ASAN’s Mission and Vision

ASAN’s vision is a resilient agricultural system in Alabama. We believe that strong relationships are essential to resilient systems; strong, personal connections between growers, eaters, institutions and businesses make our agricultural system thrive and therefore our mission is to deepen relationships between the people of Alabama, the food we eat, and the place we live.

Core Beliefs

  • A resilient agricultural system is farmer-centered; for an agricultural system to thrive, growers must be able to sustain themselves economically and socially.
  • A resilient agricultural system is ecologically regenerative. In order to flourish, our agriculture should replenish the soil, protect the watershed, and enhance the ecosystem.
  • A resilient agricultural system is just. A system based on the exploitation and impoverishment of farmers and farm-workers will ultimately fail. To create and sustain a resilient agricultural system, the historic and modern racism that pervades our current agricultural institutions and practices must be specifically addressed. All labor within the food system, especially the labor of women and immigrants, must be justly compensated.
  • A resilient agricultural system is intergenerational. Our elders and ancestors have agricultural knowledge that should be maintained and celebrated. The system we sustain and work for should be worthy of our children and youth, who should be engaged and invited to participate in growing, harvesting, and consuming healthy foods.

Note: This list of beliefs is considered a living document, presented to the membership for discussion and revision (if needed) each year at the statewide Food & Farm Forum.

Our Role

In alignment with our vision, mission, and core beliefs, ASAN works in three primary ways. We:

  • Convene Alabama stakeholders in sustainable agriculture in order to facilitate relationships among growers, consumers, policy makers, institutions and resource providers
  • Listen to and aggregate the needs of growers and other stakeholders in the food system. Amplify the voices of the marginalized in the food system, and
  • Create and distribute resources to lessen barriers to ownership and to promote wider meaningful participation in the food system.

2017-18 Strategic Planning Process

In 2017 and the first part of 2018, our primary focus was listening and visioning as part of an overdue strategic planning process. We hosted seven assemblies across the state and distributed a statewide survey, trying to engage a diverse swath of Alabamians with deep questions about the current and future state of our food, land, and agriculture. We called this work “Cultivate ASAN” because we understand it to be the work that yields growth; it’s the kind of work that doesn’t yield immediate or flashy results, but creates a more fertile long-term environment for us to grow.

We worked with a videographer to capture the process in the short video below: