16 nonprofits fueling climate solutions with food

 

Environmental nonprofits fueling our fight with food.

Our communities, livelihoods and ecosystems all depend on healthy food systems. Sustainable food systems are essential to the health of both people and the planet. As the world’s population rises and resources become scarcer, our food systems increasingly depend on environmental, economic and social collaboration.

Here are just a few 1% for the Planet approved environmental nonprofits, committed to providing solutions to our climate crisis—through our food systems.


Community Gardens

 School garden in Oakland, CA (Credit: SeedMoney) School garden in Oakland, CA (Credit: SeedMoney)

SeedMoney

Primary focus is national (United States), although they do work with a small number of garden projects in the developing world.

SeedMoney helps people and communities in need to feed themselves healthy and environmentally sustainable foods by helping public food garden projects to fund themselves.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“We're excited by a "confluence of awarenesses" taking place in local communities. There's the growing awareness about the gravity and urgency of the global climate crisis. At the same time, citizens are understanding more and more that we cannot afford to wait for timid political leaders to find their spines. In the absence of political leadership, we're seeing an encouraging emergence of civic leadership in the public food garden space. 

 We see this in the form of mothers stepping up to start school gardens, low income people breaking ground on community gardens in urban areas and retirees starting up food pantry gardens. At SeedMoney, our job is to make it easier for these garden leaders to emerge and succeed. Public food gardens aren't just about growing foods that are healthy for us and the planet; they're also about growing a consciousness that many low-cost and low-tech environmental solutions are already within our reach. We just have to be bold enough to reach for them.”


Farming Advocacy

 Credit: 3000acres Credit: 3000acres

3000acres  

Victoria, Australia with a focus on urban and peri-urban areas

3000acres is on a mission to help more people, grow more food, in more places. They empower communities to become more connected and resilient through projects focused on growing and sharing food.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“A really exciting development in the urban agriculture space lately is the groundswell of community enthusiasm for this work. For the first time, people are broadly recognising climate change as being about more than just how their electricity is produced - agriculture and food have become part of the conversation. People living in urban areas want to understand how their food has been grown, who grew it, where it travelled from and what the environmental and social consequences of that are. At 3000acres, this means we're speaking to more people than ever before who want to try their hand at growing food and through that learn more about the broader food system. We've also seen this reflected at a local government area - it's not only inner-city councils coming to us with projects anymore, but councils right across Melbourne who want to support their communities to grow food, build resilience and create cross-cultural and intergenerational knowledge sharing opportunities.

For our organisation, something we’re really excited about looking towards 2020 is the growth of our Olives to Oil Festival. For the last two years, we've invited the community to harvest unwanted olives from backyards, street trees and public parks for us to press into delicious, local olive oil. Melbourne is FULL of olive trees planted by immigrants post WWII that go unharvested - the olives simply sit on the tree until they drop off and are turned into waste. Instead, we help people see these trees as a local resource and something to be celebrated. In 2019 we were blown away when over 500 people harvested 2495kg of olives! We think this number will increase in 2020 with more people knocking on their neighbors' doors, taking friends out harvesting and generally joining in the oily festivities - in the process of building community connections, producing local food and saving a resource from becoming a waste product.”

 NSAC 2016 Summer Meeting in Orono, Maine. Photo credit: Reana Kovalcik NSAC 2016 Summer Meeting in Orono, Maine. Photo credit: Reana Kovalcik

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 

National - United States 

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of over 130 grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policies that support small and midsize farms, lower barriers to farming for a new generation, increase funding and support for critical research and outreach for sustainable agriculture, build a more climate-friendly and equitable food system, and conserve critical natural resources.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“There's always a lot of big things happening when it comes to agriculture! Right now, we're particularly energized at the amount of attention that sustainable agriculture is getting – whether that's through conversations about climate change and resilience, building soil health, or "regenerative" agriculture. We're seeing farmers speaking out in the media about the importance of conservation activities like cover cropping and protecting their soil and water health, consumers becoming more aware, and even the 2020 presidential candidates giving the issue serious discussion. 

 In terms of recent NSAC projects, we completed our update of our Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs this fall, which is always a major undertaking. This is a massive, living resource that we provide free online for farmers and other stakeholders that walks them through all the sustainable ag programs they might need to use or know about. We do a major overhaul of this guide after each new farm bill, and then continue to make more minor updates throughout the farm bill implementation and rulemaking processes.

 Something we're watching very closely right now is the FY 2020 appropriations process. NSAC helped to secure some major victories in the FY 2019 package for sustainable agriculture and family farm programs, and we've been working hard to ensure that those wins are retained and/or built up. Right now the country is operating under a "Continuing Resolution," which extends FY 2019 funding through December 20, 2019.”


