Organizations

There are many organizations doing great work on food issues, human rights, and/or workers’ rights. Here are some favorites:

  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:  This website collects information about alleged corporate abuses of human rights, and invites corporations to respond. Its coverage includes many issues related to the food system. You can sign up for its free weekly updates here.
  • California Institute for Rural Studies: created the Fair Food Project, an interesting multimedia project on the US food system.
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers: An organization that fights for the rights of workers who toil in Florida’s tomato fields. Its innovative efforts have succeeded in pressuring corporations to require better working conditions in their supply chains.
  • FIAN:  One of the preeminent international non-profits working on the right to food. Based in Europe with worldwide offices, it has been a crucial player in pushing the right to food forward.
  • Food & Water Watch: non-profit advocating for safe and sustainable food and water.
  • Food Chain Workers Alliance: An American coalition of worker-based organizations whose members labor in the food system, from farms to restaurants.
  • GRAIN: An international non-profit that supports small farmers and has been active in tracking large-scale land acquisitions around the world, particularly on its dedicated website.
  • Human Rights Watch: A leading international human rights organization (and my former employer), HRW has not done much work on the right to food, but has released multiple reports on human rights abuses against workers in the food system.
  • International Institute for Environment and Development: Its reports are crucial for understanding the legal implications of the global rush for land.
  • Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First: A US-based food justice organization that works on a range of issues related to hunger.
  • La Via Campesina: The international movement of peasant farmers and landless workers that created the concept of food sovereignty.
  • Right to Food India: This coalition leads one of the biggest right-to-food campaigns in the world, pushing for stronger legal entitlements to food in India.
  • ROC-NY: Based in New York, they broke new ground through large-scale organizing of restaurant workers in the United States.
  • Sikhula Sonke: A South African women-led union that revolutionized farmworker organizing in the Western Cape by focusing on women workers and seasonal workers.
  • WhyHunger: A US-based organization that works on domestic and international hunger issues.

And don’t miss two of the best UN-affiliated efforts on the right to food:

  • FAO Right to Food Unit: This division of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has authored numerous helpful documents on the right to food.
  • UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food: An independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, the Rapporteur examines whether countries are meeting their right-to-food obligations and issues reports on relevant thematic issues. (Full disclosure:  another former employer of mine.)