Food

Agriculture

Industrial agriculture is an environmental and social disaster. It is a primary driver of climate chaos, habitat destruction, species extinction, and toxic pollution of water, soil, and air. It facilitates disease-causing junk food diets, displacement of diverse local food cultures, and the exploitation of humans and livestock alike. This poisonous system must be replaced by a multiplicity of localized, small-scale, diversified, ecological, regenerative, and equitable forms of food production. In many parts of the world, these healthier systems still prevail, and provide the majority of food for local populations. Elsewhere, the challenge is to prevent industrial agriculture from making further inroads, while shifting as quickly as possible to diverse models of ecological agriculture. The movement for this shift is one of the most vibrant in the world today, and a cornerstone of the larger localization movement.

Agriculture Actions
Support local farms through your food purchases.
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Support local farms through your food purchases.

Thanks to direct and hidden subsidies, skewed regulations, unfair tax policy, and billions of advertising dollars, the global food system is heavily tilted in favor of the largest producers. Until those systemic forces are shifted, the only way that small, local producers can survive is if we recognize the multiple benefits their farms provide – to the community, the local economy, and the environment – and support them by buying what they work so hard to produce.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the strength and resilience of local food systems, even as global supply chains broke down. One result is that demand for CSA shares skyrocketed. Full Belly Farm in the US state of California, for example, saw a doubling of its CSA box numbers, and other CSA farms had waiting lists with hundreds of names. Read more in this story from NPR.
  • Rohit Parak writes about Navadarshanam, an alternative living community in South India that provides chemical-free, seasonal produce to residents of Bangalore on a CSA model.

Support local farms through your food purchases.

Thanks to direct and hidden subsidies, skewed regulations, unfair tax policy, and billions of advertising dollars, the global food system is heavily tilted in favor of the largest producers. Until those systemic forces are shifted, the only way that small, local producers can survive is if we recognize the multiple benefits their farms provide – to the community, the local economy, and the environment – and support them by buying what they work so hard to produce.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the strength and resilience of local food systems, even as global supply chains broke down. One result is that demand for CSA shares skyrocketed. Full Belly Farm in the US state of California, for example, saw a doubling of its CSA box numbers, and other CSA farms had waiting lists with hundreds of names. Read more in this story from NPR.
  • Rohit Parak writes about Navadarshanam, an alternative living community in South India that provides chemical-free, seasonal produce to residents of Bangalore on a CSA model.
Learn how to grow organic food.
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Learn how to grow organic food.

One of the best ways to participate in the local food movement is to grow some of your own. Doing so will connect you more closely to the place you live – the soil, the seasons, the sun, the rain, and even the wildlife, from beneficial pollinators to garden pests.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Writer Fran Sorin's blog post gives you 13 Reasons Why Gardening is Good for Your Health. Among other effects, gardening reduces the likelihood you'll have a stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia. Sorin's focus is on growing ornamentals; growing food greatly expands the benefits of gardening.

Learn how to grow organic food.

One of the best ways to participate in the local food movement is to grow some of your own. Doing so will connect you more closely to the place you live – the soil, the seasons, the sun, the rain, and even the wildlife, from beneficial pollinators to garden pests.

Get started

Get inspired

  • Writer Fran Sorin's blog post gives you 13 Reasons Why Gardening is Good for Your Health. Among other effects, gardening reduces the likelihood you'll have a stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia. Sorin's focus is on growing ornamentals; growing food greatly expands the benefits of gardening.
Start a small-scale farm.
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Start a small-scale farm.

Getting into small-scale agroecological farming can be a daunting process. Thankfully, many organizations facilitate this process through trainings, apprenticeships, and help from supportive networks of experienced peers and mentors.

Get started

Get inspired

  • The short film Future Farmers in Europe focuses on eight young farmers who have returned to the land in France, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • This 5-minute film Back to the Land: the Organic Movement in China profiles Zhang Yuqiu, a young woman who left a job in the city to start her own organic farm just outside Beijing.
  • The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), based in the US and internationally, is a cross-cultural network of farmers, elders, and educators, who share ancestral knowledge and practical skills with each other to build ecologically sound food systems. Their on-site training program in Oakland, California helps immigrants, refugees, and former prisoners who aspire to be farmers.
  • Bristol Food Producers in the UK provides mentorship for aspiring young farmers in the area, through a land matching program, skills development courses, access to markets, and events for socializing and networking.
  • NEED-Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar operates the Eco Village Farm School, a practical school for agricultural training focused on young farmers and a model for rural resilience.

