Dr. Oran Hesterman is the founder of Fair Food Network and a strategic advisor to the HUFED Center. He has worked in the business of sustainable food and food justice for decades and has helped shape food system language and thinking. This interview tells the story of what inspired Dr. Hesterman to pursue this work, how he defines a sustainable food system, and why food justice is an important component of sustainability.
How fairly or ethically food is produced is often overlooked in sustainable food system discussions. Yet, farmworkers are dying every year from thirst and heat exposure due to lack of water or shade. Further, toxic pesticide exposure sends up to 20,000 farmworkers to the hospital annually.
The debate on organic agriculture’s ability to address global food security continues. Barry Estabrook asserts that the claim that organic agriculture cannot produce enough food is a tired argument. He names several scientific research studies that conclude organic and other sustainable farming methods are necessary to feed the future world.
Fair Food Network is a non-profit, based in Ann Arbor Michigan, that is focused on building a more sustianable and just food system. Their resource page includes food access related links to reports, case studies, and policy and advocacy tools.
The CAFF website includes farm to school resources for community members, food service staff and farmers, and also provides links to advocacy and policy guides, and information on local food system and agriculture.
The National Good Food Network (NGFN) includes a network of stakeholders from across the country that are working across the food system to meet the growing demand for healthy, green, fair, affordable food. The NGFN's database includes reports, webinars, case studies, business models, and research dealing with issues related to ‘scaling up’ local food. The website also provides contact information to connect people with regional partners working in the field.
A vast collection of resources, organizations, community gardens, and reports related to food security, food systems, sustainable agriculture, farmers markets, food policy and a variety of food access issues.
The Leopold Center is interested in research and programs that can make agriculture more profitable and keep small and mid-sized farmers on their land. The Leopold Center's Research and Programs webpage includes resources on current available competitive grants; policy, marketing and food systems, ecology initiatives and other projects that the Center is working on.
The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University provides research, conference proceedings and presentations on community food systems, farming and production techniques, business plans and resources on food processing and distribution.
Roots of Change is a network in California whose goal is to establish a more sustainable food system by 2030. The issues they focus on include economic prosperity, environment and climate, healthy food access, and valued workforce. On their Healthy Food Access website, there are resources for non-profits, entrepreneurs, and farmers and ranchers.
The NAL resource catalog includes publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture, including animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, agricultural economics, extension and education, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences. Specific resource pages within NAL that are related to food access:
- The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center page provides data, news and reports dealing with sustainable food and farming systems including organic production, education and research, farm energy options, farms and community (see below), grazing systems and livestock breeds, alternative marketing and business practices.
- This link from the NAL’s Food and Nutrition Information Center includes resources and information on Cultural and Ethnic Food and nutrition education materials for educators. Resources are online and available to borrow from the NAL and cover topics such as minority women’s health, menu planning, food distribution on Native American Reservations, and foreign language resources for educators.
- Dietary Guidance for Ethnic/ Cultural Food guide Pyramid
ATTRA’s library directory includes local food libraries, sustainable farming internships and apprenticeships, energy alternatives, resources on organic farming, sustainable agriculture and food systems approaches within agriculture.
Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson describes how small meat processing plants can have a positive impact on rural economies and communities throughout Iowa.
This paper, written in collaboration between the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, looks at survey results that compared consumer perceptions and behaviors around local foods and farmers markets.