The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute provides education, research on organic and biodynamic farming practices and technical assistance to help farmers revitalize their farms, and they help to shape public policy towards the same objective. MFAI has four main projects. The first is a program to develop a healthy regional food system. They are attempting to do this by working with all parts of the food system from building supply with farmers, demand from buyers, including individual consumers, restaurants, and institutions, and creating the necessary infrastructure. The second initiative is concerned with public policy on sustainable agriculture. The MFAI works to preserve and increase funding for sustainable agriculture projects and they work to keep government programs in place that support sustainable farming practices. A third project is focused on sustainable agriculture practices; currently this is focused on corn breeding and the “Organic Matter Budgeter”. The fourth initiative is the education of grain and livestock producers, agriculture professionals and beginning farmers. MFAI has outdoor demonstration plots where practices can be observed and taught. Some of the underlying values of the organization are that freedom and democracy are tied to the farming culture and this culture is lost with the loss of farmers. They also believe that humans’ existence depends on the ability to cultivate our own food. Another value is that humans need a food system that does not use a disproportionate number of non-renewable resources, relies on practices that can be sustained for generations. Finally, the organization feels that collaborations with other organizations are vital.
MFAI mission statement: “Our mission is to cultivate the ecological, social, economic, and spiritual vitality of food and farming systems through education, research, policy and market development.”Posted by at November 9, 2005 6:54 PM