So, what is Sustainable Agriculture?

sustagThe term ‘sustainable agriculture’ is used often, but what does it mean? The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently issued these five principles to define sustainable agriculture.

1. Improving efficiency in the use of resources is crucial to sustainable agriculture.

Modifying current practices can do much to improve the productivity of many food and agricultural production systems. This principle focuses on the engine of transformation. Further gains in productivity will still be needed in the future to ensure sufficient supply of food and other agricultural products while limiting the expansion of agricultural land and containing encroachment on natural ecosystems.

However, while in the past efficiency has been mostly expressed in terms of yield, future productivity increase will now need to consider other dimensions. Water- and energy-smart production systems will become increasingly important as water scarcity increases and as agriculture will need to seek ways to reduce emission of greenhouse gas. This will impact on the use of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs.

2. Sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources.

Food and agricultural production depends on natural resources and therefore the sustainability of production depends on the sustainability of the resources themselves. Much can be done to reduce negative impacts and enhance the status of natural resources.

While intensification has positive effects on the environment through reduced agricultural expansion and subsequent limitation in encroachment on natural ecosystems, it also has potentially negative impact on the environment.

The most widespread model of agriculture intensification involves intensive use of farm inputs, including water, fertilizers and pesticides. The same applies to animal production and aquaculture, with subsequent pollution of water, destruction of freshwater habitats, and destruction of soil properties. Intensification has also led to the drastic reduction of crop and animal biodiversity. Such trends in agricultural intensification are not compatible with sustainable agriculture and are a threat to future production.

3. Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods, equity and social well-being is unsustainable.

Ensuring that producers have adequate access to and control of productive resources, and addressing the gender gap, can contribute significantly to reducing poverty and food insecurity in rural areas.

Agriculture is the most labour intensive of all economic activities. It provides, directly and indirectly, a source of livelihoods for rural households totalling 2.5 billion people. Yet, poverty is excessively associated with agriculture, and agriculture is among the riskiest types of businesses. Agriculture can only become sustainable if it provides decent employment conditions to those who practise it, in an economically and physically safe, and healthy environment.

4. Enhanced resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is key to sustainable agriculture.

Extreme weather, market volatility and civil strife impair the stability of agriculture. Policies, technologies and practices that build producers’ resilience to threats would also contribute to sustainability.

Several signals in the recent past have illustrated the risks that shocks can represent for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Increased climate variability, whether associated or not to climate change, impacts farmers and their production. On the other side, increased food price volatility impacts both producers and consumers who don’t necessarily have the means to cope with them.

Rather than reducing these shocks, increased globalization has probably favoured their rapid transmission across the globe, with increasingly unpredictable impact on the production systems. Resilience therefore becomes central to the transition towards a sustainable agriculture, and must address both the natural and the human dimensions.

5. Sustainable food and agriculture requires responsible and effective governance mechanisms.

The transition to sustainable production can only take place when there is the right balance between private and public sector initiatives, as well as accountability, equity, transparency and the rule of law.

Mainstreaming sustainability into food and agriculture systems implies adding a public good dimension to an economic enterprise. Agriculture is and will remain an economic activity driven by the need for those practising it to make profit and ensure a decent living out of its activities.

Farmers, fisher folks and foresters need to be provided with the right incentives that support the adoption of appropriate practices on the ground. Sustainability will only be possible through effective and fair governance, including the right and enabling policy, legal and institutional environments that strike the right balance between private and public sector initiatives, and ensure accountability, equity, transparency and the rule of law.

Original Post


UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers the largest, most diverse, progressive and flexible university degrees in Sustainable Agriculture in the world.  See: study Sustainable Food and Farming.


Community College Campus Goes Native

When you drive up the entrance road to Massasoit Community College in Brockton, MA, the first thing you see is a prairie!   That is, you see a lawn gone wild with natural grassland vegetation just before you see the College Administration Building.  Amazing!

Massasoit Community College has made a major statement about how a public space can be landscaped to provide habitat for native pollinators!

IMG_4049The Massasoit Meadow in the Making is the brainchild of faculty member Melanie Trecek-King and her landscape ecology students.  And her colleague, Michael Bankson’s students presented the results of their efforts at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore, MD in August, 2015. Their work was entitled Restoring habitat with native flowering plants benefits wild bees in an urban landscape. The students have been conducting research about native pollinators under the Massachusetts STEM starter grant over the past year.

IMG_4046According to Melanie Trecek-King, as much as 12% of the grounds of the college has been turned into pollinator habitat and it has made a significant difference in the native bee and pollinator population on campus.

USDA/NRCS Chief Jason Weller said in a recent statement, “the foraging opportunities for honeybees — and native pollinators like butterflies, bumblebees, and other wild bees — are greatly enhanced when they can access vast fields of wildflowers and other native plants. But these fields are being broken up by agriculture and covered up by development.”   USDA recently announced a $4 million program to assist farmers create more habitat to support declining bee populations.

