CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE (CRL) is a membership-based organization dedicated to applying the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church to the American countryside. Based in St. Paul, Minn., CRL is committed to addressing the challenges facing family farms and rural communities, both in the U.S. and around the world. CRL advocates for ecological stewardship consistent with the Catholic understanding of the created order, and promotes ethical policies and practices in all aspects of food production and distribution. Jim Ennis is the executive director.


The International Catholic Rural Association (ICRA) is made-up of national Catholic rural-life organizations from all six continents. ICRA exists to promote an awareness of the intersection between Catholic teaching and rural issues. Based in Rome, ICRA works closely with related organizations and efforts within the Catholic Church. Jim Ennis is ICRA’s president.


Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers, ranchers, rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization and membership is open to farmers and non-farmers. Doug Peterson is the organization’s current president.

Wisconsin Farmers Union is a member-driven organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities, and all people through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors, and civic engagement. Darin VonRuden is president.

North Dakota Farmers Union, guided by the principles of cooperation, legislation, and education, is an organization committed to the prosperity of family farms, ranches, and rural communities. Mark Watne is the organization’s ninth and current president.

South Dakota Farmers Union works to promote the interests of farmers and ranchers and their families—from a nation, state and local perspective. The organization achieves this goal by working in a variety of legislative and program-based initiatives. Doug Sombke is president.

Montana Farmers Union is a grassroots organization working for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through by providing educational opportunities, as well as legislative representation and support for producer-owned co-ops. Alan Merrill is president.


The Center for Catholic Studies is an academic community within the University of St. Thomas, dedicated to the ongoing renewal of Catholic higher education. The Center is also home to the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, as well as the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. The University of St. Thomas is a Catholic, comprehensive university that fosters a tradition of service to the public and an energetic, thoughtful approach to the challenges of contemporary life. The St. Paul campus was the site of the Faith, Food & the Environment symposium.


Based in the Vatican, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is an organization within the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to action-oriented studies for the international promotion of justice, peace and human rights. To this end, it cooperates with various religious institutes and advocacy groups, as well as scholarly, ecumenical and international organizations. Under the leadership of current-president Cardinal Peter Turkson, the council has sought to address more explicitly those problems related to the environment and the responsible use of the Earth’s resources.