July 17-20, 2017
You belong to an organic CSA farm share program, you might shop at a local farmers market, and you may purchase organic products from the local natural food store or your local grocery. How else can you be involved in changing the future of food for yourself and your family?
Learn more about local and national groups and organizations that work in the areas of food production and food policy. Some advocate for policies to help organic farming, some give technical advice for organic production, some help shoppers make better informed decisions when in the marketplace. Collectively they help shape a different type of food production system that ultimately leads to healthier people sustained by nutritious foods, and a cleaner, more sustainable world. Yes, thinking globally while acting locally, and there is always more to learn!
(1) OAK: According to the mission, the Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) promotes organic production and consumption in Kentucky as part of a food and farming system that strengthens communities by being economically viable and environmentally sound. OAK is a member-driven nonprofit organization. Members work together to:
* Promote Kentucky’s organic farms and farmers
* Share information with one another
* Guide research programs related to organic agriculture
* Educate consumers about organic food and farm products
This organization holds an annual conference, offers regular field days on organic farms around the state, maintains an active blog-based website, and welcomes membership to anyone interested in supporting organic farming in Kentucky. http://oak-ky.org/
(2) SSAWG: The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, commonly known as Southern SAWG, was founded in 1991 to foster a movement towards a more sustainable farming and food system – one that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just and humane. It functions as a regional entity, working with and through hundreds of associated organizations across 13 southern states. Southern SAWG focuses attention on issues and differing perspectives around food production, marketing, and distribution, and brings sustainable solutions to farmers, families and communities in the southern U.S. SSAWG has provided education and outreach to more than 10,000 farmers and food advocates in the past 20 years. The Conference, held each year in January at different locations around the Southeast, is hailed as the South’s leading sustainable and organic agriculture event, bringing together over 1,000 people for peer learning, networking and cross-pollination of ideas. Earlier this year, the conference was held in Lexington and included a Kentucky Proud dinner for over 1,200 people that sourced locally grown food – yes, you read that correctly – locally grown in Kentucky using sustainable methods – food that was served to many, many hungry folks in January! http://www.ssawg.org/
(3) OFRF: Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has a very clear vision — that organic farming will be the leading form of agriculture in America. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policy that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. Founded in 1990, OFRF is a leading champion of American organic family farmers. Its four areas of focus are: policy in Congress and federal agencies; education work to integrate organic farming programs into all agricultural universities; grant-making that expands the adoption of organic farming practices while addressing urgent issues faced by many organic farmers in America; and building community to cultivate a broader and deeper connection among organic supporters. http://ofrf.org/
Your farmers at Elmwood Stock Farm have been involved with each of these groups through the years, including serving on the Board of Directors, attending or presenting at the annual conferences, and giving time and resources whenever possible. Having such a valuable network helps every profession, even organic agriculture.
Check out the websites for these organizations to learn more about their work and see what program or project might be of interest to you. There is always a place to join in, learn more, and become more involved in shaping the future of your food supply.
In Your Share