Just as everything we do begins at the farm we support innovative organizations that grow and nurture our industry. We are committed to making a difference through our mission and priorities to develop healthy sustainable foods and food practices as well as contributing to the health of our planet. These featured organizations directly support those goals and we are honored to support and celebrate their work.
Ecological Farming Association
For over 30 years, the EcoFarm Conference has encouraged the growth of a healthy, ecologically sound and economically viable agricultural system. The EcoFarm Conference is the flagship event of the Ecological Farming Association, an organization that nurtures healthy, just food systems and communities by bringing people together for education, alliance building, and celebration. EcoFarm is tailored to those looking for a technical edge: organic and ecological farmers and ranchers (large and small), handlers, marketers, students, educators, researchers, activists, and governmental agencies.
What they do: Advance ecological farming through education
Organic Seed Growers Conference
The Organic Seed Growers Conference brings together hundreds of farmers, plant breeders, researchers, university extension, certifiers, food companies, seed production and distribution companies in two days of presentations, panel discussions and networking events. Seminars on organic plant breeding, organic seed production, enterprise development, policy and more draw attendees from all over the world. Over 800 people attended the 2014 Conference and the next gathering will be held in 2016.
What they do: Foster and advance the genetic resources of seeds
GrowingGreat™ is a nationwide community-based non-profit nutritional education organization dedicated to inspiring children and adults to adopt healthy eating habits, decreasing the risk of obesity and disease. Their goal is to help children, families and communities understand where food comes from, appreciate that food serves a purpose in overall health and has an impact on longevity and well-¬being. Currently, GrowingGreat™ serves over 30,000 students in 67 schools throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii.
What they do: Inspire school children and adults to take on healthy eating habits.
Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
Zenger Farm is a non-profit farm and wetland in southeast Portland dedicated to promoting sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship and local economic development through a working urban farm. Friends of Zenger Farm utilize the combination of a 10-acre wetland adjacent to the 6-acre organic farming operation to provide unique experiential learning opportunities for youth, farmers and families in subjects such as sustainable agriculture, wetland ecology, food security, healthy eating and local economic development.
What they do: Model and promote environmental education, sustainability and access to good food for all.
The Organic Center
The Organic Center's mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate the findings to the public. As an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization, operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association, The Center envisions improved health for the earth and its inhabitants through the conversion of agriculture to organic methods.
Due to a generous grant from UNFI Foundation, The Organic Center, is working with U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Research Service scientists to conduct targeted research on the factors affecting the presence of arsenic in organically grown rice.
What they do: Bring you science that supports the benefits of organic food and farming to human, animal and environmental health.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Washington State University, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Measure to Manage (M2M): Food and Farm Diagnostics for Sustainability and Health
More and more consumers are searching for healthier food, but how can an individual pick the healthiest carrot, or choose among all the so-called “healthy” choices in the bakery, dairy, or cereal aisles of the supermarket? A new program at Washington State University led by Dr. Charles Benbrook is working now to develop consumer friendly tools to quantify the nutritional quality and safety of individual foods, meals, and even daily diets. Dr. Benbrook’s new program will develop tools and recommend science-based metrics for measuring food quality and agricultural sustainability. The UNFI Foundation has provided a portion of the start-up capital needed to launch the M2M program.
What they do: Draw on science in helping farmers and companies produce healthier food, while helping consumers find their own path toward a healthier diet.
Farmer Veteran Coalition
The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is to mobilize veterans to feed America. FVC was started by long time organic farmer Michael O’Gorman in 2009 to help find viable employment and places to heal for young soldiers returning from war. FVC met Army veteran Ben Riker (seen here with wife Lindsey and son Lucas) at last years’ MOSES conference. Ben finished his military duty in 2010 after deployment to Iraq and Kuwait. He is now back at his family’s organic cranberry farm, James Lake Farms in Wisconsin. The UNFI Foundation is helping FVC bring veterans like Ben to MOSES and Eco-Farm.
Photo: Sarah Stauner
What they do: Create viable futures for America’s veterans by enlisting their help in building a healthy food supply for all.
Just Label It
Just Label It (JLI), a project of the Organic Voices Action Fund, is a national coalition of more than 600 diverse groups and 300,000 individuals, dedicated to the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The message is simple: consumers have a right to know about our food so we can make informed choices about what we buy, eat and serve our families. Launched in 2011, JLI’s coalition represents the healthcare community, consumer advocates, farmers, concerned parents, environmentalists, agricultural organizations, businesses, the faith-based community and many more. JLI has led the effort to garner 1.1 million signatures demanding that the US government label GE foods.
What they do: Represent the rights of the consumer and promote transparency in food labeling.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
The MOSES Organic Farming Conference is the largest of its kind in the US. In February 2012, over 3,100 farmers, educators and agricultural professionals participated in 70 workshops on topics related to organic and sustainable farming. The conference grows in attendance every year, and this year also included 160 exhibitors.
In addition, MOSES builds relationships through its Grow Organic program. They provide farmers a wide range of information through their toll-free Organic Info Line, Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring, Farm Field Days, the Rural Women's Project, the Young Organic Stewards Program, an in-depth bi-monthly newsletter, over 30 Fact Sheets and a website.
What they do: Provide resources and training to help farmers grow organic successfully.
Location: Spring Valley, WI