2019 was a great year for Food Tank. We hosted and participated in ground-breaking Summits, innovative events, and global discussions about the food system in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Italy, and across the United States. We hosted our largest ever NYC Summit and Gala; our first-ever event series in New York City, Washington D.C., and Boston; and met many of our members and readers—and heroines and heroes—in person! We also started the second season of “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” our podcast that joins experts, thinkers, and doers in the food system.
As we head into a new decade, Food Tank is more excited than ever! In 2020, we’re expanding our activities in innovative ways—including new cities for our Food Talk Live events and Summits (here we come Tempe, AZ and Chicago, IL in January!), more podcasts with cool food and agriculture experts, and an off-Broadway play about climate change and the food system (Yes! A musical!).
Now is the time to join Food Tank—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 120 organizations to keep an eye on in 2020 that are working towards a more sustainable food system. Have a happy, safe, and delicious New Year!
A Growing Culture advocates for the rights of smallholder farmers and promotes agroecological innovation through outreach, research, and fostering knowledge sharing between farmers. The organization believes that autonomy is key to achieving social justice, so one pillar of the organization’s work centers around ensuring that farmers own their land so that they possess agency over the way they want to grow their crops. A Growing Culture launched Library for Food Sovereignty (LFS) in 2017, which digitizes local knowledge on a shared, open-source platform to connect farmers to resources and foster innovation.
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.
A community of farmers across 18 African countries, the Africa Farmers Club aims to bring agricultural workers together from the private sector, the public sector, and farmer organizations to share stories, successes, and knowledge. The Africa Farmers Club believes that “an informed farmer will always make the right decision, which will have a ripple effect in the whole value chain,” so they aim to promote entrepreneurship and networking to help farmers use resources as efficiently as possible.
Located in Israel, 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.
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.
BCFN is a multidisciplinary think tank working to achieve food sustainability, focused on enabling dialogue between the policy, science, and business sectors. Among its many initiatives, BCFN’s Young Earth Solutions (BCFN YES!) program accelerates innovative youth-driven projects aiming to address global food challenges. BCFN is also behind the Food & Cities publication—developed together with the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) to raise awareness on and discuss the role cities can play in transforming food systems worldwide.
7. 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.
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.
The Castanea Fellowship is a multi-sector collaborative working on opening up opportunities for food system leaders. Castanea Fellows undertake a two-year program to explore the connections between food, equity, health, and wellbeing and build power to shift structures within the food system. The Fellowship’s Steering Committee started the initiative driven by the work of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Community Fellowship Program.
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 the tools they may need to improve their food programs in an effort to alleviate kids’ hunger and improve nutrition.
Chefs Collaborative connects chefs and other food industry leaders working to build a better food system across the United States. Founded in 1993 by chefs including Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, and Alice Waters, the network aims to inspire, educate, and celebrate the leadership role of food professionals in securing the health of both people and the environment.
12. Chef’s Manifesto
Chef’s Manifesto is a community lead by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub which gathers chefs in a commitment to integrate the United Nations’ second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)—Zero Hunger—into their everyday actions. The more than 500 chefs from over 70 countries promise to be advocates for a better food future by inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and call upon policymakers to make changes in governance. In 2020, Chef’s Manifesto will focus on protecting biodiversity, empowering every chef in their network to champion food biodiversity—and sustainability—in their kitchens.
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.
14. Crop Trust
The Crop Trust is an international nonprofit organization working to preserve crop diversity, and in turn, protect global food security. The Crop Trust’s #CropsInColor campaign, of which Food Tank is a media partner, highlights the importance of crop diversity for food security and climate change adaptation. The audiovisual collection sheds light on the complexities, triumphs, and surprises of crop diversity in action, featuring globe-trotting crops such as beans, coffee, cassava, potatoes, maize, and rice. And the Crop Trust’s Food Forever Initiative is a global partnership that aims to raise awareness for the importance of protecting agricultural biodiversity with a set of high-level Champions and activists with ingenious ways to protect the resources still remaining on the planet.
The Culinary Institute of America offers culinary education programs and works together with members of the academic, public health, and environmental sectors to change how the world eats. The Menus of Change Initiative—a partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—provides chefs and foodservice leaders with menu, recipe, and business guidance linked to health and sustainability.
