Accountability for actions, GFAR blog

119 Organizations Shaking Up the Food System in 2019


2018 was a great year for Food Tank. We hosted ground-breaking Summits, innovative events, and global discussions about the food system in Senegal, Italy, Russia, and across the United States. We published the book Nourished Planet, and met many of our members and readers in person! And we started the Food Talk podcast.

We’re excited about 2019! Our plans are amazing, starting our greatest expansion ever—including new Summits, more podcasts, special events, and an off-Broadway play. If you are not already, it’s not too late to become a member this year and support our mission of bringing all sides to the table.

To start off the year, we’ve compiled a list of 119 organizations to keep an eye on in 2019 that are working towards a more sustainable food system. Happy New Year!

1. Acre Venture Partners

Acre Venture Partners is a venture capital fund investing in the future of food by offering financial support to start-ups in health, nutrition, or food-focused tech companies. Co-Founded by Jeffrey Dunn and featuring partner Sam Kass, Acre seeks to redefine good food across the food value chain.

2. AgFunder

AgFunder is an online investment marketplace that both allows venture capitalists to invest in new technologies and invites agricultural companies to seek out investors who back their product. The platform has helped companies around the world raise the money needed to transform the food and agriculture industries, with the support of over 50,000 members and subscribers.

3. American Farmland Trust (AFT)

AFT began after farmers and conservationists in 1980 discussed how developing arable farmland would impact the food supply. Today, AFT is dedicated to protecting farmland, those who work on it, and the environment through sound agricultural practices. AFT’s report “Farms Under Threat: The State of America’s Farmland” exposes the rate at which America’s farmland is disappearing.

4. Arava Institute

Located in the Middle East, The Arava Institute is an academic hub for those looking to research and solve the most pressing environmental concerns of the day. The Arava Institute has five transboundary research centers, including the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Center for Hyper-Arid Socio-Ecology. The Centers are dedicated to the investigation and preservation of arid lands and their natural resources across the Middle East.

5. Arcadia Center for Food and Agriculture

Based in Alexandria, VA, this nonprofit fosters equity and sustainability in the Washington, D.C. area food system through a multi-faceted operation. Arcadia Farm promotes sustainable growing practices, serves as an educational site for farmers and students, and increases access to local, healthy food through programs like the Mobile Market.

6. Archi’s Acres

In partnership with Cal Poly Pomona’s College of the Extended University, Archi’s Acres leads Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, an agricultural training program intended for military veterans located on an organic hydroponic produce operation in Escondido, California. The Institute acts as an agricultural entrepreneurial incubator program where participating military veterans receive a unique education in food production, business management, and sustainable agriculture.

7. Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN)

BCFN’s goal is to foster an open dialogue about the well-being of the world’s population and promote change. Since 2009 they have rigorously studied the link between nutrition and the environment, launching a Double Pyramid highlighting that lower environmental impact foods are often those which are highly nutritious and vice versa. Their Young Earth Solutions (BCFN YES!) program encourages young people to develop innovative solutions to problems within the global food system. They partnered with Food Tank to publish Nourished Planet in 2018. In partnership with the Thomas Reuters Foundation, BCFN launched the Food Sustainability Media Award, recognizing journalists shedding light on the issues of sustainability, nutrition, and food security.

8. Berry Good Food Foundation

The Berry Good Food Foundation works to advance a healthy, integrated food system by educating, connecting, and supporting food producers and consumers. They host a series of video-recorded multidisciplinary panels and coordinate hands-on classes that empower people to maximize their food budgets and minimize food waste through old-world skills with modern relevance.

9. Big Green

Founded in 2011 by Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, Big Green aims to build a healthier future for children across America by building gardens at scale: intended to be gathering locations and plots for learning, the gardens include modular, raised beds, seating, and shade. Big Green currently reaches over 250,000 children around the country each day, bringing fresh, real food directly to low-income communities.

10. Bioversity International

Bioversity International gathers scientific evidence, management practices, and policy options to support agricultural biodiversity as a way to protect the health of people and the planet. As a CGIAR Research Center, Bioversity International works with partners across South America, Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia to improve nutrition, farmer resilience, productivity, and climate change adaptation.

11. Black Urban Growers Association

Black Urban Growers maintains a network and community support in order to foster Black leadership in food and farm advocacy. Their programs include the Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference, a national conference started in 2010 that brings together Black farmers, advocates, chefs, and communities to share their best practices and leadership efforts.

12. CARE International

This humanitarian organization fights global poverty and provides emergency disaster relief. CARE’s community-based efforts, focused particularly on women as a means for entire communities to escape poverty, include improving basic education, preventing the spread of disease, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, expanding economic opportunity, and protecting natural resources.

