2016 has been an exciting year for us, and based on the number of amazing organizations we have had the privilege of featuring this year, we can’t help getting excited about 2017. Efforts to increase access to healthy and local foods, support farmers’ livelihoods, and improve the overall sustainability of the global food system are ongoing and continuously evolving thanks to businesses, organizations, and individuals committed to building a better food future. As we wrap up the year, we have crafted a small preview of what is to come. Here are 117 organizations to watch in 2017:
412 Food Rescue: Servicing Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, 412 Food Rescue is a community-based effort to end hunger and reduce food waste. This organization collects fresh, healthy food destined for the landfill and directly distributes it to community organizations that serve those in need. Working with food retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, universities, and other food providers, 412 Food Rescue utilizes technology that aggregates and matches food donors and beneficiaries, relying on a community of volunteers to transport food between locations.
AccelFoods: Located in New York City, this food industry accelerator invests in small food and beverage companies that are disrupting the food industry, allowing non-conventional thinking and entrepreneurship within the food system to take shape.
AeroFarms: An old building that once housed the largest indoor paintball facility in Newark, New Jersey, has been transformed into an indoor vertical farm. At 69,000-square-feet, AeroFarms grows high-yielding crops using minimal inputs, providing locally sourced foods to the community while protecting the environment. A growing algorithm controls the level of light, temperature, and nutrients applied to plants, and the year-round growing cycle allows AeroFarms to be 75-times more productive than an average outdoor farm.
AgChat Foundation: The AgChat Foundation of Hopedale, Illinois, is a volunteer-run organization connecting consumers to their food by providing a social media platform for farmers and ranchers. Their online resources and conferences provide farmers, ranchers, and those interested in advocating for agriculture with the skills and tools they need to successfully communicate and tell their stories via social media, in person, and in context to legislation.
AgroSolidaria: AgroSolidaria is headquartered in Boyacá, Colombia, and strives to develop solidarity economies which emphasize food industry, tourism, and artisanal lines. Among its many initiatives, AgroSolidaria runs a National Rural Inn Network which introduces travelers to the unique culture, environment, and people of rural regions in Colombia. The organization also operates a School of Agricultural Mutuality, which aims to promote solidarity economies through interactive and collaborative processes.
Akshayakalpa: Akshayakalpa is a private-sector initiative based in Tiptur, India, that is striving to elevate Indian agricultural production practices from current subsistence levels into entrepreneurial opportunities for rural youth. Working closely with village youth and farmers to create profitable and sustainable rural agricultural enterprises, Akshayakalpa has launched integrated organic dairy programs, paving the way in organic milk production and processing within the Indian dairy sector.
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA): AFSA was launched in 2011 and is a pan-African organization which joins networks and farmer organizations. The initiative converges these stakeholders under one roof, with the goal of influencing African policies to facilitate just and sustainable food systems. The AFSA recently won the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize for its work with promoting food sovereignty, agroecology, and social justice.
AME Foundation: The AME Foundation works to improve livelihoods of rural Indians through low-external-input sustainable agriculture. The organization works as a resource organization, to enable regional initiatives in strengthening rural communities. The AME Foundation also operates farmer field schools and empowers rural youth in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The initiative helps to maintain the LEISA India magazine, which disseminates 0research and information about sustainable agriculture and natural resources management.
Amp Your Good: This New Jersey-based start-up has harnessed the power of technology, radically improved food drives by replacing the traditional physical collection model with an online donation model. This new kind of food drive allows groups to organize campaigns to collect healthy, fresh food as opposed to only canned or non-perishable goods. People or organizations can host a food drive through the platform at no cost; supporters choose the food item they would like to donate and pay online. At the end of the drive, all the food is delivered directly to the organization supported by the drive.
AmpleHarvest: Based in New Jersey, this organization helps America’s 42 million home and community gardeners combat food waste and hunger by enabling them to donate their extra produce to a local food pantry. This organization utilizes web-based technology to match growers with local organizations servicing the food insecure. With over 8,000 participating food pantries, gardeners can search the AmpleHarvest database by entering their zip code to find all registered pantries within a specified distance.
Amrita SeRVe: Based in Kerala, India, Amrita SeRVe works with rural Indian communities to develop self-sustaining villages in areas of health, agriculture, education, water, sanitation, infrastructure, and income generation. The organization was founded in 2013 and seeks to revitalize the world’s largest rural population and reverse the adverse effects of the Green Revolution. Amrita SeRVe promotes agroecological practices such as seed-saving and minimal dependence on chemical inputs.
BarnRaiser: Barnraiser is a crowdfunding platform and community that revolves around sustainable and healthy food, helping those involved in various sectors of the good-food movement access funding for a wide-range of projects. This web-based platform connects innovators of sustainable food and farming with investors, boasting a 65 percent success rate. Barnraiser welcomes any project that has a tangible goal, is seeking to raise at least US$2,000, and moves the needle forward toward healthy, sustainable, and humane food and farming.
Bootstrap Compost: Serving the Greater Boston area, Bootstrap Compost is a residential and commercial food scrap pickup service. Partnering with local farms, Bootstrap diverts thousands of pounds of organic material from landfills every week. Each subscriber receives a portion of compost for personal gardening projects, and all remaining compost is donated to local schools and community gardens.