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 foodservice industry, featuring local chefs who volunteer to train students in basic culinary skills.
The Diyalo Foundation establishes schools, agricultural projects, and energy programs in rural communities of Nepal. The organization aims to combat high illiteracy and poverty rates in the country by providing free, high-quality education with an agricultural focus. Students learn in the schools’ agri-gardens, harvesting organic produce and later applying this new set of skills at home.
18. 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.
Edible Communities is a media network comprised of over 90 magazines from the US and Canada dedicated to telling the stories of farmers, chefs, fishers, artisans, and home cooks. The Edible Institute—the network’s flagship event—gathers food system leaders to explore community-based solutions for addressing some of the most critical challenges in food production.
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.
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.
Familias Unidas por la Justicia, formed in 2013, is the first new farmworker 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.
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.
Started by Baldemar Velasquez, who grew up in a migrant farmworker family, FLOC represents thousands of seasonal farmworkers, 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.
25. Favela Orgânica
Favela Orgânica is a food sovereignty project working to improve nutrition and reduce food waste across low-income communities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since its foundation in 2011, the organization hosts lectures, catering events with recovered and healthy foods, and training with kitchen and cafeteria staff to promote a change in consumption practices and to value typically-wasted parts of food.
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.
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.
28. Fight for $15
Fight for $15 is a global movement advocating for the rights of minimum wage workers in fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, child care, home health care, gas stations, and airports, among others. The movement began in 2012 when 200 fast-food workers in New York City walked off the job to protest. Today, Fight for $15 boasts members in 300 cities spread across six continents.
Florida Blue provides affordable health care plans to residents of Florida and promotes community health initiatives centering around food security. In collaboration with GuideWell Foundation, the organization held a summit this year that brought together health system leaders to innovate on local efforts to tackle food insecurity. The organization emphasizes the need for access to healthy, wholesome food to achieve better health outcomes.
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.
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.
FANRPAN is a pan-African research network that generates knowledge and provides independent evidence to national and regional food and agriculture programs. FANRPAN’s Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU) initiative aims to broaden the organization’s learning platforms and extend its impact to youth, for which the ATONU Super Girl Adventures comic book series was developed.
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 activists around the world.
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.
35. 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.
FoodFutureCo. is an accelerator program for small organizations pushing for change in the food system to grow their impact. The program selects purpose-driven companies that are scaling up and provides key resources such as consulting, global distribution and help to get through the difficult stage of scaling business design. Many of the accelerator’s recent cohort pitched ideas surrounding plant-based meat alternatives, seeing significant growth since participating in the program.
FPA was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable for 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.
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.
39. FoodShot Global
FoodShot Global—a multistakeholder investment platform founded by venture capitalist Victor Friedberg—supports startups and projects using cutting-edge technology to improve the food system, starting with soil health. The platform also hosts the MoonShot Prize, an annual investment competition aiming to accelerate innovative solutions tackling the global challenge of feeding 10 billion people by 2050.
The Food System Vision Prize is an initiative of The Rockefeller Foundation in partnership with SecondMuse and OpenIDEO that aims to encourage organizations and institutions worldwide to think collaboratively about the future of food. In order to secure a better food future, the Prize challenges applicants to think about how the world can envision a regenerative and nourishing food future by the year 2050. The Prize accepts applications through the end of January and provides winners—Visionaries—with prize grants, a three-month accelerator, and mentorship from experts, artists, and partner organizations in their fields.
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.
GAFF is a strategic alliance of over 20 philanthropic foundations working to transform food systems and secure the wellbeing of future generations. GAFF’s 2019 report Beacons of Hope: Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Food Systems, co-authored with the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, highlights 21 initiatives from around the world working to achieve sustainable, equitable, and secure food systems.
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.
44. Global Table
Global Table is an organization with a three-day global agribusiness and food conference, including Seeds&Chips, in Australia. The organization convenes attendees from all over the world—particularly from Asia-Pacific—to solve the biggest food challenges. The organization also serves as a program that highlights Australia’s actions towards achieving the SDGs—and the plans that are still needed to achieve international plans.