Start a small-scale farm.

Getting into small-scale agroecological farming can be a daunting process. Thankfully, many organizations facilitate this process through trainings, apprenticeships, and help from supportive networks of experienced peers and mentors.

Get started

Get inspired

  • The short film Future Farmers in Europe focuses on eight young farmers who have returned to the land in France, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • This 5-minute film Back to the Land: the Organic Movement in China profiles Zhang Yuqiu, a young woman who left a job in the city to start her own organic farm just outside Beijing.
  • The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA), based in the US and internationally, is a cross-cultural network of farmers, elders, and educators, who share ancestral knowledge and practical skills with each other to build ecologically sound food systems. Their on-site training program in Oakland, California helps immigrants, refugees, and former prisoners who aspire to be farmers.
  • Bristol Food Producers in the UK provides mentorship for aspiring young farmers in the area, through a land matching program, skills development courses, access to markets, and events for socializing and networking.
  • NEED-Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar operates the Eco Village Farm School, a practical school for agricultural training focused on young farmers and a model for rural resilience.
Find affordable land to farm.
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Find affordable land to farm.

Securing affordable farmland is critical if we are to rebuild our local food economies – and it is one of its biggest challenges around the world. As the US National Young Farmers Coalition writes, "Finding secure access to land is the number one barrier preventing a generation of growers from entering the field. Land is also at the root of racial equity, food sovereignty, economic prosperity, public health, and the climate crisis."

Take action

  • Browse the guides and resources in Agrarian Trust's Resources List (US), National Young Farmers Coalition's Land Link Directory (US), Young Agrarians' Finding Farmland & Land Access Tools (Canada), and Access to Land’s Member Organizations (Europe). These include land access guides, lists of farm linking and incubation programs, financing information, courses and lease templates.
  • Elsewhere, contact a local land access organization, land-matching program, university agricultural extension, La Via Campesina chapter, or your local government to find programs near you.
  • Work with local governments to secure land for community food enterprises with Shared Assets' guide Access to Land: Working with Local Authorities (UK).
  • Work with your local government and non-profits to provide farmers with leased land. This is the model employed by the nonprofit Intervale Center, which owns, leases, and manages 350 acres near the city of Burlington, Vermont in the US, and subleases land to ten or more independently owned farms.

Get inspired

  • Agrarian Trust in the US permanently protects affordable farmland through a variety of innovative commons-based approaches.
  • California FarmLink in California, US partners with landowners to purchase farms or transition them to the next generation.
  • Equity Trust in New England, US transfers land ownership to a nonprofit entity and leases land to farmers at below-market rates, while farmers own their own buildings and infrastructure.

Find affordable land to farm.

Securing affordable farmland is critical if we are to rebuild our local food economies – and it is one of its biggest challenges around the world. As the US National Young Farmers Coalition writes, "Finding secure access to land is the number one barrier preventing a generation of growers from entering the field. Land is also at the root of racial equity, food sovereignty, economic prosperity, public health, and the climate crisis."

Take action

  • Browse the guides and resources in Agrarian Trust's Resources List (US), National Young Farmers Coalition's Land Link Directory (US), Young Agrarians' Finding Farmland & Land Access Tools (Canada), and Access to Land’s Member Organizations (Europe). These include land access guides, lists of farm linking and incubation programs, financing information, courses and lease templates.
  • Elsewhere, contact a local land access organization, land-matching program, university agricultural extension, La Via Campesina chapter, or your local government to find programs near you.
  • Work with local governments to secure land for community food enterprises with Shared Assets' guide Access to Land: Working with Local Authorities (UK).
  • Work with your local government and non-profits to provide farmers with leased land. This is the model employed by the nonprofit Intervale Center, which owns, leases, and manages 350 acres near the city of Burlington, Vermont in the US, and subleases land to ten or more independently owned farms.

Get inspired

  • Agrarian Trust in the US permanently protects affordable farmland through a variety of innovative commons-based approaches.
  • California FarmLink in California, US partners with landowners to purchase farms or transition them to the next generation.
  • Equity Trust in New England, US transfers land ownership to a nonprofit entity and leases land to farmers at below-market rates, while farmers own their own buildings and infrastructure.
Start a CSA on your farm.
Expand Action
Start a CSA on your farm.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as a subscription service or box scheme, is a way for farmers to connect more closely with their customers. Customers buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance, thus sharing in the risk that farmers take every year. And with an up-front guarantee on sales, CSAs enable farmers to purchase equipment and seeds without loans, lessening their dependence on the financial system. While CSAs are typically associated with vegetable growers, producers of many kinds have used the model: bread bakers, cheesemakers, meat producers, fruit growers, herbalists, foragers, fisherfolk, and more. And some farmers link up to assemble a range of locally-produced foods into whole-diet offerings.