Bowery Project: Bowery Project builds and manages mobile urban farms on vacant lots in the city of Toronto, Canada. The organization uses milk crates to grow their crops, making for easy assembly and relocation between lots. The mobile nature of the project allows for broad engagement within the community as well as the opportunity to grow local food for an ever-changing group of restaurants, charities, and residents.
Bristol Food Policy Council: As the United Kingdom’s first city food policy council, the organization has worked to improve Bristol’s food system and ensure that all residents have access to food that is good for the people, environment, and economy. The council’s policy work has helped the city to secure the 2016 Sustainable Cities Award, as well as the European Green Capital of 2015. The Bristol Food Policy Council recently put forth a Good Food Action Plan, which coordinates a path toward achieving the city’s food goals.
Brooklyn Foodworks: Brooklyn Foodworks serves as a supportive platform from which up-and-coming food entrepreneurs can learn, launch, and further develop their businesses. In addition to providing commercial kitchen spaces and culinary equipment for its members, Brooklyn Foodworks hosts classes, workshops, and business mentoring opportunities that provide support in every area of running a food company.
Center for a Livable Future: The Center is based at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and works to show how diet, food production, and the environment are all connected. It works with professors, students, researchers, and communities to find ways to “build a healthier, more equitable, and resilient food system.”
Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS): In affiliation with Vermont Law School, CAFS offers the most comprehensive sustainable food, agriculture, and environmental law program in the country, committed to training the next generation of food and agricultural advocates. Based in South Royalton, Vermont, CAFS operates on the core belief that complex food system problems require creative, systemic solutions. The Center partners with local, regional, national, and international partners to produce legal tools that advance smart market and policy initiatives geared toward improving the food system and supporting the new food movement.
Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD): CIKOD is based in Accra, Ghana, and uses food to revitalize native communities and institutions. The organization works with indigenous organizations and clan networks to pass on native knowledge to youth and facilitate agricultural knowledge transfer among women farmers. CIKOD also organizes traditional food fairs to highlight nutritious, local foods that can be used to diversify family diets and farming systems.
Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA): Headquartered in Tehran, Iran, CENESTA works in Iran and Southwest Asia to empower indigenous and local communities by promoting nature conservation, community rights, and sustainable livelihoods. The organization launched Iran’s first participatory breeding projects, putting farmers as the primary producers of new seed varieties. CENESTA also introduced the Community Conservation Resilience Initiative, which provides indicators for Iranian communities to assess their resilience and develop plans accordingly.
Chapul: Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Chapul is an energy bar company that utilizes a unique ingredient—crickets. Owner Pat Crowley starting funding for the company through a Kickstarter campaign and then went forward to win additional funding through Shark Tank in 2015. Crickets are a complete protein that is high in iron and B12, needing eight percent of the feed and water necessary to produce the same amount of protein from cows.
Community Agroecology Network (CAN): CAN is based in Santa Cruz, California, and uses agroecology-based research and action to improve farmer livelihoods in Mexico and Central America. The organization offers an agroecology shortcourse and follows a participatory action research methodology. CAN also works with coffee farmer cooperatives to produce an alternative trade model, called AgroEco® Coffee.
Cooking Up Cultures: Cooking Up Cultures is a nonprofit organization in Austin, Texas, which uses cooking as a means to lower language and cultural barriers and to connect Austin’s diverse communities. Since 2010, the organization has worked with 350 participants of all ages. Cooking Up Cultures’ programs use group cooking to teach English, Spanish, French, and Chinese language and cuisine.
Cookisto: Headquartered in London, England, and serving members in Athens, Greece, and some areas in the United Kingdom, this Greek organization established an online marketplace connecting interested consumers with homemade local foods prepared by home cooks. This service provides those without the time, knowledge, or ability to cook for themselves a nutritious, home-cooked meal while allowing the chefs to earn some extra income.
Copia: To date, this San Francisco organization has recovered more than 830,000 pounds of food and fed more than 690,000 people. Copia uses an algorithm-based app to match food donors to needy organizations, streamlining the process of local food donation.
Cowlar: Based in Pakistan, Cowlar makes tracking devices for cows and buffaloes. The devices utilize motion sensors that track the cow’s activity and core temperature, relaying this data via text message back to the farmer and allowing them to better detect disease and productivity. This technology can increase milk yields by as much as 15 percent, allowing small farmers to earn as much as US$500 per cow each month through gained productivity.
EARTH University: This Costa Rican-based University offers four-year undergraduate programs in agricultural sciences and natural resources management. The students come from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and 70 percent of the students receive full scholarships from the university. Since its start in 1990, EARTH University has educated 1,900 students from more than 40 countries. Many of the graduates return to their country of origin to improve their social, environmental, and agricultural systems.
Eat Retreat: Eat Retreat brings together food leaders from all disciplines around the country to share ideas, create relationships, and cultivate inspiration. The four-day retreat consists of collaborative cooking, eating, and dialogue through workshops and human interaction. This year’s retreat is taking place at Lake Delevan in Wisconsin.