Like most college campuses, the standard landscaping right in the heart of the Massasoit campus used to feature typical sterile landscape plants and bark mulch.

bedsThese areas have been turned into native plant pollinator gardens by Trecek-King and her students, both making the campus more beautiful and more ecologically friendly.

bed2This important work offers students both the opportunity to gain real world practical experience in establishing and maintaining a sustainable landscape as well as research opportunities in landscape ecology.

IMG_4050Congratulations to Massasoit Community College for leading the way in Massachusetts toward creating a more ecological sound and educational landscape on their campus!

Operation Harvest and Heal: one farm’s mission to nurture veterans, families, and local food

By Lily Sexton – April 14, 2015

In the Pioneer Valley, one can hardly travel a few miles without a farm sighting. Large dairy farms, small-scale organic production, lush displays of permaculture; this area grows amazing food. But though it may seem that the Valley has enough farmers as it is, Marcin Butkiewicz is settling farm land in an entirely unique way. Butkiewicz currently is working in Rwanda as a data systems analyst for Gardens For Health, a non-profit that partners with local health centers to aid malnourished children by teaching agricultural skills and nutritional knowledge to mothers and providing them with resources to improve their home gardens. It is easy to see his passion for food, farming, and the healing impact they can have on people.

On a sunny afternoon at the Montague Book Mill, Marcin and I met for a cup of coffee to talk about his project, Operation Harvest and Heal. Equal parts fully sustainable farm, non-profit CSA system, and therapeutic haven for returning veterans, it is easy to tell that the vision of Operation Harvest and Heal is the work of a man gifted with the ability to understand the ripple effects that positive change can have on a whole system. Perhaps this is because Butkiewicz has also seen the antithesis of this; the negative spiral of veterans returning from war. “[About] 75% of the homeless population in Boston is veterans. [A recent study] stated that 1.4 million veterans need to rely on food stamps to feed their children, which is ridiculous.” Marcin’s status as a veteran gives him unique insight into the struggles that men and women face upon returning from active duty, specifically the immense challenge of obtaining whole, healthy food when money is tight. “In Cambridge, [a CSA share] is anywhere from $700-1,000… This past summer I spoke at an event raising money for veterans to buy CSA shares. We started having conversations while we were raising that money for the CSAs [about the absurdity] of paying for commercial products when the structure behind them isn’t viable.” Conversations like these led Butkiewicz to create the Harvest portion of the Operation.

Harvest and Heal really go hand in hand for Butkiweicz, who found mental and emotional recovery in farming. “When I first got back I had a lot of trouble transitioning, like most veterans do, which is why most of them are not successful. The thing that helped me the most was gardening. I went out and just started growing and it was actually the most therapeutic thing that I’ve ever done… Emotionally, I was on a cocktail of medicines to ease anxiety when I first got back… Having something that I produced … that was self-sustaining and that I could take pride in, that I’d created- [and] it could sustain me too, if I wanted it to. It was an incredible revelation that woke me up in a sense.” Operation Harvest and Heal’s model will allow veterans and their families to take their recovery into their own hands, literally. Under Marcin’s leadership, veterans will be able to participate in the cultivation of a full array of vegetables and grains and many other tasks involved with growing food and materials to live off of. Says Butkiewicz, “Not only will they learn the skills, but they’ll have a trade, it’ll be official, they can get a job, they can get some therapy, they can grow their own food for their own family. [Then it can become] a group of people who are doing the work, so the size of the farm can grow more. I don’t care if I make a dime off of it. The idea also is to grow the local infrastructure and the local resources.”

Butkiewicz’s unique ability to communicate how his vision will benefit the local community is what makes local non-profits ultimately succeed. He seems to always be thinking four steps ahead, taking into consideration the community’s needs and wants and where it can improve. “A lot of people are disconnected from local food. There’s a lot of people who will go to the store, they’ll buy something, and that’s how they get all their food. Whereas up until the first markets in the fifties, up until then everything was local. So by growing awareness, by growing an identity with your local food sources, that becomes the meaning. [But] a lot of people can’t afford it; it’s only the upper echelons of society, unfortunately, that can afford resources like that… It’s kind of counterintuitive.”

By being an active presence in the local community, Marcin hopes to begin to bring healthy food to all by spreading awareness and education. “The idea behind [the local food movement] is good but with limited resources it creates more of a differentiation. If you create awareness, if you create appreciation through free education amongst the people who aren’t part of the [upper echelons of society], then it becomes part of their lives. They want to be local, they want to be able to grow local food.” Butkiewicz sees a major flaw in America’s reliance on supermarkets. Being able to buy many varieties of produce from all over the world has its perks, but ultimately this food has to travel very far to be offered. People do not have the opportunity to see the impact of their food, the farmer who grows it, the methods used; “There’s not a lot of identity with that.”