Get started

  • Learn how to create a CSA with North Carolina State University's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Resource Guide for Farmers (US). The guide supports farmers who want to create a CSA, as well as groups of people – offices, churches, schools, buying clubs, and groups of neighbors – who would like to approach a farmer to start a CSA.
  • The European NGO Urgenci has produced a detailed Trainers Guide, which can be used to introduce both farmers and community members to the theory and practice of Community Supported Agriculture.
  • Create a cooperative CSA with other small farmers. Read Civil Eats' article Banding Together to Build a Better CSA, featuring City Commons CSA in Detroit, US, to learn more.

Get inspired

Start a CSA on your farm.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as a subscription service or box scheme, is a way for farmers to connect more closely with their customers. Customers buy shares of a farm's harvest in advance, thus sharing in the risk that farmers take every year. And with an up-front guarantee on sales, CSAs enable farmers to purchase equipment and seeds without loans, lessening their dependence on the financial system. While CSAs are typically associated with vegetable growers, producers of many kinds have used the model: bread bakers, cheesemakers, meat producers, fruit growers, herbalists, foragers, fisherfolk, and more. And some farmers link up to assemble a range of locally-produced foods into whole-diet offerings.

Get started

  • Learn how to create a CSA with North Carolina State University's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Resource Guide for Farmers (US). The guide supports farmers who want to create a CSA, as well as groups of people – offices, churches, schools, buying clubs, and groups of neighbors – who would like to approach a farmer to start a CSA.
  • The European NGO Urgenci has produced a detailed Trainers Guide, which can be used to introduce both farmers and community members to the theory and practice of Community Supported Agriculture.
  • Create a cooperative CSA with other small farmers. Read Civil Eats' article Banding Together to Build a Better CSA, featuring City Commons CSA in Detroit, US, to learn more.

Get inspired

Learn how to grow and process local grains.
Expand Action
Learn how to grow and process local grains.

Grains are an often-neglected component of the local food movement, even though they comprise such a significant proportion of most cultures' diets. This is changing, however, as a movement for revival, protection and promotion of local grain growing and processing is spreading. Get involved and inspired with some of the resources and initiatives below.

Take action

  • Take inspiration from the Heritage Grain Alliance’s Heritage Grain Trials Project, run from 2016 to 2021 to “rekindle a thriving, localized grain economy in the Rocky Mountain West." Learn techniques for growing, harvesting, processing and preparing grains through their Grain School. The Colorado Grain Chain also offered the Grain Home School in 2020 and 2021, with topics including Sourdough 101, Growing Grains, Using Whole Grains, and more. Find recordings from the school here.
  • In the UK, get involved in the local staple foods movement with the help of Filling the UK Food Gap: A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses, by Grown in Totnes.
  • In Scotland, get involved in Soil to Slice, a “network of community groups growing, harvesting, threshing, milling and baking” with local grains, providing access to seeds, small-scale equipment, training and co-learning and more, by Scotland the Bread. 

Get inspired

Learn how to grow and process local grains.

Grains are an often-neglected component of the local food movement, even though they comprise such a significant proportion of most cultures' diets. This is changing, however, as a movement for revival, protection and promotion of local grain growing and processing is spreading. Get involved and inspired with some of the resources and initiatives below.

Take action

  • Take inspiration from the Heritage Grain Alliance’s Heritage Grain Trials Project, run from 2016 to 2021 to “rekindle a thriving, localized grain economy in the Rocky Mountain West." Learn techniques for growing, harvesting, processing and preparing grains through their Grain School. The Colorado Grain Chain also offered the Grain Home School in 2020 and 2021, with topics including Sourdough 101, Growing Grains, Using Whole Grains, and more. Find recordings from the school here.
  • In the UK, get involved in the local staple foods movement with the help of Filling the UK Food Gap: A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses, by Grown in Totnes.
  • In Scotland, get involved in Soil to Slice, a “network of community groups growing, harvesting, threshing, milling and baking” with local grains, providing access to seeds, small-scale equipment, training and co-learning and more, by Scotland the Bread. 