Farm Commons: This Minnesota-based nonprofit legal services organization launched in 2012. Farm Commons is an online forum connecting farmers and attorneys, fostering discussions and connections, and providing farmers with the legal tools, high-quality legal education, and transactional legal assistance necessary to protect and sustain their agricultural endeavors.
Farm to Institution New England (FINE): The FINE network is headquartered in Hartland, Vermont, and launched in 2010 with the goal of cultivating interlinkages between community institutions—such as universities, prisons, and daycares—through a farm-to-institution movement. FINE’s Farm & Sea to Campus Project connects local food producers to colleges and universities, and its New England Food Processors’ Community of Practice helps to streamline the processing of local vegetables at processing facilities.
FarmRaiser: FarmRaiser is a healthy fundraising company that connects local farms and food artisans to schools and organizations raising money for important causes. This company is reinventing school fundraisers—participating students sell healthy, local products instead of the usual products (junk food, wrapping paper, etc.) while advocating for and learning about the importance of supporting local food systems.
FarmersWeb: FarmersWeb is an online portal that connects local farmers and producers with wholesale buyers, schools, country clubs, and institutional kitchens. Directly connecting farmers with interested buyers allows farmers to reduce distribution costs, provide fresher food, and facilitate more local sourcing overall. The website also offers subscription tools for marketing and managing orders, deliveries, and financials.
Farmigo: Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Farmigo provides a cloud-based software system for farmers to manage their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) businesses. Working with farmers and food hubs ranging in size from 50 members to 5,000 members, Farmigo creates CSA Management Software according to the producer’s operational needs, reducing the burden of administrative tasks by streamlining communication and payment tools.
Farmshare Austin: Farmshare Austin strives to improve the food security of its community by following a whole-systems approach. Its educational programs help to equip aspiring farmers with proper training to run their sustainable farming operations. It also manages a fleet of mobile markets that bring local organic produce to the Austin community through food trucks.
FIAN International: FIAN International works in 50 countries to shine a light on human rights violations, particularly regarding food. The organization analyzes and documents violations and mobilizes governments to take action. FIAN organizes its work by food-related human rights issues, such as land grabbing, agrofuels, peasants’ rights, and climate change.
Fleet Farming: Fleet Farming converts lawns into urban farm plots that establish hyper-local, community-based food systems in Orlando, Florida, and Oakland, California. Using bike-powered fleets to transport locally grown produce from their “farmlettes” to local farmers markets and restaurants, the Fleet Farming model eliminates fossil fuels and chemical pesticides from the food production and transportation process, supporting a more efficient, less pollutive, and less wasteful food system.
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network – (FANRPAN): FANRPAN is a multi-stakeholder, multi-national policy network that supports the development and implementation of better food, agriculture, and national resource policies in Africa. Established in 1994, this organization strengthens food security in Africa by developing partnerships between governmental bodies and civil society, supporting demand-driven policy research and analysis, and fostering policy analysis, dialogue, and advocacy. Active in 17 African countries, FANRPAN’s network includes universities, research institutes, farmer groups, and other civil society organizations.
Food Cowboy: Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Food Cowboy’s mission is to end hunger by ending food waste, and to protect the environment by keeping organic material out of landfills. To do so, Food Cowboy connects for-profit distributors with rejected shipments of fresh food, destined for the landfill, to charities and food banks. The company recently released an app that alerts its roster for 400 charities whenever a shipment is rejected, streamlining the whole coordination project and keeping tabs on details regarding loading docks, refrigeration, and other equipment.
Food Policy Action (FPA): FPA was founded in 2012 to educate voters on food issues debated in Washington, and to hold legislators accountable for their votes that have an effect on food and farming. This organization promotes positive food policies through educational outreach and publication of the National Food Policy Scorecard, which tracks the votes of members of Congress and their sponsorship of bills related to a range of food issues.
Food Rescue: Based in Indiana, Food Rescue is a national food recovery organization focused on eliminating school food waste by reclaiming the unopened and unpeeled school food items that children choose not to eat. Since 2007, this organization has connected more than 600 schools and restaurants with food pantries, resulting in almost a million meals annually fed to those in need. Food Rescue fosters connections between different organizations through advocacy and education, providing initial logistical support to help facilitate solutions among the participating companies.
Food+Tech Connect: Headquartered in New York, New York, this online platform connects, inspires, informs, and accelerates the good food innovation movement. Through their website, newsletters, and consulting services, Food+Tech Connect helps people understand the top food tech, investment, and innovation trends. Additionally, Food+Tech Connect provides online and in-person training courses to cultivate better business skills.
FoodTrace: Based in Chicago, Illinois, FoodTrace make software tools to connect food distributors, local farms, and specialty food manufacturers with wholesale food buyers, such as restaurants and grocers. FoodTrace connects businesses and individuals with technology that increases discoverability, sustainable choices, and improved quality along the supply chain.
FoodWhat: FoodWhat is based in Santa Cruz, California, and works to empower low-income teenagers through food and agriculture education. The organization uses peer-to-peer learning to facilitate leadership development and job training. Since its start in 2007, FoodWhat has helped 83 percent of its alumni to secure employment, and 79 percent are currently enrolled in college or in the process of applying.
