Our Roots

Born of the civil rights and anti-poverty rural movements, Rural Coalition has worked for 40 years to assure that diverse organizations from all regions, ethnic and racial groups and genders have the opportunity to work in solidarity on the issues that affect us all. The foundation of this work is strong local, regional, and national organizations that work to assure the representation and involvement of every sector of this diverse fabric of rural peoples.

Our Leaders: RC Board

John Zippert | CHAIR

Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Land Assistance Fund
Epes, AL

Georgia Good | VICE CHAIR

Rural Advancement Fund
Orangeburg, SC

Dorathy Barker | TREASURER

Operation Sprint Plant
Oxford, NC

Tirso Moreno | SECRETARY

Farmworker Self-Help Inc.

Mily Trevino-Sauceda | ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
Oxnard, CA


Three Fires Spiritual and Cultural Education Society | Minneapolis, MN

Darnella Burkett Winston | YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE

Mississippi Association of Cooperatives
Petels, MS


Landloss Prevention Project
Durham, NC

Lorena Andrade

La Mujer Obrera
El Paso, TX

Rudy Arredondo

National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association
Washington, DC

Starry Krueger

Rural Development Leadership Network
New York, NY

Maria Moreira

World Farmers
Lancaster, MA

Gary Redding

Concerned Citizens of Tillery
Tillery, NC

Barbara Shipman

Cottage House Inc.

Willard Tillman

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project
Oklahoma City, OK

Chukou Thao

National Hmong American Farmers
Fresno, CA

Carlos Marentes | CHAIR EMERITUS

Border Agricultural Workers Project
El Paso, TX


Atlanta, GA

Marge Townsend | EMERITUS

North American Farm Alliance
Windsor, OH

John Bloch | EMERITUS

Markham Center
Montpelier, VT

Patricia Bellanger


Lorette Picciano | EX OFFICIO

Rural Coalition
Washington, D.C.

Our Team




Annie Lorrie Anderson-Lazo, Ph.D. | DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH & EVALUATION





Quinton Robinson | POLICY ADVISOR









Organizational Members

21st Century Youth Leadership Movement | Selma, AL

The mission of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement is to inspire, assist, organize and develop young people of all ages, in and out of school, to be skilled community focused leaders, resiliently and creatively empowering themselves and their communities to affect positive change now and in the 21st Century.

While the main thrust of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement’s mission is developing leadership for the future; an important part of the mission is to impact current problems such as teen pregnancy, drug abuse, crime, low self-esteem, school delinquency, youth unemployment and miseducation. 21st Century addresses these challenges by redirecting some of the negative behavior of young people in our communities into positive and uplifting pursuits.

Agricultural Missions, Inc. (Founded in 1930) | New York, NY

The mission of Agricultural Missions Inc. is to support people of all faiths and spiritual consciousness around the world in the struggle to end the poverty and injustice that affect rural communities and work towards the creation of a peaceful and sustainable community.

Alianza Nacional De Campesinas | Oxnard, CA

alianza logo.png

Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (“Alianza de Campesinas”) is the first national farmworker women’s organization in the U. S. created by current and former farmworker women, along with women who hail from farmworker families. Alianza de Campesinas’ mission is to unify the struggle to promote farm worker women’s leadership in a national movement to create a broader visibility and advocate for changes that ensure their human rights.

American Federation of Government Employees Local 3354 | St. Louis, MO

Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation | Brinkley, AR

For 37 years ALCDC program services have faced issues surrounding poverty, injustice, housing, education, land ownership and family farm retention along with health and the environment through direct service, public policy advocacy and committed support for unserved and under-served rural residents.

Atrisco Land Grant | Atrisco, NM

Atrisco Land Grant is a traditional land grant community in New Mexico.

Bioregional Strategies | Truchas, NM

Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association (Founded 1997) | Tillery, NC

BFAA (Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association) is a non-profit organization created to respond to the issues and concerns of Black farmers in the U.S. and abroad. Formed in 1997, the organization boasts a membership of over 1,500 farmers nationwide, and 21 state chapters. BFAA has also organized to monitor the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the historic 1999 Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Pigford v. Glickman, which was to award 20,000 Black farmers $2.5 billion in damages for loan discrimination practiced committed by the federal government. As of May 2002, only 40% of the 60% of farmers who filed have received their awards. BFAA is committed to seeing that every Black farmer gets their award settlement and the USDA stops its ongoing practices of discrimination against Black farmers.