Get inspired

Buy locally-grown staple foods.
Expand Action
Buy locally-grown staple foods.

Staple crop production, distribution, processing and consumption is an essential – if often neglected – component of the food relocalization movement. Fortunately, there is a burgeoning small-scale localized staples renaissance, often focusing on rescuing and re-popularizing a threatened diversity of heritage, heirloom, locally-adapted, resilient, nutritionally-superior varieties of grains, legumes, root crops, and more.
The below resources, while geographically limited, exemplify good sources of locally-grown staple foods. Seek out similar sources in your own country if not included below, and let us know about them in our suggestion form.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.

Buy locally-grown staple foods.

Staple crop production, distribution, processing and consumption is an essential – if often neglected – component of the food relocalization movement. Fortunately, there is a burgeoning small-scale localized staples renaissance, often focusing on rescuing and re-popularizing a threatened diversity of heritage, heirloom, locally-adapted, resilient, nutritionally-superior varieties of grains, legumes, root crops, and more.
The below resources, while geographically limited, exemplify good sources of locally-grown staple foods. Seek out similar sources in your own country if not included below, and let us know about them in our suggestion form.

Take action

Get inspired

  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.
Join the movement for local grains.
Expand Action
Join the movement for local grains.

The number of plant foods people consume has dwindled to the point that just three grains – wheat, rice and maize – account for 60 percent of food energy consumed globally. At the same time, genetic diversity within each of those grains is narrowing year by year. The local food movement can reverse these trends, because local food promotes diversity: the crops and varieties farmers grow aren't tailored to the standardized needs of giant supermarkets and global traders, but to local soils, climate and cultural preferences. And since grains are such a major component of human diets, they are an important facet of the local food movement.

Take action

  • In the UK, get involved with one of the many organizations promoting local grains:
    • The UK Grain Lab brings together farmers, millers, plant breeders, bakers, cooks, scientists and academics to promote the growing and eating of non-commodity grains.
    • The Heritage Grain Trust believes that British farmers, using heritage seeds, can produce all the grain needed to feed the UK population while improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering greenhouse gases.
    • Scotland the Bread is “a collaborative project to grow better grain and bake better bread with the common purposes of nourishment, sustainability and food sovereignty."
    • Grown in Totnes has produced A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses
  • In the US, connect with one of these regional groups working to diversify and localize the growing of grains:
    • In the Upper Midwest, the Artisan Grain Collaborative is working “to create a diverse regional grainshed built upon regenerative agriculture practices."
    • In the Mountain West, the Colorado Grain Chain is comprised of local businesses and consumers who believe in re-localization of grains.
    • On the East Coast, the Common Grain Alliance is building a regional heirloom grain economy, with more than 30 farmers, millers, and bakers so far. 
  • In India, support the Millet Network of India (MINI), comprised of 50 farmer organizations that believe a revival of millet-based farming and food systems would place control over food, seeds, markets and natural resources in the hands of the poor.
  • Check out the Grain School of the Heritage Grain Alliance, and help trial and grow heritage grains to rekindle thriving, localized grain economies in the Mountain West of North America.
  • The local grain movement isn't just for producers. Consumers across the US can find local grain and flour with this directory and map from the Artisan Grain Collaborative.
  • In India, ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, millet and wheat can be obtained from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

    Get inspired

  • Vrihi is the largest folk rice seed bank in eastern India, with over 940 endangered varieties conserved. It is linked to Basudha, a conservation farm that grows all of the varieties each season. Read more in the Local Futures article Saving Our Lives One Seed at a Time.
  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.

Join the movement for local grains.

The number of plant foods people consume has dwindled to the point that just three grains – wheat, rice and maize – account for 60 percent of food energy consumed globally. At the same time, genetic diversity within each of those grains is narrowing year by year. The local food movement can reverse these trends, because local food promotes diversity: the crops and varieties farmers grow aren't tailored to the standardized needs of giant supermarkets and global traders, but to local soils, climate and cultural preferences. And since grains are such a major component of human diets, they are an important facet of the local food movement.

Take action

  • In the UK, get involved with one of the many organizations promoting local grains:
    • The UK Grain Lab brings together farmers, millers, plant breeders, bakers, cooks, scientists and academics to promote the growing and eating of non-commodity grains.
    • The Heritage Grain Trust believes that British farmers, using heritage seeds, can produce all the grain needed to feed the UK population while improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering greenhouse gases.
    • Scotland the Bread is “a collaborative project to grow better grain and bake better bread with the common purposes of nourishment, sustainability and food sovereignty."
    • Grown in Totnes has produced A Toolkit to Inspire Small-scale Production and Processing of Grains and Pulses
  • In the US, connect with one of these regional groups working to diversify and localize the growing of grains:
    • In the Upper Midwest, the Artisan Grain Collaborative is working “to create a diverse regional grainshed built upon regenerative agriculture practices."
    • In the Mountain West, the Colorado Grain Chain is comprised of local businesses and consumers who believe in re-localization of grains.
    • On the East Coast, the Common Grain Alliance is building a regional heirloom grain economy, with more than 30 farmers, millers, and bakers so far. 
  • In India, support the Millet Network of India (MINI), comprised of 50 farmer organizations that believe a revival of millet-based farming and food systems would place control over food, seeds, markets and natural resources in the hands of the poor.
  • Check out the Grain School of the Heritage Grain Alliance, and help trial and grow heritage grains to rekindle thriving, localized grain economies in the Mountain West of North America.
  • The local grain movement isn't just for producers. Consumers across the US can find local grain and flour with this directory and map from the Artisan Grain Collaborative.
  • In India, ‘desi’ (native/heirloom) staples including diverse varieties of rice, millet and wheat can be obtained from Sahaja Sumrudha and their shop Sahaja Organics.

    Get inspired

  • Vrihi is the largest folk rice seed bank in eastern India, with over 940 endangered varieties conserved. It is linked to Basudha, a conservation farm that grows all of the varieties each season. Read more in the Local Futures article Saving Our Lives One Seed at a Time.
  • The Grain Shed in Spokane, Washington, US, is a worker-owned cooperative bakery and brewery, using 100% locally and organically grown, craft malted and fermented heirloom grain varieties and aspiring to help seed neighborhood-sized brewery-bakeries also using local grains throughout the city.
Start an urban farm.
Expand Action
Start an urban farm.

Urban farms are typically, though not always, larger-scale initiatives than community gardens. They are often cooperatively and collectively run by and for the benefit of the local community, and like community gardens, help meet important local food, nutrition, employment, green space and composting needs.

Take action

Get inspired

Start an urban farm.

Urban farms are typically, though not always, larger-scale initiatives than community gardens. They are often cooperatively and collectively run by and for the benefit of the local community, and like community gardens, help meet important local food, nutrition, employment, green space and composting needs.

Take action

Get inspired

Start a school garden.
Expand Action
Start a school garden.

School gardens help get children outside and physically active; provide crucial education about the reality of food origins and fundamentals of ecology; and can help foster a life-long commitment to local, sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Take action

Get inspired

  • With the support of Slow Food International and the Rojava Ministry of Water and Agriculture, the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement helped build a series of school gardens in villages around the city of Kobane, Syria, in order to provide a "laboratory" for children to learn about the region’s biodiversity and how to care for it. Read more in Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East on Local Futures' blog.
  • In Timor Leste, Permatil promotes regenerative agriculture through many avenues, including a national farmers’ network and the inclusion of place-based agricultural education and school gardens into the national school curriculum. Learn more about Permatil in Planet Local, Local Futures' library of alternatives.
  • In Schools turn nutrition gardens in Mizoram district, Rahul Karmakar writes about the My School, My Farm program in the Indian state of Mizoram which is aiming to create "nutrition gardens" in every school in the district in order to both impart environmental education and tackle food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Seeds of Solidarity, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, US, has partnered with six schools in a low-income working-class area to address problems of obesity and food insecurity by helping to put fresh, local food on the menu and educate teachers and students about nutrition and food policy. Read more in Sowing Seeds of Solidarity by Leah Penniman in Rethinking Schools.

Start a school garden.

School gardens help get children outside and physically active; provide crucial education about the reality of food origins and fundamentals of ecology; and can help foster a life-long commitment to local, sustainable agriculture and food systems.

