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14 Awesome California Food Organizations

Guest article from Food Tank

Launched by Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation, the first annual Good Food Org Guide identifies and celebrates more than five hundred U.S.-based groups including fourteen from California who are cultivating a better food system.

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) improves the life of inner-city youth by engaging them in urban farming. ANV operates a quarter-acre farm in Oakland, CA where youth grades K-8 plan, harvest, plant, and sell the produce. One hundred percent of the proceeds are placed in individual savings accounts for participants.

Alemany Farm

Alemany Farm is a 3.5-acre organic farm in San Francisco that offers volunteer and educational opportunities to local community members. Friends of Alemany Farm focuses on increasing ecological understanding and addressing economic issues by offering urban agriculture job training.

California Climate and Agriculture Network

California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) is a coalition of representatives from agricultural, environmental, and food safety organizations that advances policy solutions for issues involving climate change and sustainable agriculture. CalCAN aims to increase funding for research, provide technical assistance, and offer financial incentives for farmers who operate in an energy-efficient manner. CalCAN also works to encourage farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates to participate in the climate change debate.

California Women for Agriculture

California Women for Agriculture is the most active volunteer agricultural organization in the state with over 2,000 members and 20 chapters throughout California. The organization promotes the interests of all women involved or interested in agriculture throughout the state through helping them to develop their own policy goals, educating their members on agricultural legislative activities, and building relationships with consumers, educators, and officeholders throughout the state.

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) is a statewide coalition of more than 185 organizations that works to fundamentally shift the way pesticides are used in California. CPR’s mission is to protect public health, improve environmental quality, and expand a sustainable and just agriculture system by building a diverse movement across California to change statewide and local pesticide policies and practices.

Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems is an education and research program at the University of California Santa Cruz that aims to create a socially responsible and non-exploitative food system. The Center performs research in areas such as food security and social and economic justice in agriculture, and their education efforts span formal university courses to the Life Lab’s Garden Classroom for elementary school children.

The Center for Land-Based Learning

The Center for Land Based Learning integrates hands-on gardening and farming experience with classroom learning to develop the next generation of farmers. Their programs include FARMS Leadership, a hands-on experience in agriculture; Caring for Our Watersheds, an environmental proposal writing contest; Greencorps, a green jobs training and career exploration; and the California Farm Academy, a beginning farmer training program.

City Slicker Farms

City Slicker Farms seeks to address food insecurity in West Oakland, CA by increasing access to fresh, healthy, and organic food and empowering local low-income residents. Since 2001, City Slicker Farms has coordinated urban farming education programs, backyard garden projects, and sliding scale market farm stands.

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) builds strong partnerships between California’s family farmers and their communities in order to build a more sustainable food system in the state. CAFF advocates for issues important to agriculture such as food safety, climate change, and healthy school food on local, state, and national levels as well as implementing an educational Farm to School program and offering technical assistance to farmers.

The Cooking Project

The Cooking Project is a community-based organization in San Francisco, CA dedicated to teaching kids and young adults fundamental cooking skills. The Project’s community of chefs, writers, home cooks, farmers, and growers teach kids how to connect to their food and cook simple, tasty dishes at home.

The Ecology Center

The Ecology Center in Berkeley, CA has focused on urban sustainability for the past 43 years. Through education, advocacy, and actual on-the-ground infrastructure projects, the Ecology Center works on issues including food, farming, climate change, sustainable living, and waste.

Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Los Angeles Food Policy Council is a collective impact initiative that fights for a healthy, affordable, and fair food system in Southern California. The organization strives to promote local growers and sustainable agriculture through the implementation of multiple programs such as the Food Hub enterprise that connects lower-income consumers to local food.

People’s Grocery

People’s Grocery supports public health and economic development by addressing the food system in Oakland, CA. The group runs projects and programs such as the Growing Justice Institute to support local solutions to food insecurity such as bartering and community gardens.

Roots of Change

Roots of Change works to develop and support a network of leaders and institutions in California that are interested in establishing a sustainable food system by 2030. The network includes food producers, businesses, nonprofits, communities, government agencies, and foundations that are changing the way people think about food.