The Good Food Institute is a US-based nonprofit working with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs to support clean meat and plant-based alternatives to animal products. GFI also engages both producers and eaters in more efficient food production. GFI’s Good Food Scorecard ranks top chain restaurants based on their plant-based offer and provides guidance to those interested in taking advantage of the plant-based opportunity.
The Green Bronx Machine brings urban agriculture to schools in the Bronx, an underserved neighborhood in New York, with the vision of creating equitable communities and raising healthy students through their K-12 education program. They align their gardening program with school performance indicators to create a holistic educational experience for students to be able to thrive both inside and outside of the classroom, seeing marked increases in academic performance following the program’s implementation. One of the organization’s biggest accomplishments is the National Health, Wellness, and Learning Center, an indoor vertical farm space and training kitchen converted from a 100-year-old school library building in the South Bronx. Food grown in the center is served to hundreds of students in the cafeteria without ever having to leave the building.
GrowNYC provides free tools and services for New Yorkers to help improve access to fresh, healthy local food. In addition to a network of farmers’ markets and fresh food organizations, GrowNYC builds and rejuvenates community and school gardens and delivers environmental stewardship programs to more than 30,000 children each year.
48. Harlem Grown
Harlem Grown is an independent nonprofit organization based in Harlem, New York City, providing hands-on education to youth in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. Harlem Grown also works to renovate abandoned lots into urban farms and increase education and access to healthy food for Harlem residents.
Heifer International is a global nonprofit working across 21 countries to eradicate hunger and poverty through agricultural development. The organization delivers training and supplies to communities in order to improve their self-sufficiency. The Hatching Hope project, a partnership with agribusiness company Cargill, aims to empower female smallholder farmers through more productive, sustainable poultry and egg farming practices.
Huerta Niño Foundation builds school gardens and provides training to urban and rural communities spread across Argentina. The main goal of the gardens if to diversify the students’ diets, and ultimately, serve as a tool to combat child hunger and malnutrition in the country. Now in its 20th-year of operations, Huerta Niño covers all 23 provinces with 600 garden projects and 50,000 children actively involved in the gardens.
51. Hungry Harvest
Hungry Harvest fights food waste by connecting customers with surplus fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfills—the small, the ugly, or any abnormal-looking vegetable. For each box delivered from farm to doorstep, the company also donates a healthy meal to someone in need: Hungry Harvest has contributed over 850,000 pounds of produce to hunger-solving organizations.
The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center works to develop innovative and evidence-based solutions to prevent chronic diseases and promote food security in and outside of New York City. The center’s research, policy analysis, and education opportunities join experts and students together to brainstorm ways New York City’s food policy can be a model for the rest of the world.
IFOAM is comprised of 800 affiliates in more than 100 countries working to make it easier for farmers to farm organically and sustainably while raising awareness and recommending policy to embrace organic as a solution to global challenges. Its Participatory Guarantee Systems improve transparency regarding different domestic organic standards while also acknowledging a need for diversity and local adaptation.
IATP believes in a food system that benefits everyone: people, farmers, food system workers, and global communities. Their work includes economic and democratic advocacy to push for stronger health and farming policies. IATP also offers its expertise to NGOs, policymakers, and public agencies around the world to help bring policies and research into tangible food system change.
IACP educates, empowers, and engages culinary professionals for a better food culture nationally and internationally. IACP includes not only nutritionists, chefs, and restaurateurs, but also writers, photographers, stylists, and academics working towards a better and more delicious food system.
IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition. IFPRI collaborates with partners around the world to conduct research, communicate results, and build capacity to ensure sustainable food production, promote healthy food systems, improve markets and trade, transform agriculture, build resilience, and strengthen institutions and governance. An advocate and expert in better food policy and development, Shenggen Fan will leave IFPRI in completion of his term and Johan Swinnen will take his place.
IFAD works to eliminate poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in rural populations around the world. By planning and implementing agricultural development projects in developing countries, IFAD invests in rural people, helping to raise their productivity and incomes and ultimately secure an improved and sustainable quality of life. In 2020, Marie Haga—an expert on policy, development, and agricultural biodiversity—will become the Associate Vice-President, External Relations and Governance of IFAD.
