Description, Objectives and Scope
The Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN) is a think tank that positions organic agriculture and its related supply chains as a holistic, sustainable approach to the production of food and fiber for all of human society. Working together as an alliance of likeminded organizations, members can use the SOAAN’s outputs to jointly and individually impact the world’s practices around the production and consumption of agricultural products. Through these efforts, good organic production can become a real and significant institutional alternative to conventional agriculture and its related policies, and members of SOAAN can be seen as increasingly desirable partners.
- A list of SOAAN member organizations can be found by clicking here
- Learn about SOAAN's structure by clicking here, and see the people who are currently involved by clicking here
- A downloadable brochure about SOAAN is available here.
The scope of the SOAAN’s work encompasses all aspects of agricultural production and downstream product supply chains, centering around the products themselves, but also taking into consideration the infrastructure on which their production, distribution, and consumption depends. In addition to these ecological aspects, the human aspect of all of these interactions is taken into consideration. All together, SOAAN’s efforts reflect and respect the IFOAM Principles of Organic Agriculture.
Benefits and Beneficiaries of SOAAN's work
The organic movement sees the stewardship of the environment as the only long-term basis for sustainability, the core around which other principles of fairness and prosperity must be built. Some people may see organic as the “top,” but we say that it needs to be seen as the base, the foundation on which sound, sustainable systems are built. SOAAN will enable us to clearly identify the areas where Organic Agriculture is truly sustainable and the areas where we need to do more. It is important that Organic Agriculture is seen as continuously improving so that we continue to be seen as the leaders in sustainable agriculture.
In the initial phase of its existence – through December 2013 – SOAAN created the Best Practice Guideline for Agriculture and Value Chains, a reference document that sets the benchmark for what is involved with a comprehensive discussion of agriculture-based sustainability. As one of the Organic Landmarks, this document is intended to serve:
- As a foundational educational material for the dissemination of organic knowledge, research, and training;
- For planning, assessment, and related reporting mechanisms, whereby progress and achievement of sustainable practices may be evaluated and communicated; and
- As guidance for policy, strategy and research agenda setting.
Envisioning the longer-term
We conceive a diverse and rich network of supporters of the organic mission and movement, sharing common information and common tools across an open-source, practical platform that leads and pulls organic production to the mainstream of agriculture and value chains. It will foster innovation within the movement and make bridges to those still on the outside. SOAAN’s products are aimed at a wide range of beneficiaries, from farmers on the ground to top-level policy makers, from traders to researchers. We are designing the products of SOAAN’s work to be accessible from all positions within and around the value chain.
The vision of SOAAN is collaborative, transformative, and far-reaching. Working together as an alliance of likeminded organizations, members of the network can use the SOAAN’s outputs to jointly and individually impact the world’s practices around the production and consumption of agricultural products. Through these efforts, good organic production can come to be seen as a real and significant institutional alternative to conventional agriculture and its related policies, and members of SOAAN can be seen as increasingly desirable partners.
SOAAN's history and work plan can be viewed here