Become a Member


Interested in Joining NSAC?

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a coalition of organizations.  We encourage individual farmers and advocates to join an NSAC member organization in their state. Individuals may also sign up for NSAC Action Alerts and the Weekly Roundup, our free emails with news and action opportunities, by using the sign-up form on the left sidebar.

We start all membership inquiries with a friendly phone call to get to know your organization and share our process with you. Before this call, please familiarize yourself with the membership information on this page. If your organization is interested in learning more about membership and/or starting the membership application process, please contact Sarah Hackney, Grassroots Director.

NSAC staff and members at our summer 2011 member meeting in Portland, OR.

NSAC member organizations invest time and effort in policy development, advocacy, and outreach to the grassroots. While prospective members of NSAC do not need to have a major focus on federal farm policy or a designated policy staff, members do need to be committed to engaging in our policy work to the best of their abilities. NSAC is dedicated to increasing the capacity of its member organizations so that they become more powerful and effective at bringing grassroots voices to bear on federal farm and food policy-making.

Benefits of membership in NSAC include an opportunity to be represented in Washington, DC by a team of dedicated and experienced policy analysts and advocates, timely information on the latest federal farm and food policy news, and the opportunity to develop and engage in grassroots campaign efforts with the coalition. NSAC members benefit from interacting and sharing strategies and information with fellow grassroots family farm, conservation, and good food organizations from around the country.

NSAC has three categories of membership:  Represented, Participating, and Ally. Download this comparison chart to help determine the difference between membership levels and gauge which level is a fit for your organization.

Represented Members

Represented Members are represented by NSAC before Congress and other government agencies on Capitol Hill and are listed on all NSAC communications to federal policymakers and the general public.  Represented Members each have one seat on the NSAC Policy Council and participate in at least one NSAC Issue Committee.  Represented Members also help elect the NSAC Organizational Council.

Participating Members

Participating Members are members who prefer to not be represented by NSAC before Congress, but who wish to participate in NSAC gatherings, NSAC Issue Committees, and other NSAC activities.  Participating Members may also serve on the Organizational Council and the Grassroots Council.

Ally Members

Ally Members are members who are committed to sustainable agriculture and food systems but engage in federal policy in a limited capacity, or overlap with a limited number of policies that NSAC works on. Ally Members do not regularly participate in NSAC Issue Committees but support NSAC grassroots efforts and help groundtruth the coalition’s work.


All NSAC members must:

(a) Have a major commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems.
(b) Work with, or act in support of, farmers or ranchers in some manner.
(c) Distribute and respond to grassroots action alerts relevant to their constituency, or commit to working to develop the capacity to do so (unless prohibited from doing so by internal rules).
(d) Attend NSAC gatherings to the best of their ability.
(e) Demonstrate good will toward other member organizations and be willing to work out differences.
(f) Affiliate with a regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Group or some other regional Affiliated Regional Program if appropriate for the organization.
(g) Pay NSAC annual membership dues.
(h) Place a link to NSAC’s website on their website, and have their website linked on NSAC’s website.

In addition, in order to be approved as a Represented Member of NSAC, the prospective member must:

(a) Be a non-profit, non-governmental organization (and not a multi-organization coalition, network, or alliance, unless approved by the Organizational Council) and approved by a two-thirds majority of the Policy Council.
(b) Be in substantial agreement with existing policy positions of NSAC.
(c) Be willing to have its name listed as a member organization on written and oral policy communications to Congress and the Administration and to be recognized as being represented by NSAC staff on NSAC issues.
(d) Have at least one representative who participates regularly in at least one Issue Committee.
(e) Designate an organizational representative to the Policy Council.
(f) If required by the Organizational Council, enter into a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with NSAC regarding direct and grassroots advocacy to ensure maximum coordination and to minimize potential conflicts.

In addition, order to be approved as a Participating Member of NSAC, the prospective member must:

(a) Be a non-profit organization, for-profit business or organization, or a public or academic entity.
(b) Be entitled to sign onto particular advocacy documents (sign-on letters, policy option papers, etc.) on an ad hoc basis as such opportunities may occasionally arise.
(c) Participate in one or more Issue Committees.
(d) Be entitled to vote in Organizational Council elections.
(e) Be entitled to participate in discussions about policies and priorities.

In order to be approved as an NSAC Ally Member, the prospective member shall:

(a) Have a major commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems.
(b) Work directly with, or in support of farmers or ranchers
(c) Be a non-profit organization, for-profit business or organization, or a public or academic entity.
(d) Be entitled to sign onto particular advocacy documents (sign-on letters, policy option papers, etc.) on an ad hoc basis as such opportunities may occasionally arise.
(e) Participate via regularly scheduled conference calls and other forms of communications and dialogue designed expressly for allies.
(f) Pay the NSAC annual allied organization dues as established by the Organizational Council.

Affiliated Regional Programs

Regional sustainable agriculture coalitions, including but not limited to the regional Sustainable Agriculture Working Groups, may  join NSAC as regional programs to facilitate the interaction between their regional program and NSAC with respect to policy development, education, and outreach activities.