There are many organizations in Texas that have resources and information for sustainable farmers, ranchers, and food producers.
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is a national organization that supports independent family farmers and protects a healthy and productive food supply for American consumers. FARFA promotes common sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems.
FARFA acts as a watchdog on what Congress, Texas Legislature, and federal and state agencies are doing that impact local producers, and provides information on what individuals can do to protect our farms and our food. FARFA provides training and support for grassroots activism at the local and state level, both within Texas and across the country.
Holistic Management International
Holistic Management International is a worldwide nonprofit with a mission of educating people to manage land for a sustainable future. HMI believes people that count, healthy land is essential, and money matters. It serves this mission by teaching Holistic Management in a number of programs including online classes, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers comprehensive training, a Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning series of workshops, a Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management series of workshops, Open Gate on-farm days, and individual training and independent consulting services by our Holistic Management Certified Educators.
Holistic Management is a whole farm/ranch planning system that integrates social, financial and environmental well-being into a plan designed to step always toward a values-driven holistic goal. There are components in managing time, financial, grazing, crop, ecosystem processes, land/facilities design, decision making, marketing, business plans, leadership and communication in addition to monitoring and replanning techniques.
While training is offered worldwide, many of the classes are offered in Texas, where the process began in this country.
For more information, visit holisticmanagement.org.
Sustainable Food Center
Founded in 1993, with roots dating back to 1975 as Austin Community Gardens, Sustainable Food Center is involved in every step of our local food system. SFC’s mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. SFC envisions a food-secure community where all children and adults grow, share, and prepare healthy, local food. From seed to table, SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system. Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the long-term health of Central Texans and our environment.
Additional information at sustainablefoodcenter.org.
The Center for Rural Advancement
Based at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the Center for Rural Advancement helps rural areas develop the capacity to advance—to increase their diversity and productivity over time. To accomplish this, the Center promotes the economic, social, and environmental advancement of rural areas and the well-being of the people that live in rural areas. The mission of the Center is to improve the economic conditions of rural Texas by assisting with the start-up, expansion, and operational improvement of rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. The Center works with farmer/rancher groups, gardening clubs, child care providers, home health care services, and a variety of other cooperative business models to offer help with:
- Rural business and cooperative development
- Small acreage production and direct marketing
- Specialty crop research and demonstration
- Rural-program advocacy and training
- Student education, training and transportation
Additional information at Texas Rural Cooperative Center.
The Texas Local Food and Farm Coalition
The Texas Local Food and Farm Coalition (TLFFC) supports food and agriculture policies that promote healthy, environmentally sustainable, and economically strong local food production.
The leaders that make up the Coalition focus on local, state, and national policies to:
- Promote the development of infrastructure for local food production, processing, distribution, and marketing
- Reduce regulatory and tax burdens on small farmers and local food producers
- Preserve Texas’ agricultural heritage
- Improve access to land for new farmers and community gardens
Member organizations of TLFFC include the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Sustainable Food Center, Food Policy Council of San Antonio, Grow North Texas, Houston Food Policy Workgroup, Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assn., Farm and Food Coalition, La Semilla Food Center, Texas Certified Farmers Market Assn., Texas Young Farmers Coalition, and Urban Harvest, among others
Additional information at texasfoodandfarms.org.