13. Center for Food Safety

This public interest and environmental organization challenges harmful food production technologies and promotes sustainable alternatives. They use a variety of strategies and tools, including legal support for sustainable agriculture and food safety constituencies, public education efforts, grassroots organizational and media outreach, and litigation and legal petitions.

14. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

CIFOR hopes to create a world in which forests are high on the political agenda and evidence-based decisions are made in order to protect the forests and the needs of forest-dependent people. Their work enhances environmental conservation and human wellbeing—and promotes equity through research that aids businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations.

15. Chef Ann Foundation

Chef Ann Cooper founded the Chef Ann Foundation with the vision to empower schools  to provide children with access to nutritious food daily. The organization supports schools by leading grant programs and providing schools with tools they may need to improve their food programs in an effort to alleviate kids’ hunger and improve nutrition.

16. Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ)

CAGJ is a grassroots, membership-based organization based in Seattle, WA that works to transform the global economy. CAGJ activists work in solidarity with social movements in developing regions to battle against economic models established by corporations, governments and other institutions and build up the power of alternatives that support a just world. Their work focuses on globalization’s impacts on food, from sustainable agriculture to immigration and labor rights.

17. Community for Zero Hunger

The Community for Zero Hunger is an independent initiative that identifies specific priorities, knowledge, experiences, and sustainable solutions in the challenge to end hunger. In addition, they provide a collaborative platform for governments, research organizations, and NGOs to support the United Nations (UN) Zero Hunger Challenge.

18. Compost Cab

Compost Cab hopes to transform Washington D.C.’s urban food system, making it easier for people to compost. Compost Cab collects household compost, works with organizations to initiate their own composting programs, and partners with local farms, agencies, and organizations to create a more sustainable city-wide food system.

19. Crop Trust

The Crop Trust is an international nonprofit organization working to fund the conservation of crop diversity in order to protect global food security. It supports the operations of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, helps finance crop conservation activities in genebanks around the world—including those in several developing countries—and supports the collection, conservation and use of crop wild relatives.

20. D.C. Central Kitchen

In addition to the 3 million free meals they deliver annually for homeless shelters, schools, and nonprofits, D.C. Central Kitchen offers a culinary job training program for individuals facing unemployment, previous incarceration, or homelessness. The training program prepares students to receive their food handler’s license and enter careers in the food service industry, featuring local chefs who volunteer to train students in basic culinary skills.

21. DC Food Policy Council (DCFPC)

DCFPC brings together government representatives, food experts, and other stakeholders to create a sustainable and equitable food system for the city. Working toward the Sustainable DC Plan, DCFPC collects and analyzes data on food equity, promotes positive food policies, and helps organizations improve their impact on the food economy. DCFPC also alerts citizens about acts and legislation that arises, explaining why the policy matters and potential outcomes.

22. Dreaming Out Loud (DOL)

DOL works toward a more equitable food system, centering their approach around entrepreneurship and workforce development in urban agriculture and farmers markets. In addition to offering programs designed to foster economic opportunity, DOL engages in food policy advocacy in Washington, D.C. DOL recently completed a year at The Farm, a public-private urban agriculture project providing students with fresh produce and experience in growing space.

23. EAT Foundation

The EAT Foundation works to transform the global food system to achieve a future where healthy and sustainable food is affordable, accessible, and attractive to all. They connect leaders and innovators across disciplines to close knowledge gaps, translate research results into action plans, scale up solutions, raise awareness, and create engagement.

24. Ecotrust

Ecotrust partners with communities and organizations across the Northwest to help transform ideas into action. With programs including farm to school advocacy, resource restoration, community rebuilding, and more, Ecotrust aims to supply communities with economic opportunity, social equity, and environmental well-being.

25. Ecovia Intelligence

Ecovia Intelligence (formerly Organic Monitor) publishes research reports, conducts business research, and offers sustainability consulting to support sustainable options in multiple industries, including the global ethical product industry. Ecovia Intelligence encourages sustainable development across multiple clients including government departments, institutes, organizations, start-ups, and more. Their programs include sustainability summits that bring together leading organizations with sustainability goals and missions in their respective industries.

26. Edible Manhattan

Edible Manhattan is a part of the family of Edible Communities magazines. The magazine features local food and drink makers, restaurants, events, and markets. In addition, the publication hosts its own events, including the 2018 Food Loves Tech event, exploring the future of food and drink, and Edible Escape, which showcases globally-inspired food prepared by local chefs.

27. Environmental Working Group (EWG)

EWG is a team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, communication experts, and programmers advocating for the health of people and the planet. EWG empowers consumers to make better decisions about the products they buy, and the impact they have on the planet, through reports, online databases, apps and more.

28. Fairtrade America

Fairtrade America works to redesign the international trade system, focusing on small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries. By growing demand for Fairtrade products, certifying foods with the FAIRTRADE Mark, and setting international standards and minimum prices, Fairtrade America aims to alter power imbalances in the economy.

