|The Growth of Organics
The Organic Trade Association
The U.S. organic industry was valued at nearly $29 billion in 2010
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The organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8% in 2010, bucking the current trend whereby "flat is the new growth" for many other segments of the economy. Furthermore, some sectors of the organic market enjoyed annual growth of well over 30%, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) revealed recently in releasing findings from its 2011 Organic Industry Survey.
In 2010, the organic industry grew to over $28.6 billion. "While total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1% in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%," said Christine Bushway, OTA's CEO and Executive Director. According to Bushway, consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods.
The good news is that even as the economic recovery crawls forward, the organic industry is thriving-and also hiring. In 2010, 40% of surveyed organic companies reported positive full-time employment growth. Companies with fewer than five employees were least likely to add full-time employees (23%). About half of companies with more than 50 employees experienced positive full-time employment growth. What's more, in 2011, 46% of respondents anticipate an increase in employment over 2010 levels. In addition, 50% expect employment to remain even, and only 5% foresee a decrease.
Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7% of total organic food value, and nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8% from 2009 performance. Organic dairy, the second-largest category, experienced 9% growth to achieve a value of $3.9 billion, and captured nearly 6% of the total U.S. market for dairy products.
In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led, with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4% growth over 2009 figures. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled a value of $605 million, achieving 16% year-over-year growth. Personal care products, at $490 million, increased 6.6% from 2009.
This information comes on the heels of three independent studies recently published which found that children whose mothers are exposed to common agricultural pesticides are more likely to experience a range of deleterious effects in their cognitive development, including lower IQ, as well as impaired reasoning and memory. Organic agriculture prohibits the use of these pesticides, and all other toxic and persistent chemicals.
Reprinted with permission from The Organic Trade Association.
The OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the U.S., representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. valued at nearly $29 billion in 2010. The 63-page Organic Industry Survey is now available for purchase from the OTA. For more info visit www.ota.com
The Non-GMO Project
The Wisdom of Organic Agriculture
The Organic Factor
Organic Wine: The Way Nature Intended
Organic Manifesto by Maria Rodale
Rebuilding Your Local Food Chain by Michael Pollan
Jeffrey Smith on the dangers of genetic engineering in our food supply
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