Our society’s agricultural practices have SERIOUS environmental consequences, from deforestation and soil degradation to mass pollution. Between 1992 and 2012, almost 31 million acres of agriculture land were irreversibly lost to urban development. Every year, an estimated 4 billion tons of soil and 130 billion tons of water are contaminated by U.S. croplands, becoming unviable and creating an overall economic loss of more than $27 billion.
The global food system also needs to be more resilient in order to meet the needs of a constantly growing human population. By 2050, demands for food, energy—even fiber—are expected to increase up to 70%.
It’s clear that our agricultural system is host to many systemic social issues. For example, despite the advances of the modern world, 740 million global citizens continue to face extreme poverty. In the United States, there is becoming a severe shortage of farmers as many current agriculturalists will soon age out of the industry. The average American farmer is now 57.5 years of age. On top of that, land ownership is also heavily white, the result of a long history of racism, oppression, and exploitation of communities of color that continues to this day.
Yet, despite agriculture’s enormous negative impacts, it also has enormous potential to be one of the key solutions to helping create a more just and sustainable planet.
Many of EarthShare’s agriculturally focused Nonprofit Partners understand this and leverage forms of sustainable, organic, and regenerative agriculture; not just to grow food, but to improve ecosystems, heal our climate, and provide healthy food equitably to communities across the country.
U.S. Nonprofits in the Agricultural Space
The following list highlights eight dedicated organizations who are working every day to develop food systems that are economically and societally beneficial and promote equal, fair access to fresh foods for communities across the United States.
Agricultural Stewardship Association
Focused on connecting people to the land, Agricultural Stewardship Association protects communities’ working farms and forests (more than 27,000 acres to date) and promotes a vibrant future for agriculture and industry throughout New York State.
Georgia Organics connects organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. As the oldest state-wide nonprofit working directly with small and organic farms, Georgia Organics’ focus is to invest in and promote organic farming for the health of both Georgia communities and the land.
National Young Farmers Coalition
National Young Farmers Coalition is working to transform agriculture, shifting power into the hands of a more diverse, health-focused group of young workers, and changing policy to equitably resource a new generation of working farmers and ranchers.
Philadelphia Orchard Project
Planting and supporting community orchards throughout the city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Orchard Project champions community-led efforts to improve access to fresh food through creating beautiful and bountiful urban orchards and green spaces.
Plant Chicago equips individuals and businesses with the tools they need to live more sustainably. The organization runs a variety of programs and research projects with the underlying goal of creating a more circular economy (where waste generated in one sector of the economy is capable of being reused in another).
South Eastern Efforts Develop Sustainable Spaces
A two-acre urban garden and kitchen classroom located in Durham, NC, SEEDS is committed to empowering youth and adults through garden-based education programming on healthy lifestyles, organic gardening, food security, sustainable agriculture, and environmental stewardship.
Sustainable Food Center
Sustainable Food Center helps to cultivate a just and regenerative food system to nourish individuals, communities, and the environment. This work directly supports small-to-mid-sized farms so they can thrive and support a healthier planet.
Tilth Alliance works to build an ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially equitable food system alongside Washington farmers, gardeners, growers, and those who eat the crops produced. Tilth Alliance believes in valuing the land and promoting equal access to it.
These eight nonprofits work hard every day to help transform, revitalize, and refresh the agricultural industry in order to prepare for a more just and sustainable future. Is a nonprofit missing from this list that we should include? Let us know by reaching out to us at [email protected].
Interested in learning more about EarthShare’s Nonprofit Partner Network? Check out more articles just like this one: Nonprofits Working on Wildfire Recovery.