Black Farmers and Ranchers New Mexico (Founded 2017) | Pueblitos, NM

Border Agricultural Workers Project (founded 1983) | El Paso, TX

The Border Agricultural Workers Project was initiated with the objective of improving the lives of the poor agricultural workers and their families.

The purpose of this project is to promote and protect the civil and human rights of both documented and undocumented agricultural workers. Our commitment is the empowerment of the farmworker community to develop and to implement long-term solutions to the economic and social problems which are the result of the exploitation and oppression of an agricultural system which places profits on top of human dignity.


California Institute for Rural Studies (Founded 1977) | Davis, CA

Since 1977, CIRS has focused on rural and agricultural issues, seeking sustainable solutions. We take particular pride in forging beneficial relationships with grassroots stakeholder organizations while maintaining the respect and cooperation of research institutions in the state. Agencies and policy makers also look to us for substantive analysis of current public policy issues. Our longstanding ties to community-based organizations in rural California are critical to our success in conducting sound empirical research among difficult to access populations such as hired farmworkers.

Coalición Rural Mexico | Mexico City, Mexico


Concerned Citizens of Tillery (Founded 1978) | Tillery, NC

Concerned Citizens of Tillery envisions an empowered, sustainable community that builds on our natural, historic and cultural resources to promote economic independence, a healthy and environmentally sound life, the development of heritage and agricultural tourism that honors and celebrates the spirit and fortitude of Tillery and an enhanced quality of life through our own outside participation in conferences, retreats, seminars and other educational activities.


Conejos County Clean Water Action | Antonito, CO

The mission of Conejos Clean Water is to build public awareness and encourage advocacy and education around environmental, social, economic, and food justice issues in the Conejos Land Grant Region.

Conejos Clean Water (CCW) operates under the basic premise that water is our life source; therefore, protecting the water and fostering a healthy environment promotes public health and serves as a natural resource management system. CCW works to protect public health by promoting environmental justice. CCW views the environment as people: where we live, work, play, and learn. CCW views environmental justice as a convergence of civil rights, environmentalism, and public health. Environmental justice is multicultural and multiethnic, it is grassroots, and it increases links to global struggles. Therefore, CCW is focused on social justice and pollution prevention in order to reduce cumulative health impacts from the built, social, political, and natural environment as can be seen in the picture titled, "Disparate Health Impacts from Environmental Cumulative Impacts."

Cottage House Inc. | Ariton, AL

Established in 2000, the mission of Cottage House is to inspire youth and help promote sustainable agricultural solutions and economic development in rural Southeastern Alabama through a multitude of community programs, entrepreneurship, leadership, life skills and more. The primary focus of Cottage House is to educate youth as well as promote a passion for business and agricultural skills for future generations thereby increasing community gardens, creating jobs for the youth, promoting healthy life styles and educating residents on the importance of growing and eating locally grown fresh produce from the fields to the table.


Desert Forge Foundation | Antonito, CO

Desert Forge Foundation was formed by combat veterans to serve fellow veterans. Our mission is to help our returning brothers and sisters find…
Employment Restoration

Empire State Family Farm Alliance | Johnstown, NY

Family Farm Defenders (Founded 1994) | Madison, WI

Family Farm Defenders (FFD) incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1994 and was granted permanent 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in 1999. FFD began as an outgrowth of two national grass-roots campaigns: demanding a national referendum to end the mandatory check-off on raw milk that funds the lobby and propaganda efforts of the corporate dairy industry; and to defend consumer “right to know” in response to the stealth introduction of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the nation’s milk supply.

Our mission is to create a farmer-controlled and consumer-oriented food and fiber system, based upon democratically controlled institutions that empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social and economic justice. To this end, FFD supports sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade, and food sovereignty. FFD has also worked to create opportunities for farmers to join together in new cooperative marketing endeavors and to bridge the socioeconomic gap that often exists between rural and urban communities.


Farmworkers Association of Florida (Founded 1983) | Apopka, FL

FWAF’s long-standing mission is to build power among farmworker and rural low-income communities to respond to and gain control over the social, political, workplace, economic, health, and environmental justice issues that impact their lives.

FWAF's guiding vision is a social environment where farmworkers' contribution, dignity, and worth is acknowledged, appreciated, and respected through economic, social, and environmental justice. This vision includes farmworkers being treated as equals, and not exploited and discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, immigrant status, or socioeconomic status.

FWAF has grown to be a statewide organization with more than 8,000 members, and five locations throughout Central and South Florida. FWAF’s mission is to empower farmworker and rural low-income communities to respond to and gain control over the social, political, economic, workplace, health, and environmental justice issues affecting their lives. FWAF works in communities of low-income, ethnic-minority, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, who work primarily in the vegetable, fruit, mushroom, sod, fern, and foliage industries.  FWAF has also been working with Latino small farmers in Central and South Florida for the last four years.   More than 80% of these producers are beginning farmers.

FWAF activities include leadership development; pesticide safety and environmental health education; community organizing to improve farmworker housing, wages, working conditions, and transportation; immigrants’ and workers’ rights advocacy; sustainable agriculture and economic initiatives; disaster preparedness and response; vocational rehabilitation for farmworkers; HIV/AIDS prevention education; healthy pregnancy and women’s health education; and farmworker health research studies.

Farmers on the Move | Battle Creek, MI


Farmers on the Move is the only cooperative of Hispanic farmers in Michigan that is on a mission to provide locally grown, sustainable produce and preserve Michigan’s farmland.

America was built on the hard work of immigrants looking to improve the lives of their families and the new communities in which they reside. The Hispanic founders of Farmers On The Move came to Michigan to do what they love best – cultivate top quality produce.

Too many independent farmers across the country are being forced to sell their land to the highest bidder. That is where Farmers On The Move comes in. Our growing network of family farms aims to enhance the economic viability of Michigan’s agricultural landscape and to preserve the family farm once again.


Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (Founded 1967) Atlanta, GA Epes, AL Rural Coalition Founding Member

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives strived toward the development of self-supporting communities with programs that increase income and enhance other opportunities; and we also assist in land retention and development, especially for African Americans, but essentially for all family farmers.

We do this with an active and democratic involvement in poor areas across the South, through education and outreach strategies which support low-income people in molding their communities to become more humane and livable.

We assist in the development of cooperatives and credit unions as a collective strategy to create economic self-sufficiency.

Friends of the Earth (Founded 1969) | Washington D.C.

Friends of the Earth is an outspoken leader in the environmental and progressive communities. We seek to change the perception of the public, media and policy makers — and effect policy change — with hard-hitting, well-reasoned policy analysis and advocacy campaigns that describe what needs to be done, rather than what is seen as politically feasible or politically correct. This hard-hitting advocacy has been the key to our successful campaigns over our 47-year history.

One way that Friends of the Earth works to achieve a just and healthy world, is by focusing on the economic drivers that are encouraging environmental degradation. Depending on the issue, these drivers may include public investment, granting corporations the right to pollute, or other factors. With key policy expertise at the federal and state levels, Friends of the Earth works to eliminate these drivers and thus bring environmental degradation to a halt.

Indian Springs Farmers' Cooperative (MS) | Petal, MS

Incorporated in 1981, there are 42 members of the Mississippi Indian Springs Farmers Cooperative Association of which 31 are presently active farmers. The co-op owns a “state of the art” packing shed in Petal, Mississippi. It has a cooler for storage, washing tubs, sorting tables and other equipment for processing the produce from co-op members. Members purchase shares that are invested and pay annual membership dues. To fulfill its marketing goals and contracts, the co-op affiliates with at least four other cooperatives in the state.

Hempstead Project Heart (Founded 2012) | Green Bay, WI

The Hemptead Heart mission is to raise awareness of the benefits of industrial hemp for people and the planet and redevelop thriving hemp economies that connect tribal, urban and rural communities. We utilize education, organizing, coalition building and advocacy to catalyze a shift that allows hemp farming, manufacturing and entrepreneurship to flourish. We work in Wisconsin to advocate restoring a hemp economy to the state, and nationally to create a legitimate seat at the table in the hemp industry for tribes. Our organization was founded by the late Native artist, poet and activist John Trudell (Dakota) to raise awareness of the benefits of industrial hemp. Our Wisconsin campaign was a vision of John’s and we continue to do this work in his honor.

Hills Connections | Chaseburg, WI

Housing Assistance Council (Founded 1971) | Washington DC

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is marking 40 years of improving housing conditions across rural America. HAC was created in 1971 to address deplorable and often overlooked housing conditions in rural areas. Since its founding, HAC has provided much needed financial resources, training and technical assistance, and research and information to advance that mission. HAC works throughout rural America, and maintains a special focus on high-need groups and regions: Indian Country, the Mississippi Delta, farmworkers, the Southwest border colonias, and Appalachia.