Take action

Get inspired

  • With the support of Slow Food International and the Rojava Ministry of Water and Agriculture, the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement helped build a series of school gardens in villages around the city of Kobane, Syria, in order to provide a "laboratory" for children to learn about the region’s biodiversity and how to care for it. Read more in Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East on Local Futures' blog.
  • In Timor Leste, Permatil promotes regenerative agriculture through many avenues, including a national farmers’ network and the inclusion of place-based agricultural education and school gardens into the national school curriculum. Learn more about Permatil in Planet Local, Local Futures' library of alternatives.
  • In Schools turn nutrition gardens in Mizoram district, Rahul Karmakar writes about the My School, My Farm program in the Indian state of Mizoram which is aiming to create "nutrition gardens" in every school in the district in order to both impart environmental education and tackle food insecurity and malnutrition.
  • Seeds of Solidarity, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, US, has partnered with six schools in a low-income working-class area to address problems of obesity and food insecurity by helping to put fresh, local food on the menu and educate teachers and students about nutrition and food policy. Read more in Sowing Seeds of Solidarity by Leah Penniman in Rethinking Schools.
Policy action: Ban industrial farms.
Expand Action
Policy action: Ban industrial farms.

Big, corporate industrial farms cause ecological destruction, and are often guilty of egregious abuses of both animals and workers. Because these costs are paid by others – and because these corporate farms are so heavily subsidized by governments – they produce food at costs that are driving small-scale, agroecological farms out of business. To achieve a sustainable, just, and fair future, industrial farms must be banned.

Take action

  • The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) shows you how to ban factory farms in your town through Democracy School, a free online course for building a legal case against industrial agriculture, fossil fuel extraction, and other corporate industry on the basis of the rights of nature.
  • Reach out to CELDF for free and low-cost legal and campaign support services.
  • Animals Australia describes the steps needed to end factory farming of livestock in Australia.
  • Sign this petition to ban factory farming in the UK.
  • In the US, send this message from Food & Water Watch, or this letter from the Center for Food Safety, to your member of Congress to support the Farm System Reform Act, which would ban factory farms and help them transition to smaller, environmentally sustainable operations.

Get inspired

  • The citizens of Todd Township in Pennsylvania, US, banned industrial farms from their town with help from CELDF. Read more in the article Pennsylvania Township Bans Corporate Industrial Farming from the Organic Consumers Association.
  • The government of Ecuador has included a Rights of Nature clause in its national constitution, providing a legal basis for challenging factory farms and other destructive industries on the basis of rights violations.

Policy action: Ban industrial farms.

Big, corporate industrial farms cause ecological destruction, and are often guilty of egregious abuses of both animals and workers. Because these costs are paid by others – and because these corporate farms are so heavily subsidized by governments – they produce food at costs that are driving small-scale, agroecological farms out of business. To achieve a sustainable, just, and fair future, industrial farms must be banned.

Take action

  • The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) shows you how to ban factory farms in your town through Democracy School, a free online course for building a legal case against industrial agriculture, fossil fuel extraction, and other corporate industry on the basis of the rights of nature.
  • Reach out to CELDF for free and low-cost legal and campaign support services.
  • Animals Australia describes the steps needed to end factory farming of livestock in Australia.
  • Sign this petition to ban factory farming in the UK.
  • In the US, send this message from Food & Water Watch, or this letter from the Center for Food Safety, to your member of Congress to support the Farm System Reform Act, which would ban factory farms and help them transition to smaller, environmentally sustainable operations.

Get inspired

  • The citizens of Todd Township in Pennsylvania, US, banned industrial farms from their town with help from CELDF. Read more in the article Pennsylvania Township Bans Corporate Industrial Farming from the Organic Consumers Association.
  • The government of Ecuador has included a Rights of Nature clause in its national constitution, providing a legal basis for challenging factory farms and other destructive industries on the basis of rights violations.
Policy action: Ban pesticides.
Expand Action
Policy action: Ban pesticides.

The industrialized, monocultural, globalized agriculture system rests on numerous destructive practices and technologies, but arguably none worse than synthetic, toxic pesticides. There is no place for these poisons in a sane, healthy, nourishing local food future, and the only meaningful solution is to ban their production and application outright, rather than regulating warning labels or substituting one toxin for another, as the industry would prefer. The below actions focus, where possible, on entire pesticide classes, but also point to campaigns to ban specific particularly harmful and ubiquitous chemicals. Note this is not an exhaustive list, but an entry point into this important sphere of activism.

Take action

Note: the nature of political action is fluid and dynamic, and it's necessary to seize the moment. Even if particular actions below have reached completion, please check back with the organizations to participate in their latest campaigns!

