The potential of modern organic farming is thus largely unrealized, but organic and local food markets are reaching a tipping point.
The rise of organic farming has been driven by small, independent producers, and by consumers. The organic movement has developed in response to a growing demand for organic products.
In the 1980s around the world, various farming and consumer groups began seriously pressuring for government regulation of organic production.
The federal government began taking the first steps toward regulating organic, and so-called natural foods.
In late 1999, the USDA finally issued a first proposed draft of national organic standards. It was obvious the trend was growing in 2000, when for the first time more organic food was sold in conventional supermarkets than in farmers markets or food cooperatives. The first goal for regulation was to define organic and suggest standards to define organic foods.
Unlike other forms of sustainable farming, organic farming has common standards which are legally enforced and which ensure environmental, animal welfare, and health benefits.
Currently all food producers, including organic farmers and processors, must comply with local, state and federal health standards.
National standards for organic food production are now well established and consumers can be confident in the organic label.
Some US States passed their own laws regarding organic produce. Iowa passed Chapter 190 in 1990, and established penalties for producers falsely identifying their products as organic.
This is not lost on consumers and about 70 per cent of people now buy organic food at least occasionally, although it only accounts for 1 per cent of food sales.
The organic effort is global and in 108 countries, there is certified organic agriculture that’s being produced and exported.