-podcast-dr-felix-kwame-yeboah-on-youth-powered-agricultural-development/" target="_blank">Listen to more here</a>.</p>
Finally, what will it take to help us use suffering as a springboard into liberation?<p>"We're all suffering. But at the end of the day, folks, what makes us strong is our belief in one another, that we will come together to help one another get back on our feet. … This is our time, this is our moment to not go back to politics and Wall Street, but to move forward. It's more about people than profits. This is our time to move forward and change the system."</p><p>— Karen Washington, farmer and founder of Rise and Root Farm. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=227538081894588&ref=watch_permalink" target="_blank">Watch more here</a></p>
By Katie Howell
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.
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By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz
With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.