IPES-Food is a multidisciplinary panel working to shape debates on food system reform around the world. Policy-oriented research and multistakeholder consultations form the base of IPES-Food’s work. Their latest report, Towards a Common Food Policy for the European Union, draws on discussions with over 400 farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and policymakers to set forth a common food vision for the EU.
IRC is a non-profit organization helping refugees rebuild livelihoods threatened by war and oppression. The IRC New Roots program provides newly resettled refugees with opportunities to hone their food production skills and grow food in community gardens and urban farms.
JBF’s mission is to preserve, nurture, and celebrate the diverse culinary heritage of the U.S. Among a variety of events and programs intended to educate, inspire, and entertain, JBF presents the James Beard Award, the highest honor bestowed to American food and beverage professionals. And JBF’s leadership awards highlight the realms of sustainability, food justice, and public health by recognizing outstanding initiatives and bodies of work. In 2019, the JBF recognized people and organizations like Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm; The Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center; and Anim Steel, Real Food Generation.
61. Kiss the Ground
Kiss the Ground is a nonprofit organization that seeks to share a story of hope for the climate built by soil. Kiss the Ground aims to increase soil carbon and biodiversity on 500 million acres of land by 2050. Through storytelling videos, presentations, and educational materials, Kiss the Ground hopes to foster a deeper understanding of the role soil plays in the food system. The organization also funds training programs for farmers to transition to regenerative practices.
Landesa works to secure land rights for the world’s poorest people, often focusing on land rights for women. They partner with local governments in developing countries to help create laws, policies, and programs to foster social justice, economic growth, and opportunities for the communities.
63. Little Herds
Little Herds is an insect education non-profit based in Austin, TX trying to change the reputation of bugs: rather than a nuisance, they can be a tasty source of nutrients. Through farmers’ markets, family events, public outreach, and education partnerships, the organization reaches out to the next generation of food innovators to promote insects not only as a sustainable protein source but also as a waste management tool and livestock feed.
The MSU Center for Regional Food Systems educates in order to create a collective impact on social problems in the food system. Through interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach, the center engages people beyond just students to envision a locally powered food system focused on healthy, fresh, fair, and affordable food.
MWOMA is the first-ever data-driven investigation looking into the funding gaps for women in AgriFood-Tech. Established in 2018 by AgFunder, The New Food Economy, and Karen Karp & Partners, MWOMA aims to change funding dynamics in the AgriFood-Tech industry. The initiative also provides advisory and organizes events to raise awareness on the issue and explore solutions for female entrepreneurs.
The NFU works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers and their rural communities in the U.S. They promote legislation and education beneficial to farmers through a grassroots structure in which policy positions are initiated locally by the 33 state chapters.
FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in the food, fiber, and natural resource industries. FFA is one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S., organizing conferences, conventions, competitions, experiential learning, and online learning experiences through more than 7,500 chapters.
The NYFC is working to halt and even reverse the decline of family farming in the U.S. by representing, mobilizing, and engaging young farmers. Their policy priorities include improvements to the delivery of federal programming, land access, student loan debt, training, housing, climate and conservation, and racial equity. The NYFC prepares to say goodbye to activist Lindsey Lusher Shute and welcomes their new Co-Executive Directors Martin Lemos and Sophie Ackoff.
Native Seeds/SEARCH, a nonprofit seed conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona, works to preserve the arid-adapted crop diversity of the Sonora Desert region. The seed bank houses nearly 2,000 varieties of crops, many of them rare or endangered. The seeds, and how to grow them, represent the cultural heritage and farming knowledge of more than 50 local indigenous communities and recent migrant groups.
NGI provides health-supportive culinary education to empower chefs, individuals, and communities to be leaders in the conversation about food and wellbeing. They advocate for a sustainable food system that respects natural resources and the people who make each meal possible.
NRDC works to protect people’s right to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. Using data, science, and reports, NRDC works globally to advocate for change in the way the world addresses energy, food, climate change, and more. NRDC also works to make the food system more efficient and less wasteful by helping cities redirect surplus food, teaching consumers how to waste less food and home, and pressuring the food industry and policymakers to adopt waste-reducing policies.