Food Waste

 Credit: OzHarvest Credit: OzHarvest

OzHarvest 

Australia 

OzHarvest collects quality surplus food, distributes it to people in need and diverts food waste from landfill.

What’s happening in this space?

Visit here to check out OzHarvest’s new education program for kids called FEAST, and here to learn about their new Food App that is a digital solution to connecting food donors directly with local charities!

 Credit: Conscious Alliance Credit: Conscious Alliance

Conscious Alliance: Feed Kids Before Landfills 

Conscious Alliance brings healthy food to communities across the U.S., with an emphasis on remote and rural areas, including Native American reservations.

Conscious Alliance is a national organization committed to supporting communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Since teaming up with 1% for the Planet in 2019, Conscious Alliance has distributed one million meals to children and families in need. We specialize in picking up donated close-to-code food directly from companies and quickly moving it to those in need with little or no cost to the companies. In addition to diverting food from the landfill, we further reduce our carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets for all our semi-trucking. There is enough food in the U.S. to feed everyone; it’s just a matter of moving it quickly to where it is needed.”


Local Food Systems

 Credit: FarmFolk CityFolk Credit: FarmFolk CityFolk

FarmFolk CityFolk 

Canada - British Columbia 

FarmFolk CityFolk connects, empowers, and inspires people to strengthen BC's sustainable food systems


What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“There is a lot of excitement in the Food Systems world right now in moving forward with Climate Solutions.  We've spent a lot of time this year doing research, and talking to folks from dozens of organizations in multiple sectors from across Canada and have a really strong foundation for action.  While our food system emissions are not as high as the oil and gas sector, food system emissions, when added together, are the largest part of an individual's carbon footprint. We have developed a strong, multi-year plan to Inspire Eaters, Support Farmers, and Influence Policy.  We're looking at a range of climate solutions that reduce on-farm emissions, sequester carbon in soil, and help shape and support regional food systems that are economically viable for farmers at the same time.” 

 Credit: Slow Food Credit: Slow Food

Slow Food 

International 

Slow Food gathers likely and unlikely allies to transform the way we produce, consume, and enjoy food. From grassroots activists to policymakers, from farm to table, they are gathering a vast network for a common good--both in online communities and in local, national, and international events.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

Head here to check out Slow Food’s feature story! 


Organic

Canadian Organic Growers (COG)

Canada 

Canadian Organic Growers leads local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Growing Up Organic (GUO) is our program with children in the classroom and school backyard gardens! GUO partners with schools to support the establishment of school garden programs as the basis for experiential education at all grade levels. We provide educators with the essential tools to start these initiatives with confidence and ongoing support. Our garden-based workshops, delivered on-site at school gardens and made available online, provide teachers with building blocks and a model for integrating hands-on food literacy into their pedagogy.

GUO is focused on empowerment: through our strategic focus on education, we hope to foster a generation of children and youth with greater food literacy, life-long healthy eating habits, increased food skills and an understanding of local and global environmental issues.

We are most excited that the Ottawa Carleton District School Board has included GUO in its annual budget which brings GUO into the curriculum! 

Senior Organic Gardeners (SOG) is our program helping seniors develop their own organic gardens in community housing, apartment buildings, community centres and residences. The SOG Story began in 2012!

We aim to help seniors to learn and practise gardening skills, to enjoy the harvest at home and with other senior gardeners, to encourage more nutritious diets with more fresh organic produce, to get gentle exercise, and to enjoy the company of other senior gardeners thus avoiding social isolation! 

We are excited to offer Train-the-Trainer workshops to increase the scope of SOG and the sustainability of this treasured program!”

 Credit: Organic Seed Alliance Credit: Organic Seed Alliance

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA)

OSA works throughout the U.S. with headquarters in Port Townsend, Washington, and regional offices in California, Montana, and Wisconsin.

Organic Seed Alliance advances ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. They envision organic seed systems that are democratic and just, support human and environmental health, and deliver genetically diverse and regionally adapted seed to farmers everywhere. Each year OSA educates thousands of farmers and other agricultural community members to conduct professional organic plant breeding and seed production research, and advocate for national policies that strengthen organic seed systems.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Organic farmers produce food differently, and that means they need different seeds for the crops they grow—seed developed to thrive without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and adapted to their local climate and soil conditions. Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is working to meet organic farmers' seed needs through on-farm research, farmer education and policy initiatives with partner organizations.OSA and a broad coalition of organic champions were instrumental in securing an increase in federal funding for organic research from $20M to $50M in the 2018 Farm Bill. This increase provides an unprecedented opportunity for researchers to tackle the challenges that inhibit the growth of organic production. To inform future research, OSA and the Organic Farming Research Foundation will distribute a national survey this winter to gather input from organic farmers and ranchers on their top challenges. Findings related to seed will be published in OSA’s State of Organic Seed (SOS) report to inform both public and private research investments for years to come.”


