Organic Trade Association highlights news that defied the old stereotypes this year
Many will remember 2011 for the continued economic troubles, the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election, and unprecedented political demonstrations around the world and in our own backyards. As the year draws to a close, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) examines several myths about organic agriculture that were “busted” this year by researchers, the media and shoppers.
Organic buyers are more likely to be Asian, African American, or Hispanic than non-buyers. They are more likely to report household incomes of $35,000 and higher. However, they are also more likely to be under 25 than non-buyers.
Hardly niche: 78% of consumers buy #organic in spite of economy.
Anyone who tells you organic farming can’t feed the world hasn’t seen the latest research from Iowa State University, where long term trials found that conventional and organic produced similar yields, while organic produced better profit, and resulted in better soil quality.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from several U.S. and international universities published a report in the Oct. 20, 2011, edition of Nature outlining solutions for a cultivated planet to meet growing food needs. They wrote, “To meet the world’s future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture’s environmental footprint must shrink dramatically.” They added, "Closing yield gaps without environmental degradation will require new approaches, including reforming conventional agriculture and adopting lessons from organic systems and precision agriculture."
This spring, three independent, government funded studies published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that children whose mothers were exposed to common agricultural pesticides are more likely to experience impaired or delayed cognitive development.
A study accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology conducted by scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre in Quebec, Canada, reports the presence of Bt toxin, widely used in GE crops, in human blood. The toxin was detected in 93 percent of maternal and 80 percent of fetal blood samples, as well as in the blood of 69 percent of non-pregnant women tested.
Organic is the only agricultural system that verifies, using certification and inspection, that toxic and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used at any point in the production process.
Forty percent of companies in the organic sector hired full-time employees in 2010. Forty-six percent of organic businesses anticipated hiring full-time employees in 2011 (Source: OTA’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey).