To a large extent, the potential of modern organic farming has not been realized; however, the organic and local food markets are rapidly approaching a tipping point.
The growth of organic farming has been propelled by the actions of consumers as well as by smaller, independent farmers. The rise in consumer interest in organic goods was a driving force behind the development of the organic movement.
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In the 1980s, agricultural and consumer advocacy groups in a variety of countries around the world started applying serious pressure on governments to regulate organic production.
The organic and so-called natural food industries were thrust into the spotlight when the federal government took the first baby steps toward regulating these industries.
Late in 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at long last published a first proposed draft of national organic standards. When, in the year 2000, for the very first time, more organic food was sold in conventional supermarkets than in farmers’ markets or food cooperatives, it became abundantly clear that the trend was gaining momentum and would continue to do so. The initial objective of the regulation was to provide a definition of organic and to make suggestions regarding the standards that should be used to define organic foods.
Organic farming, in contrast to other forms of sustainable agriculture, adheres to a set of universal standards that are legally enforceable in order to protect the environment, the well-being of animals, and human health.
Organic farming as it is practiced today, the current trend
At the moment, all farmers and processors of food, including organic farmers and processors, are obligated to comply with local, state, and federal health standards.
The organic label can now be trusted by customers because national standards for organic food production have been developed and implemented to a sufficient degree.
Several states in the United States have enacted their very own regulations governing organic produce. In 1990, the state of Iowa enacted Chapter 190, which established penalties for farmers and manufacturers who fraudulently label their products as organic.
The fact that organic food only accounts for one percent of total food sales does not escape the notice of consumers, as approximately seventy percent of people now purchase organic food at least occasionally.
The organic movement is a global one, and as of now, there are 108 countries in which agriculture that is certified as organic is being produced and exported.