Press Releases and Announcements

Improved Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) Web Site Makes It Easier for Growers, Researchers, and Gardeners to Find Information

July 19, 2006 National Agricultural Library

BELTSVILLE, MD, July 19, 2006- The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) at USDA's National Agricultural Library (NAL) has launched a redesigned Web site bearing several significant enhancements to make it easier to find information on a wide range of agriculture-related subjects, including sustainable agriculture, alternative crops, organic farming, and farm energy.

The AFSIC Web site is now easier to navigate and find topics of interest, including grazing systems and alternative livestock breeds, alternative marketing, and business practices and ecological pest management. Users will find it easier to get to popular resources such as publications on sustainable agriculture, a database on community supported agriculture, and guidance for applying for a SARE grant. The latest edition of the popular Education and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture is also available on the AFSIC Web site.

The Organic Roots database can also be accessed from the new AFSIC Web site, providing growers and researchers access to USDA's documents on organic agriculture which were published before 1942 (before synthetic chemicals became widely used). These documents contain state-of-the-art information and data that is still very pertinent for today's agriculture. Access to this data is intended to provide growers with new ideas on crop production without chemicals, as well as help researchers conserve scarce resources by avoiding unintended duplication.

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center is one of eight Information Centers at the National Agricultural Library, and is supported in part by the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program and National Organic Program (NOP). AFSIC also works closely with the University of Maryland College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the Maryland Cooperative Extension in the implementation of several projects.

The redesign of this Web site implements USDA Web standards and meets U.S. Office of Management and Budget guidelines for focusing on customer needs. For more information, visit the new AFSIC Web site at