  • Work towards a ban on pesticide applications in your town with the help of the Pesticide-Free Towns Campaign of PAN-UK and PAN-Europe, and Beyond Pesticide's Tools for Change (US).
  • Pressure your governments to adopt the policy recommendations outlined in this position paper by Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific for shifting support to small-scale agroecology while eliminating dependence on pesticides in agriculture.
  • Join the campaign led by Pesticide Action Network International pushing for a global ban on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) by signing your organization onto and using this statement (scroll to the last page), urging your governments to support a legally binding treaty for such a ban, and in the US, signing this petition to lawmakers and government officials.
  • Support campaigns by Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific to ban specific pesticides.
  • Learn about the specific harms of endocrine-disrupting pesticides from this backgrounder by Beyond Pesticides, and send this letter demanding that the US Environmental Protection Agency ban these pesticides now, to protect people and wildlife.
  • Recent scientific studies have demonstrated the urgency of banning entire classes of pesticides. Some of the most concerning are:
    • Organophosphates. This class of pesticides includes the highly controversial chlorpyrifos. Read about recent scientific calls to ban them all here and here, and in the US, urge your legislators to sponsor and support the "Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticide Act of 2020" that would ban not only all organophosphates, but also paraquat and neonicotinoids (see next).
    • Neonicotinoids. This class of pesticides has become notorious for devastating pollinator populations.
      • In 2018, the European Union enacted a ban on 3 neonicotinoids, and later that year, France went further to place a ban on 5. Help defend, implement and expand this ban by supporting Pesticide Action Network Europe's Save the Bees campaign.
      • In the UK, help ensure the EU ban continues post-Brexit with resources from the Soil Association and Friends of the Earth UK.
      • In the US, read about how legal action by the Center for Food Safety and others forced the government to withdraw 12 neonics from the market. This is a great start, but an outright ban of all neonics is needed, which is what the "Saving America's Pollinators Act" would do. Urge your legislator to support this bill today, and sign this petition by Food & Water Watch demanding that the EPA ban neonics. In the states of Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut, activist pressure has led to bans on consumer uses of neonics, a great start, but not enough, as explained here by Beyond Pesticides.
      • In Canada, the government reneged on a proposal to ban neonics. Demand that the ban go forward by signing this letter to parliament, by the David Suzuki Foundation.
  • The toxic herbicide glyphosate has already been banned or restricted in numerous countries and municipalities. Learn why this chemical is so dangerous and why a global ban is urgently needed in Carey Gillam's book, Whitewash, and in this mythbuster by PAN-UK.
    • Despite bold bans by countries like Luxembourg and The Netherlands, a Europe-wide ban is needed. Urge the EU to ban glyphosate with this petition by SumOfUs, and sign this petition to support Austria's proposed ban.
    • In early 2021, Mexico moved to ban glyphosate, but this bold action has been under threat from US trade officials and chemical companies since then using free trade provisions (see the Policy action: Oppose "free trade" agreements under the 'Business' sector of this guide). In April 2024, because of this industry pressure, Mexico delayed the ban. Connect with Greenpeace Mexico to fight to reinstate it.
    • In the US, sign this letter from Food & Water Watch demanding that regulatory agencies ban glyphosate, as well as another widely used toxic herbicide, dicamba.
  • Learn about the unconscionable practice of corporations exporting pesticides that are banned in their home countries to the Global South in the documentary film Circle of Poison, and in the report Banned in Europe, by Public Eye and Unearthed. Take inspiration on fighting this from Public Eye, whose investigation led to a law prohibiting exports of five toxic pesticides from Switzerland (there are many more to be banned!).

Get inspired

Policy action: Ban pesticides.

The industrialized, monocultural, globalized agriculture system rests on numerous destructive practices and technologies, but arguably none worse than synthetic, toxic pesticides. There is no place for these poisons in a sane, healthy, nourishing local food future, and the only meaningful solution is to ban their production and application outright, rather than regulating warning labels or substituting one toxin for another, as the industry would prefer. The below actions focus, where possible, on entire pesticide classes, but also point to campaigns to ban specific particularly harmful and ubiquitous chemicals. Note this is not an exhaustive list, but an entry point into this important sphere of activism.

Take action

Note: the nature of political action is fluid and dynamic, and it's necessary to seize the moment. Even if particular actions below have reached completion, please check back with the organizations to participate in their latest campaigns!