NMAA protects water and community acequias—gravity-propelled communal irrigation water systems brought to the Americas over 400 years ago. Through involvement in NMAA, communities are encouraged to advocate for cleaner water, grow food, and honor the cultural heritage of the area. NMAA’s Acequia Governance Project aims to improve community governance of acequias through education, technical assistance, and legal assistance, providing acequias with mapping and community-connecting technologies.
New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development boasts over 50 areas of study, including health, nutrition, and more. The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, led by Department Chair Dr. Krishnendu Ray, covers a range of issues across public health, nutrition, food, politics, and culture and features a cycle of expert professors such as Marion Nestle.
Each year, Niman Ranch, a leader in sustainable agriculture and humane livestock practices in the U.S., grants the Next Generation Scholarship Fund awards. The educational scholarships help the children of family farmers attain education to continue rural enhancement and raise awareness around the loss of traditional farming and ranching practices. In 2018, the Next Generation Foundation debuted as an official non-profit organization.
NATIFS is a nonprofit organization working to recover and restore Native foodways. Founded by The Sioux Chef, the organization aims to address the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by building sustainable food enterprises. NATIFS’s latest venture, the Indigenous Food Lab in Minneapolis, will house an indigenous restaurant, along with a research and training center to educate Native Americans on their foodways.
OFRF uses scientific research to increase the rate at which farmers adopt organic practices. OFRF works not only on the field, driving organic research and education efforts, but also in the government, working to cultivate federal policies that support incoming and established organic farmers.
OSA works to advance ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. Each year, they educate thousands of farmers and community members, conduct organic plant breeding and seed production research, and advocate for national policies that strengthen organic seed systems.
The Organic Trade Association’s mission is to promote and protect organic standards along the food chain, from farm to marketplace. Under their innovation, advocacy, and legislative goals, the Organic Trade Association hopes to show how bold, ambitious, and forward-thinking the organic sector is, and how innovating in organic production will help bridge the gap between organic food demand and production in 2030.
79. Oxfam America
Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice. As one of 17 members of the international Oxfam confederation, they work with people in more than 90 countries to create lasting solutions. Oxfam develops long-term solutions to poverty and campaigns for social change.
OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organization, collects and delivers excess food from commercial outlets to more than 1,300 charities spread across the country. Working with over 3,500 food donors, OzHarvest rescues an estimated 180 tons of food each week. In 2017, the organization opened Australia’s first rescued food supermarket in Sydney along with the OzHarvest Food Truck.
People and Plants develops knowledge exchange tools and facilitates dialogues to bring the voices of marginalized groups into the spotlight. Through the Traditional Foodways Program, People and Plants works with communities across The Philippines, Brazil, Cameroon, and Mexico to revive and strengthen traditional food systems, preserving local biodiversity and cultural landscapes.
The Postharvest Education Foundation works to empower people to reduce food loss and food waste. They do this by providing innovative education programs, tools, and mentorship to young professionals working in agriculture and postharvest systems around the world. The Postharvest Education Foundation’s programs focus specifically on the circumstances that developing countries face in the food system.
The Lexicon is a non-profit communications agency focused on food, agriculture, and water issues to increase awareness of sustainable principles to combat climate change—their storytelling approach helps people connect with sustainability across the food system. Their Rediscovered Food Initiative documents the stories of 25 successful crops around the world beyond corn, wheat, and rice that provide communities with nutrition, biodiversity, economic opportunity, and hope in the midst of climate change.
ReFED is a data-driven guide for businesses, government, funders, and nonprofits to collectively reduce food waste at scale. Through extensive research, ReFED has identified 27 of the best opportunities to reduce food waste across the U.S. and developed a range of tools to help efficiently and effectively reduce food waste from multiple points in the food chain. Preparing to say goodbye to global sustainability expert—and Executive Director Chris Cochran—ReFed welcomes Interim Executive Director Dana Gunders.