Forested: Forested is a ten-acre forest garden that located in Bowie, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. The garden follows a permaculture model and works to understand and develop feasibility for agroforestry as an alternative and locally appropriate mode of food production. Forested founders Lincoln Smith and Ben Friton work with local resources and ecosystems to provide food that is indigenous to the Maryland region. The organization offers tours, workshops, social dinners, and garden design services.
Foundation for Young Farmers (F4YKenya): F4YKenya works to grow interest in young Kenyans to become farmers. The organization’s beekeeping project aims to scale up beekeeping technology, provide a diverse source of income for youth, preserve biodiversity, and empower participants to become entrepreneurs. The project teaches students about beehive production, and collaboration with organizations allow F4YKenya to process, label, package, and market the honey.
Genetic Resource, Ecology, Energy, and Nutrition Foundation (GREEN Foundation): The GREEN Foundation focuses on economic, ecological, political, cultural, and women’s empowerment aspects of farming communities in India. Based in Bangalore, the Foundation works with women farmers to strengthen local seed banks, such the TheruBeedi Community Seed Bank. The banks grant farmers access to seeds and preserve traditional varieties.
Genuine Provisions: Founded in 2014 by GROW North Texas, Genuine Provisions is a food hub located in Dallas, Texas, that seeks to efficiently connect North Texas farmers to chefs looking to source local food. By providing a central facility to drop off and distribute food, Genuine Provisions allows farmers to sell to many sources through only one delivery.
GRAIN: GRAIN is a nonprofit based out of Barcelona, Spain, that performs research and networks at both the regional and international level to promote community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. By tracking and analyzing barriers that are impacting small farmers and rural communities’ control and access to agricultural biodiversity, the organization works to develop strategies and capacity sharing to change the system.
Green City Growers (GCG): A certified B Corporation, Green City Growers operates in Somerville, Massachusetts, transforming unused space into urban farms, providing clients with access to nutritious food, and revitalizing the community. This company partners with families, schools, restaurants, businesses, and municipalities to help them install and maintain urban organic farms in unconventional spaces. Additionally, GCG offers comprehensive garden education programs for adults and children and runs an Urban Agriculture Ambassador Program.
Green Restaurant Association (GRA): The GRA is an international nonprofit organization encouraging restaurants to green their operations by using transparent, science-based certification standards. Operating in 47 States and Canada, the GRA works with restaurants, manufacturers, and distributors to green the restaurant industry, striving to help restaurants become more environmentally sustainable by focusing on seven categories: energy, water, waste, food, chemicals, disposables, and building.
Green Shoots Foundation: The Green Shoots Foundation is a London-based nonprofit organization which works with local partners in Asia to plan and implement projects as well as facilitate knowledge exchange among participants. For instance, in Cambodia and the Philippines, the Foundation promotes sustainable farming and rural entrepreneurship. Green Shoots works with Enfants du Mekong in Cambodia to run the Agriculture Skills in Public Schools (ASPUS) Project, which focuses on showing young people the importance of rural economies.
Greensgrow: Greensgrow is a community Idea Farm that includes a CSA, plant nursery, urban farm and farmstand, and community kitchen. Using urban agriculture and community greening, it educates and encourages Philadelphia’s neighborhoods in social entrepreneurship initiatives. In August, Greensgrow launched Greensgrow West as a secondary location to allow for further growth of their ideas.
Greyston Bakery: Located in Southwest Yonkers, New York, Greyston Bakery is a B Certified Corporation and social enterprise that provides employment, skills, and resources to residents by sustainably baking brownies. The Bakery practices an Open Hiring Policy that provides employment opportunities to any individual, disregarding their background and work history. Its model uses business as a tool to make a positive social and environmental impact, while also sparking community development and empowering individuals to lift themselves out of poverty.
Growing Power: Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Growing Power is a nonprofit and land trust committed to growing people, growing minds, and growing community. By providing hands-on training, on-site demonstrations, outreach, and technical support, Growing Power builds community food systems that offer equal access to quality, healthy foods to all members of diverse communities.
Hands on the Land for Food Sovereignty: The Hands on the Land campaign is composed of 16 partner organizations, social movements, and research activists. The campaign works in the European Union to raise awareness and action for food sovereignty, using evidence-based research, policy advocacy, public events, and education. Hands on the Land also provides online educational resources, such as publications and infographics.
HarvestPort: This California startup created an online marketplace where farmers or agribusinesses can rent their unused farming equipment to other farmers. A farming organization that wants to borrow equipment submits a request to HarvestPort including the type of equipment, location, and price, and parties lending the equipment provide their price and location. HarvestPort then matches the parties based on those preferences and is responsible for invoicing the borrower for the lease, tracking the equipment, and ensuring accountability of the deal.
HATponics: Based in Rossville, Georgia, HATponics is a leading aquaponics farm, research hub, and sustainable agriculture education provider. On a mission to feed 20 million people by 2020, this organization installs portable aquaponics farms all over the world, providing jobs and education.