Operation Harvest and Heal is planning on having seeds in the ground by the spring of 2016. After the initial start-up costs, the farm should be able to sustain itself at little to no costs through seed-saving and sustainable practices, reasons Butkiewicz. The vision includes draft horse power down the road in order to maintain the farm’s non-mechanized policy.

As the Pioneer Valley continues to lead the region and the state in the local food movement, Operation Harvest and Heal, with its all-inclusive vision, will be a reminder of the core value that inspired the movement: local, healthy food is for everyone. It will aid veterans in discovering new skills in a healing environment and those who previously could not afford or have access to organic produce will be given that chance. Hopefully, one farm can begin to shift the negative spiral that too many veterans are faced with upon returning from duty.


You can contact Marcin at

MA Farm Bureau Invites UMass Agricultural Community to “Farmland” Movie Screening, December 4, 2014

farmland Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) has arranged for a special screening of Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll’s feature length documentary, “Farmland” for their annual meeting, which will be held at the UMass Hotel in Amherst. MFBF is extending a special invitation to the UMass agricultural community to join them for this event.

The film offers viewers a firsthand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers across the U.S., chronicling their high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

“Farming in Massachusetts is growing and for the first time in many years more acres are being farmed, due in part to young farmers like those featured in this film,” says MFBF President, Rich Bonanno. “Farmland gives the audience real insight into what it takes to be a farmer nowadays. We think that the UMass agricultural community will find it informative and entertaining.”

Many Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch or even talked to the people who grow and raise the food we eat, yet are increasingly passionate about understanding where their food comes from. “This is a film for anyone who eats,” says Moll. “It’s not what you’d expect. The world of farming is complex and often controversial, but the farmers themselves are some of the most hard-working and fascinating people I’ve ever met.”  

A limited number of seats will be available for the screening, which is scheduled for 7:15pm on December 4th. Please call 508-481-4766, or email by Nov. 20th to reserve a seat.


The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit, member-driven organization representing over 5,000 family members across the Commonwealth. Its mission is “to protect the rights, encourage the growth, and be of service to its members, in the best interest of agriculture.”


Pioneer Valley Food System Resources

We live in a region in which awareness of the value of local food and building a vibrant local food system is strong.  I’ve collected some of the reports that have done analysis of the current situation and made proposals for continuing growth below.  I hope you find these useful.  IF YOU KNOW OF OTHER REPORTS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!


nohoA newsletter on efforts in Northampton to encourage production, purchasing and consumption of local food.

 A report on food security in Franklyn County, MAfrank

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Food  pvpc
Security Plan – Nobody goes hungry!

A Pioneer Valley Report on the potential for a  localjobsstrong local food economy to create jobs.

A report on how a 25% shift in food buying in the 25%Pioneer Valley can have a huge impact on the local economy.

CISA has a new publication on how to get involved in the  local food movement. 


A vision for a robust New England Food System. newenglN


Here is a regional research project which focused on Iowa but demonstrates the impact of building a healthy local food system.

Check out this national publication which studied the impact of local food investments.

A research journal article on the value of local food.

An Orion Magazine article on rebuilding a local foods infrastructure.

Driven by Student Demand, Agriculture Expands at UMass Amherst

By Nicole Belanger, NOFA/Mass PR Coordinator & Newsletter Editor

Farming at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is seeing a resurgence after decades of waning interest in agriculture and shifting university priorities. A long way from its origins as an agricultural land grant college in the 1860s, many barns and other agricultural facilities on campus were dismantled or repurposed in the 1950s and 1960s as its student body, and the culture at large, became less interested in small scale family farms. Only one barn remains on campus, an old horse barn originally built in 1894 that is now out of place as new buildings rise around it.

In the past ten years enrollment in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture’s Sustainable Food and Farming major has increased from five students to nearly 100. Many on campus hope that the days of students needing to drive to farm sites off campus, or worse, working solely in labs and greenhouses and never setting foot in a field, are long gone.

Stephen Herbert saw that last horse barn on campus, 40 acres of under-utilized farmland owned by the university, and the increasing need for students to get hands-on experience in the field as a match. Herbert was, until recently, the Director of the Center for Agriculture and is now returning to his role as teaching faculty. In the 1960s the 40+ acre field just north of campus was purchased by the University from four farm families. When the University of Massachusetts Medical School, originally slated for that parcel, was built elsewhere, those 40 acres became hay fields for the next 50 years.

This site has become the Agricultural Learning Center (ALC)–the only farm in walking distance of the Amherst campus. Students and faculty alike are enthusiastic about the possibility the center presents for future farmers. In 2012 a groundbreaking was held, with children of families who formerly owned the four farms in attendance to celebrate the university’s commitment to agriculture. With a well-documented aging farmer population, Agricultural Learning Center Project Manager Sandy Thomas says, “We need well educated young people learning how to grow food.”