29. Familias Unidas por la Justicia

Familias Unidas por la Justicia, formed in 2013, is the first new farm worker union in the United States in a quarter-century and the first union in Washington State led by indigenous workers. In June 2017 union officials representing Mixteco and Triqui members signed a contract with Sakuma Bros Berry Farm that bargained for fair hourly wages, non-discrimination, and procedures for resolving disputes.

30. Family Farming Knowledge Platform

The Family Farming Knowledge Platform by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN gathers information on global family farming—including national laws and regulations, public policies, best practices, and research—to provide necessary knowledge to policymakers, leading organizations, and activists.

31. Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)

Started by Baldemar Velasquez, who grew up in a migrant farmworker family, FLOC represents thousands of seasonal farm workers, advocating for better working conditions and wages. FLOC achieved monumental gains such as the first tri-party contract in agriculture after a successful boycott and march against Campbell Soup.

32. Feedback

Feedback is revealing the unpalatable truth of food waste, putting it at the top of political and corporate agendas. Their mix of research and grassroots campaigns empower positive change in the food system and invoke action towards regenerating nature.

33. Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs fighting to end hunger. The organization provides assistance to one in seven Americans, including 12 million children, and studies the causes and impacts of food insecurity in America. Feeding America prioritizes food security, safety, nutrition, and recovery.

34. Fields Oceans Ranches Kitchens Stewards (FORKS)

Sponsored by the nonprofit Seattle Good Business Network, this volunteer organization engages chefs in promoting local and sustainable food purchasing. FORKS also hosts events such as The Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection, a large convening of food industry players in Washington State.

35. Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch aims to combat corporations that put profits before people and advocates for a democracy that improves people’s lives while protecting our environment. The organization works to build a grassroots movement to hold governments and corporations accountable for their actions that affect food and water systems.

36. Food + Tech Connect

Food + Tech Connect is a hub for technological innovation in the good food movement. Through media, events, and more, they connect every corner of the food industry, inspiring collaboration and the sharing of best practices to build a better food future.

37. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that works to achieve food security for all. The FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide, working toward goals to set international standards for food safety and justice, eradicate food and water related diseases around the world, and limit global hunger. The FAO also works to unite organizations seeking a zero-hunger society, creating a network of action around the world.

38. Food Chain Workers Alliance

The Food Chain Workers Alliance brings together 31 organizations involved in the food system working to improve wages and working conditions for their over 340,000 workers. They fight to build a more just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system that protects and respects the rights of all workers along the food chain.

39. Food Corps

FoodCorps is making waves in youth engagement, changing attitudes around food in over 500 schools across 17 states and Washington, D.C. They encourage members’ collaboration with teachers, community leaders, and schools to provide children with knowledge of food and nutrition; engagement in hands-on food activities, like gardening; and access to nutritious, locally-sourced meals.

40. Food Innovation Program

The Food Innovation Program is an advanced Master’s Program by the Future Food Institute is for aspiring food innovators and entrepreneurs. The program includes a comprehensive academic course in Italy; a global tour of Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and other urban centers; and a concluding session of laboratory training and prototyping in Italy.

41. Food Policy Action (FPA)

FPA was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. Through an annual National Food Policy Scorecard, FPA tracks members of Congress as they vote on and sponsor bills related to a range of food issues—to support and educate a better informed voting public.

42. Food Recovery Network (FRN)

Since its inception in 2011, FRN has rescued more than 3.2 million pounds of food and has a presence on 230 college campuses across the United States. Food Recovery Network empowers students, communities, and food businesses to reconstruct their perceptions and habits around surplus food.

43. Food Rescue Locator

Food Rescue Locator offers a directory of organizations in the United States that rescue, glean, transport, prepare, and distribute food to the those in need in their communities. These food rescue programs play an important role in feeding the hungry and in the reduction of food waste.

44. Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)

Launched by the UN in 2002, GAIN is an international organization working to end malnutrition within this lifetime. They focus their efforts on children and women, while building alliances between businesses, government, and civil society to deliver programs in 29 countries and help reduce malnutrition globally.

45. Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF)

Formed in 2012, GAFF is a collaboration of over 20 philanthropic foundations that envisions healthy, equitable, renewable, resilient, and culturally diverse food and agricultural systems. GAFF leverages resources and knowledge of each philanthropic foundation to develop frameworks for a better food system.

46. Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)

GFAR is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder global forum on agricultural research and innovation. GFAR’s mission is to mobilize all stakeholders involved in agricultural research and innovation systems for development to catalyze actions toward alleviating poverty, increasing food security, and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.

Find out who that other organizations making a change in agriculture and food systems this year in the full blog post on the Food Tank website

Blog post by Katherine Walla, Natalie Quathamer, Arden Kelley, and Amanda Cather.


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