Regenerative Farming

Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA)  

International (Argentina, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Sri Lanka, United States)

Regenerative Organic Certification builds upon the near 100-year legacy of organic movement visionaries like J. I. Rodale and Dr. Rudolf Steiner and provides stepwise guidance for farming and ranching operations, transportation, slaughter, and processing facilities that produce food, cosmetics, and fiber. It is essential to farm in a way that enriches rather than degrades the soil, and values animals and workers. Regenerative Organic Certification leverages existing highbar organic, animal welfare, and social fairness certifications, and includes additional regenerative requirements.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

Check out our full article on Regenerative Organic Alliance here!

 Credit: White Buffalo Land Trust Credit: White Buffalo Land Trust

White Buffalo Land Trust

Focused on the central california coast while working with national collaborators to grow the movement globally. 

The overall vision is to align agriculture, conservation and human development for long term ecosystem, economic, and community health. White Buffalo Land Trust’s mission is to practice, develop, and promote systems of Regenerative Agriculture for local, regional, and global impact. With Regenerative Agriculture at the front and center, the Trust believes that food can and should be a part of the solution  to climate change. 

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“The last several years have generated an incredible momentum bringing regenerative agriculture to the forefront of policymakers, activists, food brands, farmers, consumers, scientists and more. Scientists around the world are uncovering new relationships between soil health, microbiology, and the  mycelial network that are changing how we rebuild healthy soil. There is development happening globally of ecosystem service markets that are valuing biodiversity, ecosystem function, carbon sequestration and more and are supporting agricultural producers to farm in a way that regenerates landscapes. Consumer product brands are beginning to create new products that source from producers that are farming regeneratively and educate consumers on the value these farmers and ranchers are providing us. It is an exciting time to be in this space and White Buffalo Land Trust is moving forward on many of these fronts to continue the momentum.”


Youth & Food

 Credit: FoodCorps Credit: FoodCorps

FoodCorps

National - United States 

Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. FoodCorps believes every school should be a healthy school, and every child—regardless of race, place, or class—deserves to get the nourishment they need to thrive. Their national AmeriCorps program supports hundreds of schools each year to create environments that get kids eating healthy. Building on proven direct impact, they are working to change the role of food in schools on a national scale, focusing on leadership development, supply-side shifts, and policy influence. 

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Nearly 30 million children rely on school meals for their nourishment, giving schools enormous potential to nurture our children’s health and wellness. Unfortunately, schools are faced with numerous, persistent obstacles to providing healthy meals that foster whole-child development. FoodCorps is mobilizing a national network of partners and allies to ensure our country’s policies and food systems work together to nurture every child’s potential. 

We’ve seen huge momentum in advocacy for healthy school meals and food education. Congress validated the importance of food literacy in schools on a national scale when, in 2018, it awarded $1 million in funds to initiatives that deliver hands-on food and agriculture education fueled by public service—programs like FoodCorps. Through continued advocacy for the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program, another $1 million in appropriations came through in 2019. Leaders in Congress are now discussing a major opportunity for champions of farm to school and other school nutrition improvements—the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR). Alongside our coalition partners, we’re working to advance several bills that fall under the CNR umbrella, including the School Food Modernization Act, The Farm to School Act of 2019, and The Kids Eat Local Act. 

Some amazing new work is underway to transform school meals—a cross-sector effort, unlike anything we've ever seen in this space. Leaders in school nutrition, business, education, technology, and philanthropy have come together as part of an action-oriented initiative called reWorking Lunch. These leaders are working together to develop solutions to tackle the biggest obstacles to sourcing and serving healthy food in schools. As the convener of this initiative, with support from Bain Capital Double Impact and Forum for the Future, FoodCorps aims to reorient the system toward shared goals—goals that support academics, efficiency, and businesses while centering children’s health—by building deeper connection, understanding, interaction, and collaboration across the field. Together, we’re using our collective power to build a future in which kids have access to healthier, more sustainable food at school.”

 Credit: Big Green Credit: Big Green

Big Green 

National - United States (With an on-the-ground presence in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh)

Big Green is committed to building a healthier future for kids by connecting them to real food through their nationwide network of Learning Gardens and food literacy programs. Each school day, they reach over 340,000 students in more than 620 schools across the country. Big Green looks forward to a future where every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive in a healthy community.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Access to nutritious, affordable food is a key issue of our time. And yet, 15 million American households were food insecure in 2017. That’s 40 million people.  