Herbert’s ultimate vision is to relocate the last barn on campus to the ALC site, rehabilitating the barn into a functional classroom, laboratory and greenhouse space. According to Herbert, the cost of moving the barn alone is 1.5 million dollars. Rehabbing the interior could cost another million or more dollars, bringing the project’s total cost to 2.5 million. The Massachusetts Farm Bureau has raised the $500,000 they pledged to see the project happen. The ALC seeks additional major donors to complete the project. Until the funds are raised, the barn will not be moved.

Growing organically

In 2008, students approached professor Ruth Hazzard for permission to use part of a certified organic University research farm in South Deerfield to grow vegetables for Earthfoods, a student-run restaurant on campus. Since that first season, the Student Farming Enterprise has grown dramatically, now a year-round class that produces food for a 45-member CSA, a campus farmers’ market, as well as seasonal sales to the Northampton and Amherst Big Y supermarkets.

barnStudent sketches of the Agricultural Learning Center with relocated horse barn

Students in the program work over the course of one year on every aspect of the business: choosing crops to plant, purchasing seeds, and overseeing the organic certification process. Professor Amanda Brown manages the site and the class. In 2013 the class began working on a six-acre plot on the ALC site. Brown intends to work with students to get the ALC plot certified organic in 2014. Though the Student Farming Enterprise has a lot of infrastructure set up in S. Deerfield, with its 15 certified organic acres, Brown thinks it’s likely that the program will have a larger presence at the ALC site going forward.

Like most public universities, UMass’s farming education blends organic and non-organic growing methods. Very few public universities have exclusively organic farms on their campus. (Washington State’s Evergreen State College and University of California Santa Cruz are some exceptions, only farming organically.)

As the Student Farming Enterprise at the ALC will coexist with non-organic vegetable production, land care, and apple production, care must be taken to ensure organic crops are not contaminated. Brown sees good record keeping, border maintenance, equipment cleaning, and making sure organic crops like corn are not fertile at the same time as non-organic, GMO corn crops as essential to maintaining the integrity of the organic land and organic crop.

NOFA/Mass Policy Director Jack Kittredge is enthusiastic that UMass is responsive to the increasing interest in farming and the needs of their students to have direct, on-farm experience. Kittredge also applauds efforts to relocate and preserve the historic campus barn, which he says, “captures the spirit of old-fashioned New England.”

He sees the new center and renewed interest in agriculture on campus as an opportunity for Massachusetts and UMass to take a leading role in non-GMO, organic and sustainable farming. As Europe has restricted GMOs, Kittredge believes GMOs will likely be restricted in the region and country in the near future and would like to see the University at the forefront.

The future of farming on campus

In 2012 it was announced that the ALC received a $10,000 donation from the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic branch of the Monsanto Co. Some community members and students voiced their concerns that the multinational corporation would influence the direction of the ALC.

twostudentsWhile John Gerber, Stockbridge School of Agriculture professor, thought there was legitimate concern, especially given the influence on corporate agriculture funding on other public universities, ultimately he doesn’t believe that industrialized agriculture is the future of Massachusetts farming, which has historically had small farms. According to the UMass Center for Agriculture, in 2007 the largest number of farms in the state was between 10-49 acres. Gerber sees an opportunity for Massachusetts to, “take a lead in organic and other sustainable types of farming.”

Though the USDA claims that organic and conventional crops can coexist in a close proximity, Kittredge believes that the two cannot coexist because of issues like genetic drift and ground contamination. Kittredge believes UMass is doing their best within the system and hopes to continue to see the University teach students about, and mitigate, potential problems with the two different systems coexisting.

Ultimately, John Gerber sees the push towards organic, sustainable, non-industrial farming as being lead by students, a trend he thinks will continue. In addition to their responding to a changing world, Gerber recognizes that students are hungry for meaning in their lives, in part led by a quest for an increased quality of life.

“Students want to see organic, sustainable things. A lot of [what is happening at the University] is in response to what students are saying they want to learn,” says Brown. She sees so much support for the Student Farming Enterprise and their production practices. She also recognizes there is a market for what they’re doing, saying that buyers like Big Y are “only interested in organic.”

A place for partnerships

The University does not have funds to pay for the relocation and rehabilitation of the old horse barn. Stephen Herbert hopes for a few more major donors and for individual donations to see the barn project happen.

The barn would provide needed classroom space for the University to meet growing student demand and to further partnerships with programs mitigating poverty in the Pioneer Valley, community education projects, and organizations like NOFA (who has held its 1000+ attendee summer conference at UMass since 2008), Amanda Brown is ready to get to work on the ALC, saying “whether there’s a barn there or not we are going to do it.”