As changes during the past four decades have transformed the face of affordable housing, HAC has adapted. During the 1970s and 1980s, significant federal resources helped local organizations develop a wide array of housing initiatives and HAC resources supported these endeavors, including rental housing and infrastructure development. In the 1990s, HAC increasingly supported self-help housing and homeownership activities. Now, in the 21st century, green building and rental housing preservation have been added as concerns for rural affordable housing developers.

Starting from a $2 million War on Poverty grant in 1971, HAC has committed over $270 million in loans and funded more than 65,181 affordable housing units. The HAC Loan Fund has had a broad reach across rural America supporting the development of affordable homes in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For the past 40 years, HAC has helped to improve housing and living conditions for tens of thousands of low- and very low-income families in rural communities across the nation. While much progress has been made, still more remains to be done. As HAC continues to grow and adapt to this ever changing environment, it keeps a focus on what is most important: affordable housing for millions of low-income rural Americans.

Hopi Farmer | AZ


La Mujer Obrera (Founded 1981) | El Paso, Texas

La Mujer Obrera is a local independent organization dedicated to creating communities defined by women. Our organization was founded in 1981 by women who were both garment workers and Chicana activists. Our experience showed us that as women we must implement our own ideas and strategies for our community. La Mujer Obrera has developed its organizing strategies based on the following basic human rights: employment, housing, education, nutrition, health, peace, and political liberty. Over the years, La Mujer Obrera has been one of the leaders in the struggle against an “undeclared war” on marginalized women workers of Mexican heritage.

Today La Mujer Obrera continues to challenge the perception that women are an infinite source of cheap labor and that progress means we are the ones who must sacrifice. We must see ourselves as being at the forefront of defining progress within our community. The struggle of women in the factories and resistance to NAFTA has strengthened us to create community. Our collective practice includes: cooking, raising our children, working the land, commerce, artisanry, and cultural celebrations. We need these practices to safeguard our ancestral knowledge and apply it to the present. This is our contribution as women workers in El Paso to the struggle for work, dignity, and justice. The space we are creating belongs to future generations of women and their families.

Land Loss Prevention Project (Founded 1982) | Durham, NC

The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina. LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983. The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina.

LLPP's advocacy for financially distressed and limited resource farmers involves action in three separate arenas: litigation, public policy, and promoting sustainable agriculture and environment.

Activity in the litigation arena typically involves debt restructuring for farmers in crisis and other legal work. On the public policy front, LLPP monitors agricultural policy and the impact it has on North Carolina's small family farmers. Finally, LLPP helps family farmers and landowners develop sustainable agricultural practices that are environmentally friendly and economically viable for their rural communities. LLPP is committed to working alongside state, regional and national coalitions who support sustainable agriculture practices, development and policy innovations.

It is part of LLPP's organizational strategy to integrate policy and programmatic work into the issue areas addressed in litigation.

Land Stewardship Project (Founded 1982) | Lewiston, Montevideo & South Minneapolis, MN

The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities.

LSP is dedicated to creating transformational change in our food and farming system. LSP’s work has a broad and deep impact, from new farmer training and local organizing, to federal policy and community based food systems development. At the core of all our work are the values of stewardship, justice and democracy.

Latino Economic Development Corporation | Minneapolis, MN

The Latino Economic Development Center is a statewide membership-based nonprofit organization whose headquarters are located in Minneapolis. An ethnic/membership-based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), it is certified by the US Department of Treasury and by the MN State Council of OICs and OIC America as an Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC).

Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (Founded 1972) | Jackson, MS

The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (1967). A nonprofit organization, MAC serves farmers, their families and communities in increasing their livelihood security and improving quality of life. Building from a tradition steeped in the Civil Rights Movement, MAC provides technical assistance and advocates for the needs of its members in the areas of cooperative development and networking, sustainable production, marketing and community food security.

Missouri Rural Crisis Center (Founded 1985) | Columbia, MO

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) is a statewide farm and rural membership organization founded in 1985 with over 5600 member families. Our mission is to preserve family farms, promote stewardship of the land and environmental integrity and strive for economic and social justice by building unity and mutual understanding among diverse groups, both rural and urban. We carry out this mission through our programming areas, each with its own specific role in advocating for family farms and rural communities. Our innovative approach to family farm organizing includes challenging corporate control of the food supply, creating sustainable alternatives to the current farm and food system, and generating community participation to create a just, democratic society based on equity and fairness for all people.