Health Care Without Harm: This global organization champions the Healthy Food in Health Care program within the U.S. and Canada, directing the purchasing power, expertise, and voice of the healthcare sector towards creating a more sustainable food system. Health Care Without Harm partners with more than 1,000 hospitals across North America to source and serve foods produced, processed, and transported in ways that protect human and environmental health.
Heifer International: Founded in 1994 and based in Little Rock, Arkansas, Heifer International is a global nonprofit working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based community development. This organization has provided livestock and training to millions of families in more than 125 countries, helping them to improve their lives and move toward greater self-reliance.
Heirloom Seed Project: The Heirloom Seed Project is run at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Maine, and teaches teens how to support biodiversity by growing, collecting, and saving more than 800 heirloom seed varieties. The initiative includes two acres of gardens, two greenhouses, a seed bank, and a Living History Arboretum which highlights tree species from historic sites and battlefields. The project hopes to implement a seed-saving horticulture curriculum in other Maine schools.
Himmelbeet: Himmelbeet is a Berlin-based organization which connects city residents through gardening and cooking. One of the organization’s projects pairs primary school children with senior citizens to facilitate intergenerational knowledge transfer. Himmelbeet also runs weekly baking days and cooking workshops for young school children.
International Fund for Agricultural Development: Established in 1977 after the World Food Conference, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) works to eliminate poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in rural populations around the world. By planning and implementing agricultural development projects in developing countries, IFAD invests in rural people, helping to raise their productivity and incomes and ultimately secure an improved and sustainable quality of life.
Korean Women’s Peasant Association (KWPA): Founded in 1989, the KWPA seeks to improve the status of women farmers in Korea while leading the country’s food sovereignty movement. KWP is working to create local and ecologically friendly agricultural supply chains and has organized native seed banks to protect against corporate control of the food system.
L.A. Kitchen: L.A. Kitchen is a teaching kitchen, reclamation center for wasted food, and feeding facility for low-income senior citizens. This organization reclaims healthy, local food otherwise destined for the landfill and trains unemployed men and women to cook, providing healthy meals for fellow community members. L.A. Kitchen partners with local gleaning groups, who collect cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables from farmers markets and produce wholesalers and deliver them to the 20,000-square-foot facility just north of downtown L.A.
Longtable Project: The Longtable Project is a social enterprise that supports the restaurant industry in Cape Town, South Africa, providing a forum through which these restaurants become more sustainable in sourcing food, using resources, and connecting with the community. When a restaurant wants to shift their practices towards more sustainable ones, Longtable Project assists with strategic direction and implementation in 10 areas: branding, design, restaurant design, food strategy, menu analysis, energy audits, waste audits, staff training, service design thinking, and social media.
Mad Agriculture: This company produces animal feed, harnessing the nutrient-recycling abilities of insects to turn food waste into a protein-rich feed supplement. Located in Boulder, Colorado, Mad Agriculture seeks to combat two major problems within the current food system by cultivating Black Soldier Fly Larva, feeding the larva using commercial food waste, and producing a healthy feed source for chickens and fish.
Mad River Food Hub: Located in Waitsfield, Vermont, and servicing the Mad River Valley region, this food hub is a fully equipped, licensed vegetable processing and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected meat processing facility. Each processing room is available for rent by the day, and the facility also offers dry, refrigerated, and frozen storage, as well as weekly distribution services to retailers in the surrounding areas. This Hub supports small-scale producers in the area, helping to build a resilient, local food system.
Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative: A Maine owned and operated cooperative, Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative was founded in 2015 to provide a local alternative to corporate, institutional food service companies. The first farm-institutional cooperative, it works to create a sustainable food system and promote statewide economic growth through institutional purchasing power. By creating forward and transparent contracts with Maine institutions like universities, hospitals, and government agencies, the Cooperative supports local farmers and fishermen and helps to keep profits within the state.
MIT OpenAg Initiative: With a mission to bring out the farmer in everyone, OpenAg is building an “open-source ecosystem of platforms” and tools to increase the transparency, education, and collaborative experimentation of farmers. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this initiative hopes to improve the accessibility of agriculture by using technology to break down barriers of entry.
Moisson Montreal: Moisson Montreal collects and distributes food donations to more than 250 community organizations throughout Montreal. It also works to reduce food waste and improve food security throughout Quebec through The Food Recovery Program in Supermarkets (FRPS). Working in partnership with the Marcelle and Jean Couteau Foundation, the program works to recover unsold foodstuffs from supermarkets and deliver it to community organizations in need.
Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action – Ethiopia (MELCA-Ethiopia): MELCA-Ethiopia is a member of the AgriCultures Network and works to preserve and revitalize local cultures. Based in Addis Ababa, the organization recognizes the close connection between traditional ecological knowledge and resilient food systems, as well as the importance of intergenerational knowledge exchange. MELCA-Ethiopia publishes the Wegel magazine, which has been operating since December 2015.
National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC): NYFC is based in Hudson, New York, and engages and advocates for young farmers in the U.S. The organization acts as a political voice for young farmers, with an extensive political platform which carves a space for young and new farmers in the food system. For instance, NYFC pushes for policies which provide tax credits for selling land to beginning farmers and policies which provide student loan forgiveness for young and new farmers.
