Begun in 2015, the National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive is a growing collection of interviews with several women and men around the country who have been instrumental in the development and implementation of public policies to advance sustainable agriculture in the United States. A key focus of several interviews is documenting the formation and evolution of what today is known as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), including the federal policy reforms NSAC, its allies, and predecessor coalitions have achieved over the past four decades.
To date there are 31 interviews available on the Web, most in a video format with accompanying written transcription. Over the next year plans call for conducting eight to 10 more, including interviews with several farmer/civil rights activists in the South.
Among the main topics covered in the interviews are:
♦ The political and social context surrounding the initial federal policy efforts in the 1970s and 1980s to advance organic and sustainable agriculture;
♦ The evolution of what became the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, from its early days as an informal network of grassroots organizations, to the more formal structure of regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWGs) in the 1990s, to the NSAC of today with its 120 organizations from around the country;
♦ A review of the policy gains that support organic and sustainable agriculture achieved through federal Farm Bills from 1985 through 2014, including a discussion of where policy proposals fell short, despite the efforts of sustainable agriculture advocates;
♦ What now? Exploration of priorities going forward that are needed to strengthen organic and sustainable farming and build a healthy food system.