Every day MRCC fights: to preserve family farms and independent family farm livestock production, to prevent environmental degradation, to support social justice and economic opportunity, and to encourage efforts that promote stewardship of the land and a safe, affordable high-quality food supply. In addition, MRCC plays leadership roles in national and international efforts for fair farm and trade policies and seeks to establish mutual understanding between rural and urban communities.

All Missourians benefit from advocacy for wholesome, locally grown food from Missouri’s family farmers. All Missourians benefit from rural leadership to achieve strong rural economies and clean water and air. Most importantly, all Missourians have a stake in the agriculture policies that affect our food supply, and MRCC empowers rural communities to challenge the power of big agribusiness.

National Hmong American Farmers, Inc. (Founded 2003) | Fresno, CA

Started in 2003, NHAF is a non-profit 501c3 organization whose mission is to preserve Hmong-American farm culture by promoting economic self-sufficiency for Hmong-American and other immigrant and ethnically underrepresented farmers. We provide services to independent farmers throughout the country, with special focus on California’s Central Valley farmers, who may have limited access to government programs. We believe that the success of small farmers is a benefit to us all. NHAF encourages maintaining a healthy planet through culturally and environmentally friendly farming.


National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association (Founded 2004) | Washington DC

The National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association (NLFRTA) was founded in August of 2004 in Washington, D.C after working with many farmworkers transitioning into farmers, ranchers and multiple advocacy groups. Oftentimes, federal agencies such as the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), among others, and mainstream and established farm groups tend to treat the issues of Latino farmers as an afterthought in policy formulation, if at all. As rural people, Agriculture and Farm policy significantly impacts Latino rural communities.

New Mexico Black Farmers and Ranchers (Incorporated 2017) | Pueblitos, NM

Northwest Forest Workers Center (Founded 1997) | Albany, CA

Northwest Forest Worker Center is a nonprofit organization that empowers forest workers and harvesters of non-timber forest products (mushrooms, berries, floral greens, etc.) in northern California, Oregon and Washington to improve their lives and livelihoods through ethical stewardship of the land.

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project INC (Founded 2005) | Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project is a non-profit 501-C3 corporation established in Oklahoma City, OK in 2005. The community based organization is primarily engaged in performing a soil preparation activity or crop production service, such as plowing, fertilizing, seed bed preparation, planting, cultivating, and crop protecting services. Native American and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (NA&SDFR) in Oklahoma face many challenges including: high costs of production with poor economies of scale due to their small sizes; difficulty accessing government programs, such as field crop/commodity programs; and less access to farm credit both public and private. USDA has introduced a number of programs to address these farmers’ needs, and is working to raise awareness of the USDA and its programs by sharing information. This project has a dual purpose: to further enhance NA&SDFR access to USDA programs; and to improve NA&SDFR's agricultural production capacity and drought resilience. Project methods include enhancing networks and collaborations with NA&SDFR in Oklahoma; identifying NA&SDFR needs; identifying NA&SDFRs obstacles to participation in USDA programs; developing culturally sensitive outreach and training programs to enhance NA&SDFR awareness of and participation in USDA programs; developing a culturally appropriate protocol for building trust and enhancing NA&SDFR access to USDA programs; and enhancing NA&SDFR adoption of solar water pumps and other green technology to help improve drought resilience.

Operation Spring Plant (Founded 1987) | Oxford, NC

OPERATION SPRING PLANT, INC., also known as OSP, is a grass root, nonprofit organization. It is made up of African-American and limited resource farmers and concerned urban citizens from Region K and surrounding counties of North Carolina. The mission of Operation Spring Plant Inc. is to provide an environmentally safe food product, technical and financial assistance to minority, limited resource and small family farmers, who need to engage in timely seasonal planting activities; and who need marketing outlets for the sale of their crops and to sustain their farming livelihood and operation.

Organización in California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc. | Pomona, CA

Organización en California de Líderes Campesinas, Inc." represents a culmination of decades of work by farm working women (Campesinas). Farmworker women have been the leaders of many grassroots and mobilizing efforts to improve the lives of farmworker communities. Líderes Campesinas provides these long-time leaders and activists with the opportunity to coordinate their work statewide and has built collectives so that campesinas may become agents of change and be a more effective unified voice.