Navdanya: Headquartered in New Delhi, India, this movement works to preserve the biodiversity of India’s food heritage through their Community Food Banks. After natural disasters, the organization delivers seeds to farmers in India and Bhutan. So far, Navdanya has conserved more than 5,000 crop varieties.
Oldways: Oldways is a Boston-based organization which works to connect eaters with their food heritages. For instance, the organization’s Taste of African Heritage brings eaters together in celebration of traditions from the African Diaspora. Oldways believes that citizens can best cultivate an appreciation and understanding of local cuisines by experiencing the culinary traditions at their geographical source. The organization offers Culiniarias, which are multi-day tours of places, such as Greece, that have rich and deep culinary cultures.
Organic Center: The Organic Center is a nonprofit with the mission of conducting and convening research on the environmental and health benefits of organic agriculture and food. The Center works with farmers, universities, research institutions, and federal agencies to find ways to improve and transform the food system. In addition, the Center hopes to empower both consumers and policy makers to make choices that will improve the health of the environment as well as public health.
P2P Foundation: The Netherlands-based P2P Foundation uses its P2P Lab, Commons Transitions, and P2P Wiki to advance conversations about commons-based peer-to-peer ingenuity. The organization acts as a networker to connect various initiatives which are working to shift from an “intellectual property regime” to a “universal common property regime.” P2P Foundation uses advocacy, research, and on-the-ground networking to promote bottom-up governance, cooperative peer production, and open source, circular economies.
Paraiban Semi-Arid Articulation (ASA-PB): ASA-PB converges civil society organizations to promote locally and culturally appropriate sustainable development in the semi-arid region of Paraiba, Brazil. The coalition’s work has helped to bolster decentralized farmer-controlled seed networks as an alternative to the increasing threat of seed privatization. ASA-PB is driven by participatory and collective knowledge construction, guided by principles of agroecology, modern communication, solidarity economy, contextualized education, and food safety.
Philabundance: A member of Feeding America, Philabundance works to fight hunger and malnutrition in nine counties in the Delaware Valley Region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As a result of its eight neighborhood distribution programs that include gleaning projects to LunchBox and community kitchen programs, the organization directly provides nutritious meals to more than 90,000 people per week.
Prolinnova: Prolinnova is an international, multi-stakeholder NGO that promotes local innovation processes in ecologically-oriented agriculture and natural resource management. Working with smallholder farming communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Prolinnova seeks to involve local men and women farmers in agricultural research and development to achieve food security by developing better ways of farming.
Project Green Fork (PGF): When owner Margot McNeely discovered that the average restaurant produces 1.4 pounds of trash per meal, averaging about 25 tons of garbage per year, she created PGF to shift local dining culture. Operating in Memphis, Tennessee, PGF has certified more than 70 restaurants that have adopted programs that facilitate recycling and composting, eliminate the use of polystyrene cups and containers, reduce energy and water consumption, use fewer chemicals, and work towards pollution prevention.
Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Puente): Puente shines a spotlight on the potential for local, diverse markets to boost human health and food access. The organization works in the Oaxaca region of Mexico and focuses on the integration of amaranth into local food supply chains because this grain is indigenous to the community. Puente has worked with more than 6,000 Oaxacan families to incorporate amaranth into daily diets.
Punta Mona: This off-the-grind, 85-acre permaculture farm, educational center, and eco-lodge is located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Punta Mona exposes visitors to the ideals of Permaculture, providing education about sustainability, conservation of energy, and waste reduction, offering Permaculture Design Courses, Permaculture Apprenticeships, and Yoga and Permaculture Leadership Training.
Purple Pitchfork: Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Purple Pitchfork is an educational and outreach organization dedicated to helping farmers and their farm businesses throughout the United States and Canada. This organization supports farmers, providing consulting and coaching in the areas of speaking, writing, marketing and business plan development through webinars, full or multi-day courses, and podcasts.
ReGrained: ReGrained repurposes grains spent within the beer brewing process into nutritious baked goods. Partnering with local breweries in the San Francisco Bay area, this company uses grains previously destined for the landfill as premium baking ingredients, partnering with local farmers and creating recipes that pair these grains with other simple and organic ingredients.
ReFED: ReFED is a collaboration of over thirty business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing food waste in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2030. In March 2016, ReFED released the Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste—the first-ever national economic study of food waste aimed at providing a feasible guide for action. This report highlighted 27 of the most cost-effective ways to reduce food waste based on societal economic value, business profit potential, and other non-financial impacts.
Asociación Red Colombiana de Agricultura Biológica (RECAB): Based in Medellin, Colombia, RECAB works to promote fair trade and to minimize farmers’ dependence on chemical inputs. The organization engages in policy advocacy through the use of participatory strategies and is working to develop an alternative distribution system of organic products.
The Rodale Institute: Located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the Rodale Institute provides agricultural field research and outreach for best farming practices. The organization believes that healthy soil leads to healthy food, which in turn leads to healthy people. By performing experiments on its farm, the institute’s research focuses on improving soil health, crop quality, and yields to simplify and improve farming methods and management practices.