To learn more about the UMass’ Agricultural Learning Center visit center. To learn more about the Student Farming Enterprise visit projects/student-farming-enterprise

The Bachelor of Sciences degree in Sustainable Food and Farming is described here.



Published in the NOFA November, 2013 Newsletter


100 Food Activist Twitter Feeds

1. Alice Waters – @AliceWaters

The queen of California cuisine, Alice Waters is the Vice President of Slow Food International, founder of the Yale Sustainable Food Project, and owner of acclaimed locavore restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, CA.

2. – @allafrica

The premier news source for African news, and its Twitter feed are great for information related to development, agriculture, and other news across the 54 countries in Africa.

3. Andrew Zimmern – @andrewzimmern

Zimmern, James Beard Award winner and host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, has a unique take on the cultural significance of food and its power to bring people together.

4. Andy Bellatti – @andybellatti

Bellatti, a self-described “wonk who loves to call out food industry deception,” offers the perspective of a food activist dietician.

5. Anna Lappe – @annalappe

Lappe has made a name for herself by founding Food Mythbusters, which aims to provide a clearer picture of the food industry and the hazards of fast food. She is behind the hashtag #MomsNotLovinIt – moms, however, certainly love Lappe’s Tweets.

6. Ann Cooper – @chefannc

Cooper promotes cooking from scratch in school cafeterias, emphasizing the link between food, farming, and children’s health.

7. Anthony Bourdain – @Bourdain

Bourdain is famously unabashed in his opinions, but has charmed his Twitter audience in delivering them along with stories of his world travels and his insights on food.

8. Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) – @BarillaCFN

BCFN, an Italian research institute working toward a more sustainable and healthy food system, tweets fascinating facts from the organization’s research, as well as links to many BCFN reports, articles, and projects.

9. Barton Seaver – @bartonseaver

Chef, author, educator, and advocate, Seaver has seen almost every side of the food system. He has a passion for sustainable seafood.

10. Bertini & Glickman (Catherine Bertini and Dan Glickman) – @GlobalAgDev

The official Twitter account for the co-chairs of the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative tweets information on development policy and food security.

11. Beth Hoffman – @bethfoodtech

Hoffman is a freelance reporter who focuses on food, agriculture, and sustainability. She tweets links to a variety of food articles, offering a bit of skepticism about the food industry.

12. Bettina Elias Siegel – @thelunchtray

Siegel’s Twitter feed not only has great tweets about food issues, but it also organizes over 500 other Twitter feeds into lists like “Kids & Food,” “Anti-Hunger Groups,” “Food Reform & Advocacy,” and “Food Writing.”

13. Bill Telepan – @billtelepan

A Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, Telepan has used his restaurants to highlight sustainability, and also works to reform the New York City school lunch program.

14. Bioneers – @bioneers

Bioneers is a multi-media platform for advancing solutions for a more just and sustainable world. The initiative focus on restorative food systems, and its Twitter feed highlights some of the most interesting solutions to food system reform.

15. Catherine Bertini – @C_A_Bertini

Bertini has an impressive resume in food and agriculture: World Food Prize Laureate, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, and current co-chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Agriculture Development Initiative. She tweets job opportunities, news, and quotes about the food system.

16. Center for Food Safety – @TrueFoodNow

The Center for Food Safety is dedicated to ending harmful food production technologies and supporting sustainable agriculture.

17. Center for Science in the Public Interest – @CSPI

With a newsletter that reaches almost a million people, CSPI is a strong advocate for food, nutrition, and health policy.

18. Center for Strategic & International Studies Global Food Security Project – @CSISFood

The CSIS Global Food Security Project provides research, analysis, and policy recommendations for improving food security. This Twitter feed links to news stories about advances in agriculture and food security in the developing world.

19. The Christensen Fund – @ChristensenFund

The Christensen Fund is a private foundation that supports initiatives promoting biodiversity and cultural and environmental sustainability. Its Twitter Feed includes updates from its funded projects and programs, as well as links to news stories that relate to its mission from around the world.

20. Civil Eats – @CivilEats

One of the leading news sources for food politics, Civil Eats confronts major issues in the American food system.

21. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers – @ciw

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers was founded in 1993 and has grown into an internationally recognized organization that advocates for corporate social responsibility and sustainable food. This is a must-follow Twitter feed for those interested in farmworkers’ rights and labor issues.

22. Community for Zero Hunger – @ZHCommunity

The Community for Zero Hunger is a new independent initiative that supports the U.N. Zero Hunger Challenge, and tweets on food security and hunger in the 21st century.

23. Conservation International – @ConservationOrg

Founded in 1987, Conservation International examines the relationship between economic development and conservation. The organization researches issues ranging from climate change to food and water supply.

