From environmental conditions to harsh economics, farmers can face serious challenges with maintaining their agricultural methods. Luckily there’s help from various nonprofits that are working with food producers and within their communities to provide public support and awareness for farmer labor. Add these 15 nonprofits to your watch list, each doing their part in preserving food production.

Photo via AgChat Foundation

AgChat Foundation
To help those who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed tell agriculture tales from their point of view, the US-based AgChat Foundation educates and equips farmers and ranchers with the skill set to harvest the power of social media and online communities. In giving them tech skills to educate the public through virtual storytelling, the foundation teaches workers to be engaging on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Linkedin and other services and platforms. The foundation also holds a weekly moderated #AgChat on Twitter where worldwide agriculturalists can discuss difficult issues, swap stories and brainstorm ways to connect with people outside of agriculture.

Cornucopia Institute
In seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community, this U.S. institute uses research, advocacy and economic development to pursue their goal of empowering farmers, engaging in educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural issues, the institute also provides needed information to consumers, family farmers and the media.

For over three decades, this international organization gives empowerment to development workers and organizations worldwide by providing better access to vital information and other resources needed to improve food production and security for small-scale farmers and gardeners. ECHO has Regional Impact Centers placed around the globe to distribute resources such as newsletters offered in not just English but also regional languages such as Burmese, Thai and Khmer, Swahili and French. They operate a seed bank to provide seeds of regionally appropriate crops for development workers. And ECHO offers periodic courses, workshops and tours on architectural topics.

Photo via Feedback

The goal of this UK based organization is to combat food waste by preventing fruits, vegetables and other food products from being unnecessarily discarded. For example, its “Feeding the 5000” flagship campaign holds a mass communal feast made entirely out of food that would otherwise have been discarded. Government officials have also taken notice, so much that European Parliament has adopted a resolution to halve food waste in the EU by 2025.

Groundswell International
As a global partnership of civil society organizations, NGOs and resource people in Africa, Latin America and Asia, this nonprofit strengthens rural communities to create and spread healthy food and farming systems from the bottom up. In doing this, Groundswell focuses on issues including community health and nutrition; agro-ecological farming; sustainable local food systems and livelihoods; natural resources management and resilience to climate change; and equity and women’s empowerment.

The Livestock Conservancy
This American nonprofit is the stable for anything having to with rare breed conversation of farm animals in the US. From research and outreach, education to promotion, the conservancy currently works to protect nearly 200 individual breeds from 11 different species of livestock and poultry – even doing genetic rescues to aid in ensuring the future of these creatures. With an office based in North Carolina, staff members connect with breeders, members and partners around the world. In-the-field partners travel around the US to conduct workshops and assist with research and field-work.

If interested in getting veggies from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or wanting to buy local food products, LocalHarvest serves as a virtual liaison between small farms and potential customers across the United States. Its directory lists over 30,000 family farms and farmers markets, along with restaurants and grocery stores that feature local food. Each member creates and maintains a listing for their farm, and can also get tech support from CSAware, a software that helps CSA farmers seamlessly run their businesses.

Photo via Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture

Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture
MESA connects sustainable farming leaders around the world for participatory training and cross-cultural exchange to strengthen local, resilient food systems worldwide
. Its training process is a two-way exchange to spur innovation and preserve traditional techniques worldwide, as well as advance a farmer-led grassroots movement to transform the global food system. Training programs focus on ecological production practices, processing, direct marketing, community organizing and education, and organic crop research and breeding.

National Young Farmers Coalition
This US-based coalition supports practices and policies that will sustain young and independent farmers now and in the future. Its areas of focus are policy change, farmer-farmer learning and farmer network building. NYFC is composed not only of young farmers, but also of established farmers, farm service providers, good food advocates and conscious consumers.

Translating to “nine seeds” or “new gift” in Hindi, this network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 17 states in India focuses on conserving the culture and bio-diversity of this embryonic plant. Navdanya operates 111 community seed banks across the country, trains farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture over the past two decades, and helped in setting up a direct marketing, fair trade organic network. It also established a learning center, Bija Vidyapeeth (School of the Seed / Earth University) on its biodiversity conservation and organic farm in Doon Valley, Uttarakhand, North India.

Seafood Watch
Since 1999, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has provided detailed information on sustainable seafood issues through consumer guides, a website, mobile apps and outreach efforts. In continuously updating its recommendation guide, the program is designed to provide guidance to consumers and restaurants on purchasing seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and habitats.

Photo via Slow Food International

Slow Food International
Established to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, and the disappearance of local food traditions, this global grass roots organization collaborates with supporters in 150 countries to emphasize the importance of good food and the factors that make it possible, including culture, education, and biodiversity. Its initiatives range from local community activities to larger projects, campaigns and  international events.

Soil Association
Founded by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who acknowledged a direct connection between farming practices and human and environmental health, this U.K. membership charity campaigns for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. Today, the association provides technical support and advice to farmers and businesses and works to improve consumer understanding of organic principles.

Sustainable Harvest International
This nonprofit was built on the fact that environmental degradation and rural poverty are unavoidably linked. Since 1997, it has provided local, long-term technical assistance and training to rural farming families in Central America. It equips and empowers low-income farmers with the resources to implement alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, sustain the land for future generations of farmers, halt tropical deforestation and build self-supporting communities through agribusiness.

World Farmers’ Organisation
As an international organization of farmers for farmers, this collective brings together all the national producer and farm cooperative organizations with the objective of developing policies which favor and support farmers’ causes in developed and developing countries around the world. By advocating on behalf of farmers and representing their interests in international policy forums, WFO supports farmers in better managing extreme price volatility, leveraging market opportunities and timely access to market information.

*Article by Michele Herrmann. Featured image courtesy of Gajus via Shutterstock

Recommended Reads:

A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929 by Paul K. Conkin

Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business by Rebecca Thistlethwaite

A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis by Marcel Mazoyer

Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know by Robert Paarlberg

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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann splits her time between New England and New York City, and has gotten much better at packing light with her back and forth trips. She has jaunted across Europe and up, down and across the United States and even as far as the South Pacific. She's grateful for being able to dispense travel stories and advice through media outlets and companies (as well as putting her BA in English to good use). Her blog She Is Going Places serves as her way to encourage others to get out and exploring!

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  1. We’re honored to be included on this list! What a mighty bunch! To learn more about what we do, check us out at

  2. Hey, great share…..

    Its great to see that there are so many organisations that are working hard for our healthier future.

    Thanks for sharing this information. Keep sharing more….

  3. Local Harvest is an excellent resource and this is an informative list. It’s surprising that OCA (Organic Consumer’s Association) is not included, though it appears to be quite nice overall.

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