Roots of Change: Roots of Change supports the food movement by working to build a resilient food system in California. Located in Oakland, the organization works in close collaboration with the California Food Policy Council, providing research and legislative activism at both the state and federal level.
Save the Food: The Natural Resource Defense Council and the Ad Council have launched a national campaign that is working to combat food waste by targeting U.S. consumers. By raising awareness about the fact that consumers contribute to about forty percent of food thrown away, Save the Food aims to show consumers that they have an important role in reducing the amount of food wasted. Included in their many campaign outreach methods is their PSA video, “The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry,” which follows the life of a strawberry from the field to consumer’s refrigerator.
Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA): SEWA is an organization and movement based in India that works to organize women workers who are currently working in unprotected labor markets into full employment. An overlap of the labor, cooperative, and women’s movements, SEWA recognizes that woman’s growth, development, and employment depends on stable income and food security and therefore provides capacity-building and direction for the economic organizing to its members.
Schnittstelle: Schnittstelle is a Berlin-based organization which recognized that organic retailers were growing in size and scope, similar to conventional retailers. In response, Schnittstelle created a retail cooperative and is cultivating short local food chains. The organization incorporates agrobiodiversity into its box schemes, saying that “the best way to achieve its conservation is by eating it.” The box contains products such as open-pollinated vegetables, fruit juice from heirloom varieties, and traditional seeds from small plant breeders. According to Jens Herbold, a founder of Schnittstelle, “the Biodiversity box scheme seeks to raise awareness of how our food choices greatly influence agrobiodiversity.”
ShareAction: This global responsible investment charity seeks to harness the power of the investment system to bring about positive change for people and the planet. Currently, ShareAction has partnered with the Jeremy Coller Foundation to form The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return Initiative (FAIRR), working with investors involved in intensive livestock production practices. FAIRR aims to close the knowledge gap among investors concerning the material investment risks and opportunities connected to intensive livestock farming and poor animal welfare standards.
Slow Food International: Slow Food International is a grassroots organization headquartered in Bra, Italy dedicated to preserving local food cultures and traditions. Believing that food should be good, clean, and fair, the organization works in more than 160 countries to educate the world on the value of slow food and how the foods people choose to eat impacts culture, politics, agriculture, and the environment.
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE): SEARICE has its headquarters in Quezon City in the Philippines and works to promote sustainable practices and use of seeds. The organization conducts policy research and advocacy for the responsible use of plant genetic resources and disseminates information and experiences to policymakers and the general public. It works in Cambodia, the Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Bhutan, and Thailand to improve the genetic diversity of rice and cereals. SEARICE emphasizes participatory and community-based approaches to improving access, conservation, and use of seeds.
Soil Surfer: Based in San Diego, California, SoilSurfer.com is an online platform supporting urban agricultural networks and helping urban farmers gain access to local grow spaces. Applying a peer-to-peer sharing model similar to Airbnb or Couchsurfing, Soil Surfer connects local urban farmers with property owners wishing the rent out their unused plots of land. This service is free to sign up for and use, providing benefits for the landowner, the urban farmer, and the community as a whole.
Square Roots: Co-founded by Kimball Musk, Square Roots is an urban farming accelerator that builds vertical hydroponic farms in shipping containers. Set to launch in New York City in late 2016, the accelerator will also train young entrepreneurs to grow local, fresh foods, equipping them with the necessary experiences and mindsets to create responsible businesses that will strengthen communities and innovate the future of food.
Sustainable Business Network: Headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, Sustainable Business Network has been a tremendous force behind New Zealand’s food movement. This organization inspires and supports many businesses and organizations throughout the country, bringing organizations together at regional food meetings, advocating at the policy level, and bringing together various players within the food system.
Sustainable Food Trust: Based, in the United Kingdom, Sustainable Food Trust aims to promote international cooperation between those involved in food production by exploring production systems that cause the least possible amount of harm to humans and the environment. This organization believes that everyone has a right to information and resources; advocating for research that explores deeper ecological connections within natural environments and that communicates complex scientific findings in understandable and accessible ways.
Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity: The Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity convenes public and private sector organizations to improve livelihoods and food sovereignty through the strengthening of agricultural biodiversity. Based in Dar es Salaam, the Alliance has recently been advocating for the use of the precautionary principle in the introduction and use of genetic engineering in food production.
The Daily Table: As a not-for-profit retail store, The Daily Table works with an extensive network of supermarkets and food producers to obtain their excess foods and make them accessible to Boston’s Dorchester community. Able to sell food and produce at lower prices, the store aims to both reduce food waste and make choosing and eating healthy foods more convenient and affordable for its customers.
The Food Heritage Foundation (FHF): FHF works to cultivate conviviality among people with ties to Lebanese culture by celebrating the country’s rich food heritage. The Beirut-based foundation operates a mobile farmers’ market called Souk aal Souk. The market travels to university campuses and provides nutritious and traditional Lebanese foods to students. Akleh is a community kitchen initiative of the FHF, offering work and support for Lebanese women and small-scale farmers and producers.
The Good Food Institute (GFI): Located in Washington, D.C., this nonprofit provides support to companies working to create plant-based and lab-grown versions of traditional animal products. Involved in a variety of initiatives, GFI hosts events to attract scientists and entrepreneurs to the plant-based space; provides business, marketing, and regulatory support to food start-ups; and works to get more sustainable products into restaurants, retailers, and institutions.