24. Dan Barber – @DanBarber

Executive chef and owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Barber is an acclaimed writer on food and agriculture and member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Barber’s Twitter feed is a glimpse into the mind of one of America’s greatest chefs.

25. David A. Kessler – @DavidAKesslerMD

Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, is also the author of The End of Overeating. His tweets cover food and agriculture from a health perspective.

26. Department of Agriculture – @USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Twitter feed is a great place to get daily information, reports, and facts on agriculture and other food system issues in the United States. The Twitter feed also live-tweets important events.

27. Earth Eats – @eartheats

Part of Indian Public Media, Earth Eats covers news stories on food safety, policy, and sustainable agriculture, and also has a weekly podcast.

28. Eddie Gehman Kohan – @ObamaFoodorama

This fun Twitter feed keeps track of all White House food initiatives and events.

29. Edible Schoolyard – @edibleschoolyrd

Edible Schoolyard is dedicated to incorporating food education and school gardens around the country. It’s hard not to be a fan of the initiative’s mission to provide every student with a free, organic, and nutritious school lunch.

30. Environmental Working Group Toxics Team – @ewgtoxics

Cutting-edge research and advocacy are the defining characteristics of the Environmental Working Group. The EWG Twitter feed gives links to stories on their own research and to other relevant news stories.

31. Farming First – @farmingfirst

Farming First is a coalition of multi-stakeholder organizations that work to promote sustainable agriculture. Tweets are from a variety of sources that highlight sustainable agriculture.

32. Farm Labor Organizing Committee – @SupportFLOC

FLOC was founded in 1967, and grew into an innovative organization that focuses on the problems with large-scale food supply chains. FLOC has also fought to give migrant workers bargaining power in the labor market.

33. Feed the Future – @FeedtheFuture

U.S. government initiative Feed the Future works to develop long-term solutions to food insecurity and undernutrition.

34. FAO Newsroom – @FAOnews

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Newsroom is a great source for global food and agriculture news, and for updates on ongoing United Nations projects.

35. Food Chain Workers Alliance – @foodchainworkers

Founded in 2009, the Food Chain Workers Alliance is a coalition of over a dozen organizations fighting for workers’ rights. By forming a coalition, the Alliance is able to work toward a more sustainable food system with a united voice.

36. FoodCorps – @FoodCorps

By placing leaders into underserved communities, FoodCorps is educating the next generation about healthy, nutritious food. Tweets regularly highlight FoodCorps projects, gardens, and volunteers.

37. Food Day – @FoodDay2013

Save the date! October 24th is the culmination of a year’s worth of efforts for a more sustainable food system. The Twitter feed shares information about developments in the food movement and highlights Food Day events.

38. Food and Environment Reporting Network – @FERNnews

In-depth, investigative journalism related to food, agriculture, and environmental health, with stories that are rich, complex, and captivating.

39. Foodimentary – @Foodimentary

Foodimentary boasts a Twitter feed full of fun food facts and quirky news stories.

40. Food MythBusters – @FoodMythBusters

Armed with the hashtag, #MomsNotLovinIt, Food MythBusters dispels myths about the food system and exposes the real story about what we eat. The initiative also tweets about marketing by large food companies, particularly towards children.

41. Food for 9 Billion – @Foodfor9Billion

Food for 9 Billion is a multimedia collaboration that addresses the challenge of feeding nine billion people by the year 2050 with comprehensive articles, videos, and radio stories.

42. – @foodrepublic

Food Republic examines the culture of food through stories and interviews with an international flair. Its Twitter feed links to many thoughtful articles about food.

43. Food & Think – @Food_And_Think

The food blog of Smithsonian Magazine, Food & Think offers a cultural and historical lens through which to look at food and agriculture.

44. Food & Water Watch – @foodandwater

Food & Water Watch focuses on ensuring that all food and water is safe, accessible, and sustainably produced. This initiative works to hold policy-makers accountable and to inform people about issues related to food and water.

45. Frances Moore Lappe – @fmlappe

Author of Diet for a Small Planet and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute, Lappé tweets a wide variety of sustainability- and food-related tweets.

46. Global Development – @GdnDevelopment

The Guardian’s Global Development site has some of the best, in-depth reporting of development issues available on the web, and tweets stories of development from around the globe.

47. Grist – @grist

Grist, the self-described “Beacon in the Smog,” reports on green and environmental issues with a humorous twist.

48. Hans Rosling – @HansRosling

An expert in statistics, Hans Rosling is a professor of global health and co-founder of Gapminder. Rosling is a resource for critical, and sometimes unexpected, information.

49. Heifer International – @heifer

Through gifts of livestock, seeds, and training, Heifer International works to alleviate poverty by providing individuals with the necessary tools to succeed, and regularly tweets about its many projects and success stories.