On March 19th, 2020 we're thrilled to celebrate our second annual Plant a Seed Day -  a day of action and a call-to-arms that rallies people to stand up and say “the next generation deserves a better food system,” and then do something about it. Last year, over 200,000 people from all 50 states and 44 countries outside the US pledged to participate in Plant a Seed Day - helping raise awareness around food insecurity and generating vital funding for Big Green's food literacy programs. 

This year, Plant a Seed Day is dedicated to kids. We are so inspired by “kids these days” and the bold, amazing things they’re doing to build a brighter future for everyone. Climate action, school safety, and it doesn’t stop there. But they shouldn’t have to do this alone. After all, who built the food system they're being handed? We're encouraging everyone to pledge to plant a seed for a child, with a child, or just donate so a child can have that experience in their school - because we know improved real food access starts with a seed.

 To get involved, head to plantaseedday.org/  to pledge to plant and find resources on how to celebrate in your home, community, or office.  Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Nicole Alamo at nalamo@biggreen.org.”


Supply Chain

FairWild Foundation

International

FairWild Foundation enables transformation of resource management and business practices to be ecologically, socially and economically sustainable throughout the supply chain of wild-collected products.

Through the FairWild Standard and certification scheme, they provide a worldwide framework for implementing a sustainable, fair and value-added management and trading system for wild natural ingredients - critical resources used in a wide variety of food, cosmetics and health products.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“Looking ahead, 2020 will be an important year for biodiversity conservation, with high-level political commitments expected to be made at the UN Biodiversity Summit to be held in China at the end of the year. We are excited to work with the natural products industry to help companies address their biodiversity footprint by adopting more responsible sourcing practices for wild ingredients - as well as improve livelihoods and working conditions in their supply chains. Such actions are critical for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. As the public focus on environmental issues continues to increase, we believe 2020 can be the year where companies using wild ingredients can make real commitments to action, and we aim to drive this forward through our industry engagement efforts. There are also technical developments that show great promise for helping to improve traceability and transparency in supply chains – we are keen to explore the application of new technologies to wild product sourcing.

 Ultimately, addressing environmental issues and the sustainability of our global food systems needs public attention to drive change - through more sustainable consumption patterns as well as creating a public mandate for strengthened regulation. We will be inviting everyone - businesses, non-profits, and individuals alike - to join us in celebrating wild plants and raising awareness of the pressures they face during FairWild Week - an annual online event which will be held in June 2020. Get involved!”

Center for Good Food Purchasing 

National - United States 

The Center for Good Food Purchasing uses the power of procurement to create a transparent and equitable food system that prioritizes the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. They do this through the nationally-networked adoption and implementation of the Good Food Purchasing Program by major institutions.

What’s happening in this space that excites you? 

“We are excited about the ways we’ve been able to leverage technology to offer tools that support our enrolled institutions, partners, and policymakers in advancing Good Food Purchasing strategies. In 2019, we launched a Good Food product and supplier browser to build the capacity of Good Food Purchasing institutions to increase their good food purchases and excel in the Program, in collaboration with the Institute for People, Place and Possibility (IP3). Through this partnership with IP3, we are looking forward to developing an interactive, online tool in 2020 that empowers communities, researchers, institutions, and policymakers with aggregate data and analytical frameworks to inform local, state and national strategy. 

There continues to be significant new interest in engaging the Good Food Purchasing Program framework, and in the last year we enrolled 16 new institutions in our Good Food Purchasing Program, with a pipeline of ten more institutions anticipated to enroll in the Program over the next six months. These individual enrollments exist within local, regional, and national networks of champions and supporters, and we are excited about the enthusiasm we’ve seen to begin articulating and advancing a coordinated and values-aligned policy framework focused on identifying state and national policy opportunities for collective action, informed and guided by Peer to Peer network of local Good Food Purchasing coalitions, Good Food Purchasing National Campaign Committee of national advocates, food service operator affinity group of food.”


Planet-based Diets

The Reducetarian Foundation

Asia Pacific

The Reducetarian Foundation aims to improve human health, protect the environment and spare farm animals from cruelty by reducing societal consumption of animal products.

What’s happening in this space?

Check out the Reducitarian’s “Why we do it” page to learn about some reasons why you might want to join the millions of others who are a part of the growing reducetarian movement.

The Vegan Society

International

Founded in 1944, The Vegan Society is a registered educational charity that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism

What’s happening in this space?

Interested in becoming vegan? If so, visit here to learn more about the what, why, and how of veganism.