National Sustainable Agriculture Oral History Archive

This Archive is a work in progress led by Ron Kroese, Garden Avenue Associates and Senior Fellow in the Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota.

The first round of interviews was published in April 2017. More are underway to capture a greater diversity of memories and viewpoints.

U of MN Media Archive - Complete Collection of Interviews

Individual Interviews:

Photo of Bob Bergland


Bob Bergland

Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Photo of Roger Blobaum


Roger Blobaum

Organic Farming & Food Policy Advocate, Educator

Photo of George Boody


George Boody

Science & Special Projects Leader, Land Stewardship Project

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Don Bustos

Farmer; Co-Founder, National Immigrant Farming Initiative

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Denny Caneff

Sustainable Farming, Healthy Rivers Advocate

Photo of Kate Clancy


Kate Clancy

Food Systems Consultant, Visiting Scholar at the Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

Photo of Ken Cook


Ken Cook

President and co-founder, Environmental Working Group

Photo of Craig Cox


Craig Cox

Vice President, Environmental Working Group

Photo of Bob Gray


Bob Gray

Washington DC Rep, National Center for Appropriate Technology

Photo of Chuck Hassebrook


Chuck Hassebrook

Former Executive Director, Center for Rural Affairs

Photo of Ferd Hoefner


Ferd Hoefner

Founder and Federal Policy Advocate, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Photo of Wes Jackson


Wes Jackson

President Emeritus, The Land Institute

Photo of Loni Kemp and Dana Jackson


Loni Kemp and
Dana Jackson

Kemp, Federal and State Policy Advocate; Jackson, Senior Advisor, Land Stewardship Project

Photo of Margaret Krome


Margaret Krome

Policy Director, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

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Mark Lipson

Research Associate in Organic Agriculture Policy, University of California, Santa Cruz

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Amy Little

Former Policy Director, NE Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

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Kathleen Merrigan

Director of Sustainability, George Washington University

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Lorette Picciano

Executive Director, Rural Coalition

Joyce Ford and Jim Riddle  

Jim Riddle, Joyce Ford, and Doug Nopar

Southeast Minnesota Farmers, Organic Farming & Food Advocates

Mark Ritchie  

Mark Ritchie

Former President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

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Roundtable Session 1

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Roundtable Session 2

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Roundtable Session 3

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Ricardo Salvador

Director, Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

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Mark Schultz

Executive Director, Land Stewardship Project

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Bob Scowcroft

Former Executive Director of Organic Farming Research Foundation

photo of Bob Scowcroft and Mark Lipson


Bob Scowcroft and Mark Lipson

Former Executive Director of Organic Farming Research Foundation (Scowcroft); and Research Associate in Organic Agriculture Policy, University of California, Santa Cruz (Lipson)

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Sister Mary Tacheny

Educator, Sustainable Farming Advocate, School Sisters of Notre Dame

photo of Bob Warrick


Bob Warrick

Former Agriculture Chair, Sierra Club

photo of Mark Winne


Mark Winne

Co-Founder, Community Food Security Coalition

photo of Garth Youngberg


Garth Youngberg

Former Executive Director, Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture

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Through a series of video-recorded interviews, this oral history project is documenting the formation and evolution of what today is known as the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), including the federal policy reforms NSAC and its allies have achieved over the last three decades.

Topics covered include:

    • The political and social context surrounding the formation in the early 1980s of what became NSAC

    • The evolution of NSAC from its early days as an informal network of grassroots organizations -- most of which were located in the Midwest, with Minnesota groups playing prominent roles -- to the more formal structure of regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups (SAWGs) in the 1990s, to the NSAC of today with its 120 organizations from around the country

    • A review of the policy gains that support organic and sustainable agriculture achieved through the past six Farm Bills

    • A discussion of where the efforts of sustainable agriculture advocates came up short, as well as an exploration of further policy changes needed to advance sustainable agriculture and a healthier food system

Ron Kroese, Garden Avenue Associates, and
Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems

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Related Resources:

National Agricultural Library: Oral Histories

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"Growing Right" Oral History Project in Ohio

Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association