The Refresh Working Group is a research collaboration made up of over 30 farmers, small business owners, researchers, corporate partners, nonprofit leaders, educators, community organizers, and innovators working across the food system to examine the intersection of technological innovation and food. Led by Food Tank, Google, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Refresh Working Group published its first report, “Refresh: Food and Tech, from Soil to Supper,” in 2018 and in 2019, hosted a day of food activations, discussions, and cooking demonstrations at South by Southwest in Austin, TX. At the event, attendees learned more about the intersection of farming, food, and technology by watching cooking demos, attending panels at the conference, and testing out apps for farmers and innovative snacks like insects.
Regeneration International is a global network working to promote and facilitate the transition to regenerative food, farming, and land management practices. Comprised of more than 250 partners and regeneration alliances, the network hosts education programs, connects people, and supports policy initiatives that will advance the transition into regenerative agriculture both locally and globally.
RLC is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce and prevent food waste. Based in New York City, the organization provides solutions and consultations in order to eliminate food waste while simultaneously fighting hunger. RLC operates programs that provide services such as food waste consulting, excess food delivery, and tax credit assistance.
ROC United works to raise restaurant industry standards for working conditions, wages, and employee treatment. Made up of thousands of people who work in restaurants, over 750 employers, and thousands of consumers, ROC United has won more than US$10 million in misappropriated tips, wages, and discrimination payments and published over 30 reports illuminating the restaurant industry.
89. Seeds & Chips
Seeds & Chips hosts a leading food innovation summit each year, dedicated to showcasing national and international talent in the food system and cutting-edge solutions to the world’s social and economic problems. Each year, the conference connects people, ideas, and solutions to address topics such as agricultural challenges and climate change.
SHARECITY is an international research project looking at food sharing economies within cities. The project’s SHARECITY100 Database is an open-source map comprising more than 4,000 food sharing initiatives from 100 cities spread across 44 countries. The database aims to raise the visibility and access of people to food sharing enterprises, whether its community gardens, food redistribution projects, or community kitchens.
Slow Food International is a grassroots movement with chapters in over 160 countries that focus on creating a world with full access to food that is good for consumers, farmers, growers, and the planet. The organization works daily to prevent the disappearance of local food traditions, counteract the rise of fast life, and combat people’s dwindling interest in what they eat. Slow Food USA is part of the global Slow Food network spreading a mission of good, clean, and fair food for all to over 100,000 members in more than 150 countries. Through a vast volunteer network of local chapters, youth, and food communities, they link the pleasures of the table with a commitment to protect community, culture, knowledge, and environment.
92. Square Roots
This urban farming company, located in Brooklyn, NY, grows a range of delicious herbs and distributes them directly to grocery stores across NYC. At the heart of Square Roots is their unique year-long Next-Gen Farmer Training Program, which provides an opportunity for young people to enter the farming industry. Square Roots farmers spend the year learning about plant science and how to grow indoors while getting exposed to business and community building. Co-founded by Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk, the farming company graduated its first class of students in 2017.
Founded by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, Small Planet Fund provides grants to visionary social movements and grassroots organizations working to transform the global food system. They also offer six types of strategic grants, including seed, emergency, leverage, impact, visibility, and multiplier grants for opportunities that offer the biggest impact.
94. Soul Fire Farm
Soul Fire Farm grows food as an act of solidarity with those oppressed by food apartheid while maintaining respect for their ancestors, history, and the environment. Soul Fire Farm conducts training programs to raise the next generation of activist-farmers and support food sovereignty for future communities. The organization’s Co-Director Leah Penniman recently completed a book, “Farming While Black,” a guide for African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity.
SPACE on Ryder Farm is a nonprofit residency program and organic farm located in Putnam County, New York. SPACE was founded by artists to create an environment that offers artists space to create and cohabitate with fellow residents. Not only do artists and innovators find their work invigorated, but they contribute to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of the old organic farm.
Stone Barns is a nonprofit farm and educational center in New York with a partner restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. With a focus on fostering young farmers, the center serves as a working laboratory for experimentation, testing, and development of new tools, methods, crops, and animals to support resilient and regenerative agriculture.
Based in the U.K., SFT promotes international cooperation between policymakers, businesses, and civil society organizations to accelerate the transition to regenerative and harmonious food and farming systems. SFT influences and enhances the work of other food system leaders, advocates for better policy and practice, and provides a range of informative articles on their website.
