Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)
We are a 12 state network of over 500 participating organizations. Together, we unite farm and food system practitioners and allies to build a sustainable and economically vibrant region. We accomplished our mission of bringing together the Northeast Food System through programs in several thematic areas. Building advocacy capacity: Our training helps groups and individuals working on food, farming, and related issues to introduce or better incorporate policy advocacy activities into their work. We offer customized training and you can also work through our Building Advocacy Capacity Handbook on your own. Food Systems: NESAWG works on a range of initiatives to strengthen our region’s food system. This includes producing reports and studies relating to community-based food systems, rural development, urban agriculture, cooperatives, supply chain and market development, value-added production, processing, farm lending, new farmer development, farm business development and innovation in agriculture in general. Education: We produce many publications aimed at educating the public about our food system and to encourage active involvement.
Our sustainable agriculture journey started on our travels. We wanted to explore less urban corners of the world and see how locals live in harmony with nature. Our economy and agricultural system made a huge impact on nature and the global climate changes are the first strongest proof. On the other hand, we have world records in the productions of the good and at the same time we have the biggest poverty levels in many regions of the world where humans are starving. We are producing so many goods; many of them are ending up unused and thrown away as garbage and to make things worst those products are not even high quality or healthy products as we treat them with hazardous substances.
Our travels took us to the most remote parts of Southeast Asia where we witnessed magnificent small-scale agricultural systems with dominant: rice fields, rainfed fields, and home gardens. Our journey to the Mediterranean area made a huge impact on our work. Their food is simple and so diverse, and their cuisine goes from vegetables, fish, meat, and they make some of the best wines in the world. Their agricultural old ways did not negatively affect nature, it even made it look better. All of that we witnessed in central Dalmatian archipelago where we took a Blue Cave tour organized by Zen Travel Croatia that took us from the magnificent ancient town of Split, Croatia to the sunniest islands of Mediterranean. While riding on the boat we had a magnificent sightseeing experience by observing vineyards on the steep hills of the islands, small gardens close to the shore, shepherd observing their playful sheep in the fields, and fishermen doing their job from small traditional wooden boats. We saw a harmony in the process, a harmony that we have lost in the hunt for the profits and then we realized, it’s time for an action. On the previously mentioned tour, you’ll visit five islands in one day – which is, if you ask me, more than enough to book it immediately.
We decided to unite farms of the American Northeast, food practitioners to build a new better sustainable, equal and economically healthy region through many initiatives and actions from our organization. We believe that sharing information, knowledge, and resources can be beneficial to all sides involved and that we can create a platform for a better new healthier region. Bringing people together, generating new ideas, and moving great projects forward is our greatest satisfaction in the work that we do.
We are proud that our annual conferences became a standard for anyone that is doing agricultural development. We attract hundreds of practitioners that have a passion for learning new things and are ready to do some real work to turn things around. Our 15 plus workgroups are the heart and soul of our network where practitioners annually meet and share ideas and work on interesting projects. It is totally free to join one of our workgroups and you can have full access to forums, meetings, and other resources.
Not only that we want to help improve rural agricultural areas in a change to new sustainable ways but we are looking for an improvement in social aspects as well. We want to educate and train our farmers to become more flexible and adaptive to market demands and help them to place their products on the market. We want to revive rural areas so they can be sustainable and economically strong. New technologies and new ways of doing business are on a rise and we want to bring new knowledge to our members. For example, internet and software solutions can help organize and upgrade small businesses to a completely new level. Implementation of solar panels and/or windmills can reduce costs and it is a completely clean source of energy.
Urban agriculture is also known as urban gardening or farming. That is a practice of cultivating, processing and distribution of food in urban areas. We are happy to see this movement getting a huge interest and popularity lately. We see this movement, not as a necessity but an honest reflection of people getting more aware of the importance of sustainability and care to nature. People are aiming for the consummation of organic goods that are treated in the proper way and we are happy to see that they are getting institutional support for doing that. There are many examples of restaurants in populated urban areas doing agriculture within the operating building. Urban agriculture can also be used as physical or psychological relaxation and may take an important role in providing recreational opportunities for citizens or have educational functions for the youth. Our goal is to create a network in which urban areas can learn and benefit from rural areas, farmers can educate urban area population, share physical products (seeds of any kind), or supply local markets or restaurants. It is absolutely possible to have a sustainable, healthy, and balanced environment if we act in a responsible way and take an initiative.
LIST OF OUR WORKING GROUPS
- Data & Information in Support of Sustainable Food Systems
- Food Systems Planning
- Northeast Biochar
- Diet, Geography & Access
- Labor & Trade
- Messaging & Outreach
- Supply Chains and Distribution
- Yard Sharing
- Northeast Food & Ag Communicators
- Food Systems in Higher Education
- Work Group on Fracking
- Food Safety
- Research & Assessments
- Future Harvest – CASA
You are more than welcome to join our cause, became a member and/or a participant in our workgroups. Please see the contact us sections and send us a message. Let’s create a better world together!