The ultimate goal of WSAA is to promote sustainable farming, food distribution, consumption, and biocycling systems throughout the world. We promote systems and public policies that enhance local and regional food security, in ways that are economically viable, socially just, and environmentally harmonious with Nature.
WSAA's activities are guided by an operational definition of sustainable agriculture adapted from Fred Kirschenmann's "New Paradigm for Agriculture," (based on Meadows) which he presented at a recent Board of Directors meeting. We consider the agriculture of a specific farm, region, or nation is sustainable if it has the following attributes:
We recognize the importance of motivational forces inspiring farmers, public officials, educators, scientists and others to strive for a more sustainable agriculture. These motivational forces often include love for the Earth and caring for present and future generations of humanity. Recognizing the interdependence of humans, other life forms, and the Earth itself, we promote the use of production techniques that build upon the inherent power of the natural elements (the sun, the water and the soil) in establishing highly productive and safe farming systems, in harmony with Nature. Examples include crop rotations, recycling plant and animal residues, enhancing habitats for natural enemies of pests through biodiversity, and many other site-specific practices. Closely linked to the sustainable farming systems are the social, economic, and environmental dimensions, including the proper functioning of the marketing and political systems and public policies, to ensure the well-being of communities, families, and ecosystems.
We seek opportunities to enhance the work of public and private organizations that foster the goal of a more sustainable agriculture throughout the world, reversing the many farming practices and public policies that harm the environment, impair human health, and undermine food security, family farms, and the social and economic well-being of communities. We work with individuals and organizations in many parts of the world, including government officials, international organizations, consumer groups, farmer organizations, universities, and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Established in 1991, WSAA is a private non-profit corporation governed by a Board of Directors from seven countries. Organized as a federation of autonomous national branches, local chapters, and offices, WSAA now has activities in the US, India, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, and Beijing Agricultural University. Our staff also provides educational and advisory services to govern- mental agencies and organizations in other countries (notably in central and eastern Europe and Latin America), helping them to establish programs in support of sustainable agriculture. The headquarters office is in Los Angeles, and public policy activities are centered in the Washington, DC office.
WSAA is not a grant-making organization. Rather, we seek effective ways to help others obtain resources essential to their serving, and a voice in determining policies that shape their futures. WSAA is primarily an educational, advocacy and service organization, a catalyst for action, and a convener of organizations, agencies, and institutions to support the global paradigm shift toward a more sustainable agriculture.
The specific goals of WSAA are:
The US offices of WSAA include the world headquarters office near Los Angeles, California and an office in Washington, DC. On-going activities of the US offices include:
Public Policy: Appropriate public policies can accelerate a nation's progress toward a more sustainable agriculture. But perverse policies can have a seriously detrimental effect. We document the impacts of supportive versus antagonistic actions and policies of governments and private organizations. WSAA seeks opportunities to encourage policy makers in all countries to adopt policies that will promote the development and widespread adoption of more sustainable farming and food distribution systems.
The Washington DC office, as the primary focal point of WSAA efforts on public policy, performs analysis and formation of public policy, and advocacy for sustainable agriculture. This work includes policy analysis at various levels, from local case studies to national and global impacts.
WSAA encourages implementation of sustainable agriculture and food security provisions of Agenda 21, signed by national leaders in Rio at the Earth Summit. Efforts such as these require working with governments, NGOs, and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which was established by the United Nations to monitor progress toward global sustainability. Equally important is monitoring and encouraging enhancement of sustainable agriculture-related policies and programs of international credit and development institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Urban Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security: A primary goal is to help instill greater peace and harmony in urban communities by providing children and other urban dwellers with more opportunities to connect directly with Nature. In a new exploratory initiative, WSAA is seeking opportunities to help public and private organizations to strengthen and support household gardens, community gardens, and community supported agriculture (CSAs) in around urban areas, featuring small to moderate-scale family farms relying on sustainable (preferably organic) production methods. WSAA is now working with various public and private organizations in Los Angeles to discover promising alternative models that may be established and demonstrated.
Publication and Information Exchange: WSAA seeks to encourage and augment the efforts of various organizations (both governmental agencies and NGOs) by publicizing their activities. We are preparing a book describing sustainable agriculture programs and projects in many countries is being written. (Working title: For All Generations -- Making World Agriculture More Sustainable). Our quarterly newsletter reaches over 1,600 persons or organizations in 88 countries. We also publish an occasional paper series and various issues papers and reports. Several WSAA publications are being made widely available electronically through Internet and a home page on the World Wide Web.
Educational and Advisory Services: Our staff assists governmental agencies and other organizations in establishing programs in support of sustainable agriculture.
J. Patrick Madden, President
8554 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
March 28, 1996
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