The Alliance uses research to create solutions to problems in protecting agricultural biodiversity and improving sustainable food systems. Biodiversity International and CIAT joined to become a global organization working in Asia, Africa, and the Americas to deliver scientific evidence and policy options to over 35 countries. As CGIAR Research Centers, the organizations aim to improve food security and nutrition by fostering agricultural biodiversity, reduce poverty and hunger, and protect natural resources. Bioversity International’s Agrobiodiversity Index tracks how sustainably countries use their agrobiodiversity and highlights key issues of the local food system, while CIAT’s Big Data Platform provides global leaders with open data and avenues for collaboration on big data analytics to enhance the impact of international agricultural research. As the two organizations bond in an alliance, they prepare to say goodbye to Director General Ruben G Echeverría and welcome Juan Lucas Restrepo in 2020.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs uses expert voices, independent research, and public engagement to bring clarity to the world’s issues and offer solutions for transformation. The organization provides insight into global food security and nutrition in the face of new challenges—and opportunities—brought upon by urbanization, climate change, and new technologies. Their annual reports provide guidance to public, private, and non-governmental organizations to become global leaders in nutrition and food security.
The Climate Collaborative joins manufacturers, retailers, distributors, brokers, suppliers, and other natural foods businesses to reverse the natural products industry’s contributions to climate change. Focusing on nine commitment areas—including agriculture, food waste, packaging, and more—the Climate Collaborative aims to share new ideas and solutions to help companies make positive impacts on the climate. The Collaborative includes executives from Annie’s, Dr. Bronner’s, Organic Valley, and more.
The Edible Schoolyard, started by Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters, was a pioneer of the school garden method. Started in 1995, the program began with just one middle school but has since expanded to schools across the United States. The school gardens work together with a learning kitchen to teach vital cooking skills to children and the school’s cafeteria, which uses fresh produce from the garden to feed students on a day-to-day basis. The organization also offers training programs for other schools to implement the school garden model.
The Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming serves farmers and food changemakers in the Hudson Valley of New York. Glynwood aims to advance local food production and inform the national audience about the advantages of regionalizing food and agriculture. Glynwood offers training, apprentice, and incubator programs to help farmers enhance their work through regenerative agriculture and fosters coalitions of organizations in the Hudson Valley area, among other programs, to stimulate the food and farming system in the region.
103. The Goods Mart
The Goods Mart is a conscious convenience store with locations in New York City and Los Angeles. Founded in 2018 by young entrepreneur Rachel Krupa, The Goods Mart aims to reimagine neighborhood spaces while serving quality, environmentally-friendly food products. Goods Mart also prompts shoppers to tip a percentage of their bill upon checkout, donating the amount to a different charity each month.
HAPPY—Happy Active Positive Purposeful Youth—is a youth-led organization that addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social health issues they face today. They equip kids and their families with the resources, skills, and information to take responsibility for their own health and confidently embrace nutritious and affordable food. Founded by Haile Thomas, the organization brings fun and engaging programs to schools, camps, and communities to engage youth in nutrition.
The Center for a Livable Future from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health aims to promote research and communication about the relationships between diet, food production, human health, and the environment. Created in 1996 by Dr. Robert Lawrence, the Center offers practical resources to food policy advocates and gives insight into students and educators to help them contribute to a healthier, more equitable, and resilient food system. The Center’s recent projects include using GIS technology to identify gaps in Baltimore’s food environment, using mapping applications to incorporate data on the food system for the state of Maryland, and providing technical assistance to the national Meatless Monday campaign.
106. The Land Institute
The Land Institute is committed to accelerating polyculture farming solutions and promotes growing food in tandem with nature, changing modern agricultural practices which cause soil erosion and degradation. Polyculture is the farming practice of using multiple crops within the same space, promoting biodiversity by emulating natural ecosystems.
107. The Organic Center
The Organic Center is a research and education organization that aims to convene credible science on the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming. The organization hopes to use the evidence and information to educate the public, advance understanding about the intersection of food, health, and environment; and support innovation and efficacy in the organic farming sector.
108. The Rodale Institute
The Rodale Institute works on growing the organic movement through research, farmer training, and consumer education. Founded in 1947, the 333-acre farm in east Pennsylvania serves as a hub where both experienced and new farmers can learn about regenerative agriculture. The Institute’s Farming Systems Trial, conducted since 1981, provides a side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agricultural systems to help farmers make changes in their farming practices.