The Green Exchange: The Green Exchange works in Malmö, Sweden, to stimulate conversations and different perspectives about all things concerned with sustainability. Since its establishment in 2015, the organization has developed podcasts which provide information, updates, multi-stakeholder debates, and case studies related to bio-waste, agriculture, circular economies, urban resilience, and more.
The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative: This Arkansas-based initiative strives to foster an appreciation for native food heritage. The initiative engages in outreach with local tribal governments, food producers, and businesses. It also engages youth by encouraging enrollment in land grant universities and hosting an annual Summer Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Food and Agriculture.
The Kitchen Community: Driven by the mission of strengthening communities by accelerating the real food at scale, The Kitchen Community builds outdoor classrooms, called Learning Gardens, in schools throughout the United States. By connecting children with real food, this organization based in Boulder, Colorado, aims to increase their academic achievement and increase community involvement and engagement with real food.
The Kohala Center: Based in Waimea, Hawaii, the Kohala Center advances research, education, and conservation focusing on ecosystem health and food and energy self-reliance. The Center taps into research and ancestral knowledge to bolster rural communities, while also generating a “knowledge-based economy.” The organization runs numerous programs, such as the Beginning Farmer-Rancher Development Program. This program aims to minimize dependency on food imports by supporting new farmers and promoting jobs in agriculture among youth.
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA): MOFGA is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the United States. Located in Unity, Maine, it supports farmers and gardeners in growing organic foods, protecting the environment, increasing food production, and educating consumers on the value of healthy food and sustainable farming practices. In addition to offering loan programs to organic farmers and various apprenticeship and educational opportunities, MOFGA organizes the annual Common Ground Country Fair to celebrate and showcase the best of Maine’s local agriculture and rural artisans.
Les Cuistots Migrateurs: The French organization (“The Migratory Chefs,” in English) launched in February 2016 to change the way Parisian’s see and interact with immigrants. Catering numerous events throughout Paris, the organization gives immigrant chefs opportunities to cook and showcase their cuisines. The events are designed to foster interaction between guests and the immigrant chefs to demonstrate that they can bring something positive.
The National Farm to School Network (NFSN): NFSN is an information, advocacy, and networking hub for communities working to bring local food sourcing and food and agricultural education into school systems and early care and education settings. Committed to growing the farm-to-school movement, NFSN provides vision, leadership, and support at the state, regional, and national levels. NFSN is involved with shaping the federal, state, and local policies that affect a community’s ability to implement farm-to-school practices, especially the pending Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill.
The Sustainable Food Lab: The Sustainable Food Lab of Hartland, Vermont, supports and connects a network of global organizations working to create a sustainable food system through market-based change. Included in its work, the Lab develops supply chain innovation projects, peer-to-peer leadership networks, global learning events, and measurement tools.
The U.C. Global Food Initiative: The University of California’s Global Food Initiative is using research, outreach, and working groups to proactively develop strategies and solutions for sustainably and nutritiously feeding an 8 billion world population by 2025. The initiative’s working groups focus on developing best practices for food production, food access and security, sourcing, education and communication, and policy and public impact.
Thrive: Thrive is a nonprofit organization based in Talent, Oregon, which works to connect the citizens of Rogue Valley to local businesses and locally produced food. The organization’s “Buy Local – Buy Rogue” campaign convenes local businesses who use socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable practices. Thrive also operates an online business directory which allows users to easily locate locally owned stores.
Toronto Youth Food Policy Council: As the first youth-run food policy council, the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council works to engage and mobilize young people in food policy and food justice issues in Toronto, Canada. The organization holds a seat on the Toronto City Food Policy Council, providing an active voice and platform for youth to become involved as food activists within the municipality.
Upohar: Upohar is a social impact restaurant and catering company located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that specializes in global fare which reflects the cultures of its employees. By employing refugees and other displaced members of the Lancaster community, the company offers living wages and helps to support them as they transition to becoming economically independent and self-sufficient.
World Central Kitchen: This international organization, founded by chef Jose Andres, focuses on smart solutions to hunger and poverty in Haiti, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and the United States. It promotes cleaner cooking by providing clean cookstoves and food safety and sanitation training. Additionally, it builds school kitchens to maintain school feeding programs and create reliable income for the schools. The World Central Kitchen also provides culinary training to grow the hospitality workforce and increase earnings within the countries it works.
Youthaiti: Based in indigenous forest land in Haiti, in the province of Grand’Anse, Youthaiti is a nonprofit organization teaching young Haitians about nutrient cycling, ecological sanitation, permaculture, reforestation, and household gardening. Additional, Youthaiti provides young Haitians space for experimentation with indigenous conservation techniques.
Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF): ZIMSOFF is a regional member organization of La Via Campesina and works to elevate the livelihoods and agency of smallholder Zimbabwean farmers through participatory methods of ecological land use planning and management. ZIMSOFF also helps to operate the Shashe Agroecology School, which uses participatory and horizontal methods to raise awareness of agroecological practices.
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