  • Work towards a ban on pesticide applications in your town with the help of the Pesticide-Free Towns Campaign of PAN-UK and PAN-Europe, and Beyond Pesticide's Tools for Change (US).
  • Pressure your governments to adopt the policy recommendations outlined in this position paper by Pesticide Action Network Asia-Pacific for shifting support to small-scale agroecology while eliminating dependence on pesticides in agriculture.
  • Join the campaign led by Pesticide Action Network International pushing for a global ban on Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) by signing your organization onto and using this statement (scroll to the last page), urging your governments to support a legally binding treaty for such a ban, and in the US, signing this petition to lawmakers and government officials.
  • Support campaigns by Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific to ban specific pesticides.
  • Learn about the specific harms of endocrine-disrupting pesticides from this backgrounder by Beyond Pesticides, and send this letter demanding that the US Environmental Protection Agency ban these pesticides now, to protect people and wildlife.
  • Recent scientific studies have demonstrated the urgency of banning entire classes of pesticides. Some of the most concerning are:
    • Organophosphates. This class of pesticides includes the highly controversial chlorpyrifos. Read about recent scientific calls to ban them all here and here, and in the US, urge your legislators to sponsor and support the "Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticide Act of 2020" that would ban not only all organophosphates, but also paraquat and neonicotinoids (see next).
    • Neonicotinoids. This class of pesticides has become notorious for devastating pollinator populations.
      • In 2018, the European Union enacted a ban on 3 neonicotinoids, and later that year, France went further to place a ban on 5. Help defend, implement and expand this ban by supporting Pesticide Action Network Europe's Save the Bees campaign.
      • In the UK, help ensure the EU ban continues post-Brexit with resources from the Soil Association and Friends of the Earth UK.
      • In the US, read about how legal action by the Center for Food Safety and others forced the government to withdraw 12 neonics from the market. This is a great start, but an outright ban of all neonics is needed, which is what the "Saving America's Pollinators Act" would do. Urge your legislator to support this bill today, and sign this petition by Food & Water Watch demanding that the EPA ban neonics. In the states of Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut, activist pressure has led to bans on consumer uses of neonics, a great start, but not enough, as explained here by Beyond Pesticides.
      • In Canada, the government reneged on a proposal to ban neonics. Demand that the ban go forward by signing this letter to parliament, by the David Suzuki Foundation.
  • The toxic herbicide glyphosate has already been banned or restricted in numerous countries and municipalities. Learn why this chemical is so dangerous and why a global ban is urgently needed in Carey Gillam's book, Whitewash, and in this mythbuster by PAN-UK.
    • Despite bold bans by countries like Luxembourg and The Netherlands, a Europe-wide ban is needed. Urge the EU to ban glyphosate with this petition by SumOfUs, and sign this petition to support Austria's proposed ban.
    • In early 2021, Mexico moved to ban glyphosate, but this bold action has been under threat from US trade officials and chemical companies since then using free trade provisions (see the Policy action: Oppose "free trade" agreements under the 'Business' sector of this guide). In April 2024, because of this industry pressure, Mexico delayed the ban. Connect with Greenpeace Mexico to fight to reinstate it.
    • In the US, sign this letter from Food & Water Watch demanding that regulatory agencies ban glyphosate, as well as another widely used toxic herbicide, dicamba.
  • Learn about the unconscionable practice of corporations exporting pesticides that are banned in their home countries to the Global South in the documentary film Circle of Poison, and in the report Banned in Europe, by Public Eye and Unearthed. Take inspiration on fighting this from Public Eye, whose investigation led to a law prohibiting exports of five toxic pesticides from Switzerland (there are many more to be banned!).

Get inspired

Policy action: Ban GMO seeds and crops.
Expand Action
Policy action: Ban GMO seeds and crops.

GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds and crops have been developed and deployed principally by transnational agrichemical corporations, with traits that create dependency on agricultural chemicals produced and sold by the same corporations, which has led to dramatic increases in chemical applications in places where GMOs dominate agriculture. Further, GMO seeds and crops undermine local seed and food sovereignty, agrobiodiversity, and agroecological production methods in favor of industrial and large-scale methods, increasing corporate control. For these reasons and more, small-scale organic farmers' organizations around the world are working to ban these products of increased corporate control of agriculture and food.

Get started

Get inspired

Policy action: Ban GMO seeds and crops.

GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds and crops have been developed and deployed principally by transnational agrichemical corporations, with traits that create dependency on agricultural chemicals produced and sold by the same corporations, which has led to dramatic increases in chemical applications in places where GMOs dominate agriculture. Further, GMO seeds and crops undermine local seed and food sovereignty, agrobiodiversity, and agroecological production methods in favor of industrial and large-scale methods, increasing corporate control. For these reasons and more, small-scale organic farmers' organizations around the world are working to ban these products of increased corporate control of agriculture and food.

Get started

Get inspired

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