TFF is a global innovation accelerator for food and agriculture start-ups. TFF members—a community of over 15,000 youth leaders—connect through their Academy and Digital Labs to access mentorship, build a professional network, and engage in collaborations, while the annual TFF Challenge gathers entrepreneurs to develop bold, technology-driven solutions for improving the food value chain.
The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University develops innovative ideas and solutions to the many challenges of current food systems. Taking a holistic and transdisciplinary approach, the Center’s work encompasses water and energy use, carbon footprint and nutrition, innovations in agtech, and the well-being and livelihood of farmers and others working in food systems. Executive Director Kathleen Merrigan, a former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, leads the center in collaborations on developing cutting edge science and policy in the food system.
111. TMG Research gGmbH
TMG (Töpfer – Müller – Gassner) Research gGmbH is a Berlin-based think tank working to address multiple sustainability challenges across the globe. TMG’s project, Soil Protection and Rehabilitation for Food Security, focuses on securing land rights for women farmers in Kenya and Burkina Faso, with over 200 women acquiring access to farm fields during the first pilot.
TTFF is a US-based nonprofit that distributes fruit-bearing trees in order to feed people, create jobs, and benefit the environment. Working across 17 countries, TTFF has now expanded operations to offer manufacturing equipment, cooking classes, meal programs, and school support to foster further economic and social opportunities in the communities they serve.
The True Health Initiative—a group of more than 400 world-renowned health experts—aims to clarify healthy and sustainable living by dispelling health myths and publicizing truths with a unified voice. The initiative supports six principles for a world with less chronic disease: forks, feet, fingers, sleep, stress, and love.
The Friedman School pursues research and offers education programs that cover every part of health and the food system, from molecular nutrition to sustainability. Led by Dean Dariush Mozaffarian, the school includes faculty such as biomedical scientists, economists, nutritionists, physicians, and political scientists who understand the changes needed to generate real-world impacts in global development and health.
CORAF, Africa’s largest sub-regional research organization, works on improving small farmer efficiency and promoting agribusiness in 23 countries. The organization’s West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) develops and accelerates agricultural innovations as a response to increasing challenges in agricultural productivity of the region. Areas of action include boosting aquaculture, closing the gender gap, improving market access, and involving youth in agriculture.
116. Wholesome Wave
Wholesome Wave started in 2007 with the mission to ensure low-income communities had equal access to healthy and healing foods. They make good food affordable through the Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program, empowering doctors to write families prescriptions for produce, and the Double Value Coupon Program, doubling the power of federal benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Chef Jose Andres established ThinkFoodGroup to manage restaurants, hotels, and food products worldwide, but also drive education and philanthropy in the food sector. ThinkFoodGroup’s World Central Kitchen, a traveling kitchen that responds to hardships and disasters with emergency meal donations, recently responded to natural disasters in Puerto Rico, California, and Tijuana. World Central Kitchen also provides education, economic opportunities, and food security to communities as they rebuild their livelihoods. Since 2010 they have empowered people, strengthened the economy, developed key partnerships, created a skilled workforce, and helped communities feed themselves.
118. World Food Programme
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations working to address global hunger and food insecurity through humanitarian operations and development programs. In order to fast track their vision of Zero Hunger, WFP’s Innovation Accelerator identifies and scales solutions developed by entrepreneurs and start-ups through financial support, mentorship, and global field reach.
WRI is a global research organization working to address critical issues at the intersection of development and the environment. WRI’s 2019 report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, provides a five-course menu of solutions to feed the world in a sustainable manner, including proposed actions for different stakeholders of the food system. WRI’s work spans 60 countries, linking topics of climate, energy, food, cities, forests, water, and oceans.
Your Bountiful Harvest, a sustainable urban farm and garden consultation service in Chicago, Illinois, works on teaching people how to feed themselves. Your Bountiful Harvest provides guidance, organic seedlings, and farmer training through on-site visits to urban gardens and green spaces, with the goal of increasing people’s self-sufficiency through sustainable farming.