50. Henry Dimbleby – @Henry_Leon

Founder of Leon Restaurants in the United Kingdom, Henry Dimbleby has turned the traditional definition of fast food on its head. Dimbleby is also the co-author of the School Food Plan, a radical new vision for school food in the United Kingdom.

51. HuffPost Food – @HuffPostFood

The Huffington Post Food Twitter links to quick and easy reads, as well as slideshows, lists, and opinion pieces.

52. HuffPost Green – @HuffPostGreen

The Huffington Post’s Green section has interesting and sometimes entertaining stories on the environment, which it regularly shares on its Twitter feed.

53. The Hunger Project – @HungerProject

Since 1977, The Hunger Project has worked to empower men and women in the developing world to end hunger and poverty through sustainable, grassroots solutions. The Twitter feed provides “up-to-date tweets on issues that matter.”

54. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy – @IATP

IATP tweets about the intersection of sustainable food, farm, and trade via news stories and the organization’s own articles.

55. International Fund for Agricultural Development – @IFADnews

IFAD works to combat rural poverty, specifically focusing on food security and nutrition. The organization’s tweets highlight projects around the globe and important information related to food security and poverty.

56. Jamie Oliver – @jamieoliver

Oliver is an acclaimed television personality and chef, but is also a serious food activist. His efforts helped overhaul Britain’s school lunch program, and he has continued to advocate for a healthier food system through his foundation.

57. John Besh – @chefjohnbesh

Owner of nine restaurants, Besh is a food icon who is dedicated to preserving the culinary heritage of New Orleans through scholarships and loans to small farmers.

58. Jonathan Bloom – @WastedFood

Bloom is the author of American Wasteland, an insightful book about food waste in America. His blog Wasted Food is another medium for his interest in food waste, and his Twitter feed is a source of plentiful information on food waste.

59. José Andrés – @chefjoseandres

Andrés is the President of ThinkFoodGroup and founder of World Central Kitchen. Not only a critically acclaimed chef, he is a leader in combating global hunger one plate at a time.

60. Jose Garces – @chefjosegarces

Garces is not only a James Beard Award winner, but also the owner of a forty-acre sustainable and organic farm. He tweets many interesting tidbits about food culture, including many beautiful pictures.

61. Kat Kinsman – @kittenwithawhip

Managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy, Kinsman’s tweets simultaneously convey her commitment to sustainable food and sense of humor.

62. Ken Cook – @EWGPrez

Co-founder and President of the Environmental Working Group, Cook is an important voice on farm policy and chemical use.

63. Kim Severson – @kimseverson

Full of wit and interesting opinions on current events, Severson is the Atlanta Bureau Chief for The New York Times and forming Dining Section writer. She has written extensively on food, including her latest book, Cook Fight.

64. Lavida Locavore – @LocavoreBlog

The Locavore Blog takes a charming and personable approach to local and sustainable agriculture.

65. Let’s Move! – @LetsMove

First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative is dedicated to raising a healthier generation of kid by combating the obesity epidemic.

66. Marcus Samuelsson – @MarcusCooks

An Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, made-in-America chef, Samuelsson doesn’t fit neatly into one box. His flagship restaurant, Red Rooster, is in the heart of Harlem, but reflects Samuelsson’s international background. He is also the founder of, a website that explores the culture of food.

67. Marc Vetri – @marcvetri

Vetri has worked to reform school lunches and educate children about healthy eating in Philadelphia, while also working as a James Beard Award-winning chef. His tweets, offering great bits of information and experience from a sustainable chef, have a Philadelphia focus.

68. Marion Nestle – @marionnestle

The woman behind, Nestle is an acclaimed author and professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University.

69. Mark Bittman – @bittman

Time Magazine called him “Twitter’s most-followable food wonk.” Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of How to Cook Everything, is one of the most renowned writers on food and agriculture issues.

70. Michael Pollan – @michaelpollan

Author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and most recently, Cooked, Pollan is a leading voice for a healthier, more sustainable food system.

71. Michele Simon – @MicheleRSimon

Author of Appetite for Profit, public health lawyer, and the woman behind the website Eat Drink Politics, Simon is a leader in developing food and alcohol policy.

72. Modern Farmer – @ModFarm

The Modern Farmer Twitter feed complements their stylish website and image-laden articles, providing a wide variety of stories about farming in the 21st century.

73. Muhammad Yunus – @Yunus_Centre

2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and tweets stories related to development and anti-poverty efforts.

74. Naomi Starkman – @NaomiStarkman

As co-founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats, Starkman’s Twitter feed covers important news about the food system and sustainable agriculture. She is a self-described “farmie, not a foodie.”

75. National Institute of Food and Agriculture – @USDA_NIFA

The NIFA Twitter feed features interesting research and reports related to agriculture in the United States.

