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The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) is a network of farmers, consumers, and agriculture-related organizations, all committed to promoting sustainable agriculture in Alabama. We are working to improve the situation of farmers in the state and to provide the state’s consumers with fresh local products.

ASAN members believe that by providing educational opportunities for Alabama’s farmers and ranchers and by educating both consumers and agricultural professionals about sustainable agriculture, we can improve the lives of small farmers and rural and urban communities and make a positive contribution to the state’s environment and health. We define “Sustainable Agriculture” as farming that supports families and communities while conserving natural resources.

ASAN’s mission is to support conservation practices, families who grow and consume natural food and fiber, and the communities where they live.

ASAN’s History

Farmers and others in Alabama interested in sustainable agriculture have historically been isolated and frustrated with their inability to effect change as individuals, to learn about sustainable practices, and to learn from the experiences of others. In addition, those attempting to practice sustainable agriculture or effect change need the motivation and success that a group can provide.

At the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) 2001 Conference in Chattanooga, the Alabama attendees recognized these needs and expressed a desire to develop and grow a sustainable agriculture network in Alabama. A Steering Committee consisting of individuals from different backgrounds and organizations was formed. The committee included full-time small farmers using sustainable practices, as well as professionals who have worked, taught and marketed in the sustainable agriculture arena for years.

ASAN adopted the following organizational goals

  • Increase awareness and appreciation for sustainably produced food and fiber.
  • Expand sustainable agriculture practices among farmers through education and training.
  • Promote methods for increasing farm gate prices and easy access to markets.
  • Promote the interests of sustainable agriculture among state and local lawmakers and officials.
  • Help develop the next generation of sustainable farmers.
  • Help increase food security in urban and rural areas.
  • Create opportunities to network (for business and pleasure).
  • Build a culturally diverse network of sustainable farmers and consumers.
  • Create an organization that is financially and structurally sound.

ASAN has grown to an organization representing over 800 farms, ranches, homes, non-profit organizations and government agencies. We host educational events including sustainable agriculture field days around the state and an annual food systems forum, plus we help plan and promote our partners’ events. Our Food Systems Initiative includes a mentoring program to help beginning and expanding farmers and ranchers. It also provides support to grassroots organizations around the state that are working to promote access to healthy local foods and support local farms and communities.

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