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Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Coronavirus and USDA Service Centers - Committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the COVID-19, or new coronavirus, outbreak.

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) specializes in identifying resources for food systems and practices that support the United States Department of Agriculture's effort to ensure a sustainable future for agriculture and farmers worldwide.

Old country store building

Farm Marketing Options

Find marketing strategies, direct marketing ideas, and expertise to make your farm a success.

Organic Roots Collection

Organic Roots Collection

Search our online collection of historic documents published before 1942 – a time before synthetic chemicals became widely used.

Yellow tulips ((Copyright IStock)

Local Foods and Communities

Learn about local foods, community gardening, urban agriculture and more. Find food and farms near you.

Sustainable Agriculture Education Directory

Sustainable Agriculture Education Directory

Find academic and training programs in organic, sustainable, or alternative agriculture.

Growing Alternative or Specialty Crops and Plants

Growing Alternative or Specialty Crops and Plants

Learn about floral, forest, heirloom, herb, nursery, nut, and other specialty crops or products.

Pioneers in Sustainable Agriculture

Pioneers in Sustainable Agriculture

Interviews with Leaders in Alternative and Sustainable Agriculture

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Searching for Farm or Research Funding?

A variety of Federal, state and local agencies and non-governmental organizations have agricultural funding programs for beginning and experienced farmers, researchers, local governments, and others who meet program qualifications.

Start your search here to explore and research funding options that match your needs, locate reference guides and tools, and identify contacts for assistance.

Learn more about Small Farm Funding and Business.

AFSIC History Timeline

AFSIC, founded in 1985, is an integral part of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center was one of the first USDA programs to focus on sustainable and organic agriculture and produced many groundbreaking publications that enabled researchers, educators and producers to access previously difficult-to-find research, literature and expertise.  More...

History of Organic Agriculture
Trace the origins of the organic agriculture movement through historic publications and reports, oral histories, video archives, USDA legislation and regulations, and other published resources.  More...

Organic Roots Collection
AFSIC's Organic Roots Digital Collection is an electronic collection of historic USDA documents published before 1942 (before synthetic chemicals became widely used) that contain information and data that is still pertinent for today's agriculture.  More...

Definitions and History of Sustainable Agriculture
The USDA has defined sustainable agriculture - but underlying the definition are diverse and sometimes controversial views of sustainability. Explore a variety of approaches and practices, current and past, to appreciate where agriculture is going in the future.  More...

Tracing the Evolution of Organic / Sustainable Agriculture
Discover the philosophical and scientific roots of sustainable, regenerative agriculture through readings dating from the 1500s.  More...

Mailboxes, Mom and Pop Stands, and Markets
View the National Agricultural Library's "Local Foods Then and Now Digital Exhibit."  More...

We feature current and historical videos from the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center and others that explore sustainable, organic, natural or alternative agricultural production.

Videos also highlight agricultural funding sources, aquaculture, and beekeeping.   Select a video here...

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