The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) is a nonprofit organization representing family-owned farms and their interests. Founded in 1986, the NFFC acts as a network for various grassroots organizations that work for family farm issues, creating a powerful voice for a sector that is under pressure.
Pursuing goals of a socially just farm and food policy as well as sustainable agriculture, the NFFC chooses a wide range of projects with the goal of empowering family farmers, reducing the corporatization of agriculture, and holding government agriculture agencies accountable. Working in dozens of U.S. states and representing numerous grassroots organizations, the NFFC is active across all geographical regions.
The NFFC works together with member groups and partner organizations to change federal farm policy, raise awareness of the impact of international corporate agribusiness on farmers and the U.S. food infrastructure, and raise awareness around the country regarding food- and farm-related issues. Key areas of NFFC involvement are land and resource access, developing a fairer U.S. Farm Bill, dairy farming, trade, genetic engineering, domestic farm and food policy, local food initiatives, animal disease traceability, and food sovereignty.
The NFFC works directly with member groups to coordinate efforts and offer a platform for support and coordinated strategy. A number of partner groups include an NFFC family farmer voice on the partners’ directorial boards. The NFFC Executive Committee is comprised almost entirely of members who are themselves farmers, intimately knowledgeable about the issues faced by their fellow farmers.
Task force groups, or their respective subcommittees, are created for each of these key sectors. In the case of food sovereignty, for example, the NFFC has outlined goals that target building support for the international food sovereignty movement. This focuses on the “right of communities to choose where and how their food is produced and what food they consume.” This task force reaches beyond the borders of the United States to work with development and advocacy groups, environmentalists, and family farmers around the world to craft a policy platform in pursuit of these objectives.
In 2012, as a part of its Land and Resource Access Task Force, the NFFC launched Farmland Monitor Project, an online hub that facilitates the documentation of farmland grabs, provided by the farmers who have experienced them. It’s a place where evidence can be gathered to raise awareness of the trend, which became more pronounced in the years since the housing crash of 2008. Financial agencies such as pension funds and investment bankers rushed to purchase farmland in order to capitalize on high land, commodity, and crop prices. Farmers can add their stories and alert others to the methods, companies, and types of contracts involved in appropriating farmland.
The NFFC is a key ally for all those working toward protecting family farms, achieving fair prices, and creating a sustainable food future. As NFFC Executive Director Katherine Ozer has said, “There needs to be a system that works.”