Our Policy Coalition Work
In June 2022, the Farm Bill Grassroots Capacity Building Project launched as a collaboration between National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, RAFI-USA, and Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, with generous grant support from the Waverley Street Foundation. While having a focus on advancing agricultural policies that address the climate crisis and racial disparities, this effort takes a broad perspective in supporting policy organizing as a whole.
The collaborators believe that successful, systemic policy change requires a diverse and sustained movement. Legislative success combines knowledgeable policy experts advocating in Washington DC and the vocal engagement of on-the-ground organizations from around the country. Participatory grantmaking tools are used to distribute the funds.
This Project is primarily focused on providing financial support and training to on-the-ground organizations, with the work largely conducted in partnership with leading agricultural policy coalitions. Components include the following:
- A Rapid Response Fund that provides small grants to support mobilizing activities. Learn More
- A Capacity Building Fund that provides financial resources and training to Black, Indigenous, and organizations of color that would like to increase their involvement in policy advocacy. Learn More
- A Priority States Fund that focuses on advocacy in states with key agricultural policymakers (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arkansas).
On the Ground Response
The farm bill debate in Congress has become increasingly contentious in recent weeks, and many experts believe that farm bill advocacy opportunities will extend well into 2024. Following is an overview of existing and planned activities.
Rapid Response Fund
- Open to organizations that are members of these leading policy coalitions: Rural Coalition, NSAC, Native Farm Bill Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition, HEAL Food Alliance, and Good Food for All.
- Priority consideration given to organizations with budgets under $3.5 million and organizations serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
- Funding decisions made by a committee that includes staff from Rural Coalition, NSAC, HEAL Food Alliance, and National Family Farm Coalition.
- $455,000 distributed to 49 organizations last December in round one. Thanks to additional support from PACT, Crown Family Philanthropies, FORA, and No Regrets Initiative, over $500,000 will be distributed in June 2023 in round two.
- Would like to raise funds for round three in the fall 2023.
Capacity Building Fund
- Led by RAFI-USA’s Climate and Equity Policy Project, this effort strives to put farmers of color at the center of policy conversations by providing funding and other forms of support.
- RAFI-USA provides opt-in opportunities for grantees to build capacity, such as trainings on the Farm Bill and federal policy process, advocacy, and space to convene and share experiences and peer support.
- Funding decisions made by a committee of BIPOC food systems leaders — Helga Garcia-Garza of Agri-Cultura Network, Zoe Holloman of the Midwest Farmers of Color Collective, Ife Kilimanjaro Ph.D. of Soul Fire Farm, and Sommer Sibilly of the US Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition.
- Additional support from PACT and FORA will allow for the distribution of more funds and more trainings this summer.
These collaborating organizations are the leading champions for sound federal agricultural policy, collectively holding many decades of policy experience.
The HEAL Food Alliance
The HEAL Food Alliance is a national multi-sector, multi-racial coalition of 55 organizations. We are led by our members, who represent over 2 million rural and urban farmers, ranchers, fishers, farm and food chain workers, indigenous groups, scientists, public health advocates, policy experts, community organizers, and activists. Together, these groups are building a movement to transform our food and farm systems from the current extractive economic model towards community control, care for the land, local economies, meaningful labor, and healthful communities nationwide, while supporting the sovereignty of all living beings.
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC)
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) was founded in 1986, at the height of the 1980s farm crisis, to be a voice for farmers in Washington, DC – and we still are. Today, we are the only national coalition representing grassroots farm, ranch, and fishing organizations in the nation’s capital. Through our 30 member groups, our members are fighting for farmer rights, fair prices, clean air and water, strong local economies, the right to sell and buy locally-grown and -processed food, the right to be free from corporate domination, the right to live in vibrant and healthy rural communities, and much more.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities.
The Native Farm Bill Coalition (NFBC)
The Native Farm Bill Coalition (NFBC) is a nationwide initiative to lift up the voices of Native American producers and Tribal governments to advance a common policy agenda. It works to ensure that Indian Country’s priorities are acknowledged and included in the decision making process for the next Farm Bill, from farming and ranching to nutrition programs, rural development and forestry. The NFBC is a joint project of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, its official research partner.
Since our founding in 1990, RAFI-USA has recognized that our food system is deeply inequitable, where rural communities — their land, animals, and people — are exploited to benefit corporate power structures. Working across agricultural sectors and collaboratively through coalitions, we combine on–the-ground practical services and policy advocacy to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to make the right choices for their farms and families as well as for their communities and the environment.
Rural Coalition (RC)
As one of the most diverse of all rural organizations, Rural Coalition (RC) is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, immigrant, and working people from throughout the United States who work to develop capacities of rural organizations and people to secure systemic change in order to protect and sustain their land and communities. Founded in 1978, RC has worked for 45 years to advance the interests of the historically-underserved producers and rural communities our coalition serves.