Sustainable Agriculture Program

Welcome to the era of food activism. More than ever before, how we farm and feed ourselves is how we change the world around us. Worldwatch Institute's Sustainable Agriculture Program highlights the benefits to farmers, consumers, and ecosystems that can flow from food systems that are flexible enough to deal with shifting weather patterns, productive enough to meet the needs of expanding populations, and accessible enough to support rural communities.

Nourishing the Planet blog


The program's major focus is on creating a roadmap for farmers, agribusiness, policymakers, international development agencies, private funders, and other agricultural decision-makers to guide them through such challenges as food price spikes, the collapse of major seafood sources, and the emergence and reemergence of animal diseases.

Food and Agriculture

While today's dominant farming systems produce food in abundance, this often carries the steep price of depleted soils, poisoned lands and waterways, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing poverty. When sustainably practiced, however, agriculture can nourish people and support rural livelihoods. It can also protect soils and water supplies and help communities cope with a changing climate.

As more and more people view what they eat as a way to change the world around them, farmers, agribusiness, chefs, parents, and other interested eaters can be harnessed as important allies in addressing hunger, climate change, and other global challenges.

Follow Nourishing the Planet and subscribe to Vital Signs Online for the latest from Worldwatch's food and agriculture research.


Sophie Wenzlau, Staff Researcher

Major Projects

Sustainable Agriculture Solutions to Hunger
We are currently chronicling agricultural innovations from Africa and around the world that reduce rural poverty and provide safe, nutritious food to the planet's nearly 1 billion hungry people, while also enhancing ecological sustainability. Read about the project and visit our blog.

Agriculture and Climate Change
Farming may be the human endeavor that is most dependent on a stable climate, and farmers are struggling to cope with more erratic weather, flooding and drought, and shifts in the lengths of growing seasons. But the food and agricultural community also represents an important ally in stabilizing the world's climate, by eating to reduce our "foodprint" and using farming methods that create "carbon sinks."

Farming in Cities
For the first time in human history, more than half of the world's people live in cities. From Accra to Beijing and from Mumbai to Rio, urban gardeners and livestock keepers are finding innovative ways to feed their cities.

Recent Publications

State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, (January 2011)

Red, White, and Green: Transforming U.S. Biofuels, Worldwatch Report 180 (July 2009)

Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use, Worldwatch Report 179 (June 2009)

Smart Choices for Biofuels, a report from the Sierra Club and Worldwatch Institute (February 2009)

Farming Fish for the Future, Worldwatch Report 176 (September 2008)

Meat and Seafood: The Most Costly Ingredients in the Global Diet in State of the World 2008, co-authored with Danielle Nierenberg.

Oceans in Peril: Protecting Marine Biodiversity, Worldwatch Report 174 (September 2007).

"Farming the Cities" in State of the World 2007, co-authored with Danielle Nierenberg.

"Can Organic Farming Feed Us All?" World Watch, May/June 2006.

Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry, Worldwatch Paper 171 (September 2005).

Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004).

Additional Resources

World Watch magazine

Vital Signs Online - Food and Agriculture Trends

Archive Food Blog

Worldwatch Bookstore


Ecoagriculture Partners

Heifer International

Slow Food USA

Edible Communities

To stay up-to-date on the latest sustainable agriculture program news and analysis, please check out our blog or subscribe to our RSS feed.