The mission of Líderes Campesinas is to develop leadership among campesinas so that they serve as agents of political, social and economic change in the farmworker community. This leadership has created an organization by and for campesinas. The approach emphasizes capacity building, democratic decision-making, advocacy, peer training and leadership development as well as a mixture of traditional and innovative education, outreach and mobilizing methods such as house meetings, arts, and theatrical presentations at community venues.

Pesticide Action Network (Founded 1982) | Oakland, CA

Pesticide Action Network North America works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.

Pure Beauty Farms Inc. | Miami, FL

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Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Pure Beauty Farms Inc. supplies the South East United States as well as neighboring Islands with annuals, perennials, and succulents. They are a family-owned business with growing locations in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Pure Beauty Farms Inc. continually works to preserve the environment by recycling pots, soil, and water.

Rio Valley Greenhouse | Atrisco, NM

Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund (Founded 1937)
(Rural Coalition Founding Member
| Orangeburg, SC

Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers, Inc. is a 501c3 organization established nationally by the US Congress in 1937 to address the issues of rural communities and sharecroppers. RAF was founded to support the struggle of the producers of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union which resisted the exclusion of tenant farmers from farm programs, including those under the New Deal. RAF, the oldest continuing African American farmer’s organization has a long history of standing with African American families especially in the Carolinas. Founded with support from Eleanor Roosevelt, A. Philip Randolph was a strong supporter and longtime board member. Other longtime RAF leaders included Dr. Benjamin Mays and Father A.J McKnight. RAF for decades worked at the intersection of the migrant and tenant farmer struggle and the struggle of farm families as New Deal protections for workers and for small farmers excluded migrant and tenant farmers who at the time were largely African American. RAF further provided hands on assistance to thousands of farm families in the Carolinas over decades, working to preserve black owned land. In a leadership transition, RAF headquarters moved to South Carolina in 1991 under the direction of Georgia Good as Executive Director. Rural Advancement of the National Sharecroppers Fund, Inc. (RAF) renewed its mission is to serve counties throughout the State of South Carolina and nationally in advancing the role and survival of small and African American farms. In recent years the organization has been instrumental in numerous projects that impacted rural the South and the nation. RAF was a part of the early effort to take the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit which, alleged racial discrimination against African-American farmers, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the US Congress in Washington, D.C. Throughout its history, RAF has been instrumental in educating African American farmers on local and national issues that impacted their rights, including work on US Farm Bills over decades. RAF was a founding member of the Rural Coalition, and has for the past 40 years supported RC’s efforts to coordinate national food and farm policy work to advance the interests of African American and other communities suffering discriminatory treatment. Direct assistance to farmers has continued including hands on technical assistance to improve the viability of farm operations including small farmer’s irrigation systems, green houses for starter plants, building new markets for specialty crops such as white sweet potatoes, and establishing cooperatives. Our major current initiative is a program entitled “Return to the Land” in which we are working with youth organizations and faith based groups to introduce youth to farming and gardening. Using hands on training, workshops and summer programs, our critical skills training program aims to build a sustainable pathway for new generation of young people to enter agriculture as a career and strengthen our local food system to form viable markets for much needed healthy foods they will produce. These are the means we have identified to developing pathways to an agricultural renaissance.

Rural Development Leadership Network (Founded 1983) | New York, NY

The Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN), a national multicultural social change organization founded in 1983, supports community-based development in poor rural areas through hands-on projects, education and skills building, leadership development and networking.

Through RDLN, emerging leaders from poor rural areas spearhead development projects and design related study through which they may earn a certificate or academic credential. (Currently Master's degree. We are willing to work with participants on B. A. and PhD arrangements.)

RDLN Leaders work teams of field and study advisors and participate in RDLN's month-long Rural Development Institute held at the University of California at Davis, sharing knowledge, culture, regional experience and programmatic expertise. Institute seminars include economics and economic development, overview of rural areas, organization and management, and tools for rural development.

At RDLN's National Network Assemblies and other gatherings, Network members take part in workshops and training, discuss issues, visit rural projects, learn about other cultures, share their own experience, and plan for special Network initiatives and projects.

Through the Rural Women's Network, RDLN organized a forty-member delegation to the NGO Forum on Women in China, presenting workshops there and at World Food Summit, the Commission on the Status of Women, the World Conference Against Racism and other international sessions. In the past, four rural women's producer groups worked on developing a line of rural women's products, especially crafts and products made from locally grown food, for sale on our website.