76. National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition – @sustainableag

NSAC tweets highlight sustainable family farms and the Coalition’s advocacy work on behalf of family farmers.

77. New York Times Dining & Wine – @nytdining

While The New York Times’ Dining & Wine section is often filled with recipes, it also features important food news.

78. No Kid Hungry – @nokidhungry

No Kid Hungry’s tweets focus on child hunger in the U.S., and the organization’s own efforts to end child hunger. They also regularly recognize their supporters on Twitter.

79. Nourish – @Nourish_Life

Nourish is an educational initiative intended to stimulate meaningful conversations about food and sustainability. Its Twitter feed is an extension of that important dialogue.

80. NPR Food – @NPRFood

The NPR Food Twitter feed is home to the blog, The Salt, as well as all of NPR’s food-related stories. It offers in-depth coverage of a wide range of issues.

81. Oakland Institute – @oak_institute

This think tank’s investigative research delves into complex issues at the intersection of food, trade, and land. Its tweets focus on the successes and failures of projects in developing countries.

82. Olivier De Schutter – @DeSchutterUNSR

As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter is at the forefront of food security, and tweets news from the field.

83. ONE – @ONECampaign

The ONE Campaign’s three million members are a united voice for ending extreme poverty. Tweets are of facts, news, and stories of ONE’s advocacy efforts.

84. One Acre Fund – @OneAcreFund

Over 130,000 smallholder farmers in East Africa have been able to double their farm income on each planted acre through the One Acre Fund’s “market in a box.” Tweets focus on smallholder farmers, telling the stories of those impacted by One Acre Fund’s efforts.

85. Oxfam International – @Oxfam

Oxfam International is a collective of 17 organizations fighting poverty worldwide. The organization’s Twitter feed is a powerful testament to Oxfam’s work, and highlights crises around the world.

86. Paula Crossfield – @civileater

Crossfield is a pioneer in food reporting. As managing editor of Civil Eats and the Food and Environment Reporting Network, Crossfield tweets links to insightful articles and news stories.

87. Peter Ladner – @pladner

Ladner, an authority on urban food, is the author of The Urban Food Revolution. His tweets are part foodie, part urban, and 100 percent Canadian.

88. The Pig Idea – @ThePigIdea

The Pig Idea is a campaign to lift the ban on feeding food waste to pigs in the European Union, and regularly tweets about its progress.

89. Raj Patel – @_RajPatel

Author of Stuff and Starved, Patel tweets on a variety of contemporary issues and is currently working on a documentary on the global food system, Generation Food Project.

90. Real Food Challenge – @realfoodnows

The Real Food Challenge aims to harness the power of students to make an impact on the food system, one college campus at a time.

91. Real Food Real Jobs – @RealFoodandJobs

Real Food Real Jobs is at the nexus of workers’ rights and healthy, sustainable food. By simultaneously advocating for whole, fresh, nutritious food and fighting for a living wage for workers in the food industry, Real Food Real Jobs is an innovative food worker’s organization.

92. Rick Bayless – @Rick_Bayless

Chicago-based chef Bayless is not only known for his Mexican cuisine, but also his dedication to Midwestern farmers and his community. Through the Frontera Farmer Foundation and the Frontera Scholarship, Bayless has redefined the role of a chef to include being an active member of the community.

93. Roger Thurow – @RogerThurow

Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and author of The Last Hunger Season, Thurow tweets about hunger and food security.

94. Rodale Institute – @rodaleinstitute

The Rodale Institute has spent over 60 years researching best practices in organic agriculture, and its Twitter feed shares that research with the public.

95. Sam Fromartz – @fromartz

Fromartz is the co-founder and editor of the Food and Environment Reporting Network. His tweets focus on food issues, often with a slant toward bread, as he is currently working on a book on grains, bakers, and bread.

96. Savory Institute – @SavoryInstitute

The Savory Institute promotes land-restoration through holistic management, strategically using livestock to mimic wild herds, and the organization’s tweets focus on land degradation and restoration.

97. School Food Plan – @SchFoodPlan

With weekly Twitter chats and Q&A sessions, The School Food Plan Twitter feed is an interactive resource on a new food plan for United Kingdom schools.

98. Shamba Shape Up – @shambashapeup

With over 10 million viewers in Africa each week, Shamba Shape Up is a reality show about fixing farms and educating viewers about agriculture.

99. Slow Food USA – @SlowFoodUSA

Slow Food USA is focused on building a better food system through supporting food that is not only good for people, but the planet as well.

100. Small Planet Institute – @SmallPlanetInst

The Small Planet Institute examines the idea of a “Living Democracy,” where citizens work toward incorporating inclusion and fairness into public life. As part of this approach, the Small Planet Institute tweets links to articles related to food and agriculture in the context of its mission.

From: Food Tank’s 118 Best Twitter Feeds