RDLN provides online networking and training in entrepreneurship, writing, and other areas for Network members and other community people.

Solidarity Farms | San Diego, CA

Solidarity Farm strives to create a stronger, healthier, more food secure future.  We practice "ethical farming" which means we work hard each day to balance the needs of humans, animals, plants and nature in a way that honors each part of this interconnected system. As a primary part of that vision, Solidarity Farm operates as a worker-owned cooperative. Far too many farms exploit the labor of immigrant workers, and we are committed to creating a more equitable model where we share equally in the rewards and struggles of the business. 

Our vision also includes making great food affordable and accessible so that no one is excluded from nourishing themselves and their families.  We invite those who can afford it, to support this vision by adding on a "solidarity share" to their purchases.

Together, we are building a more just local food system...and invite you to get involved!

Stepping Stones Association | Savannah, TN

Taos County Economic Development Corporation (Founded 1987) | Taos, NM

Taos County Economic Development Corporation is a nonprofit devoted to providing agriculture based opportunities. Since Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) was founded in 1987, the challenges facing our community were those of a historic, semi-isolated, rural area transitioning from a centuries old, self-sufficient agrarian base to a commercially focused economy. TCEDC has always operated utilizing a family model in its community development efforts to address these challenges. Our model builds upon the strengths and wisdom of land-based cultures that have demonstrated the ability to survive and overcome adversity by retaining beliefs and values and recognizing the inevitability of cycles.

Three Fires Ojibwe Culture and Education Society | Minneapolis, MN

We Own It | Madison, WI

We Own It: the national network for cooperative member rights, education, and organizing aims to serve an unfilled need for a national association that represents co-op member-owners, rather than a trade association of cooperative businesses. We aim to bring the 130 million members of co-ops into the movement to build a cooperative economy, and to help both member-owners and their co-ops navigate the necessary transition in how they engage with each other.

Our Mission: Catalyzing citizen action for democracy, participation, and excellence in cooperatives, through member education and organizing. Our vision is an economy that works for all of us, with many democratically-owned businesses working to build civic leadership and local assets, equity and economic security, and long-term sustainability.

We Own It is bringing together members’ associations, public interest groups, and community and industry leaders working to elevate cooperatives and their founding principles:

Democratic member control
Economic participation for all
Building sustainable communities

To these ends, we provide networking, member education, training, local organizing support, storytelling, and public advocacy.

Our main service is building relationships.

For the past year, our Launch Team has been building relationships with member-owners, co-op and industry experts, legal advisors, organizers, and other sources of expertise. We are taking our first steps at moving these relationships into an online community in our forums, and we hope you join us by creating an account and introducing yourself.


WhyHunger (Founded 1975) | New York, NY

WhyHunger is a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment.


World Farmers | Lancaster, MA

World Farmers’ mission is to support small farmers in sustainable agricultural production and successful marketing practices to connect culturally relevant produce to viable markets. World Farmers provides mentoring, training, and hands-on assistance when working with each farmer to build the capacity needed to operate individual farming enterprises. We enact our mission through various initiatives, the most prominent of which is the Flats Mentor Farm program.

Since 1984, Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster, Massachusetts has provided the space and infrastructure for small immigrant and refugee farmers to get started. The farmers at Flats Mentor Farm produce over 55 acres of ethnic specialty crops; supplying to wholesale and retail markets throughout New England, including over 40 farmers’ markets and dozens of small scale direct-to-consumer outlets in and around Massachusetts. Participating farmers are skilled producers who come from agrarian backgrounds and seek to make a new life for themselves while preserving their cultural identity. In order to contribute to their success in the new culture and climate of the Northeast, World Farmers’ Mentoring Program offers regular trainings in agricultural production, business development, and marketing. All programming is performed in a respectful environment of cross-cultural co-learning among farmers, World Farmers staff, and our interns and volunteers.

Many of the farmers at Flats Mentor Farm have told us that they never believed there would be an opportunity like this when they came to this country: access to land, trainings in new growing practices for this climate, and support in building a business in farming have made a huge impact on their ability to adapt and thrive. Just as important as our programming and services is the simple access to a safe space to learn from their neighbors, feed their families, heal, rebuild their cultural foundations, and teach the next generation all that agriculture can provide.

In addition, Rural Coalition is a member of the International farmers organization, La Via Campesina, and an active member and participant in the LVC North American Region.