10 Organic Farming Trends that Can Make Your Life Better

Healthier food, cleaner water, fewer chemicals…your food choices can protect you and the planet from all sorts of threats.

December 16, 2010

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Despite a stagnant economy, consumers are saying "Yes!" to organic more than ever. In fact, a recent Organic Trade Association report found that compared to last year, 41 percent more people are opting for organic rather than chemical food, even in this cash-strapped economy. But why? Part of the reason is that the health issues related to cheap food produced in antibiotic-ridden dairies and on antibiotic-loaded factory farms, as well as pesticide-laced produce, have captured the attention of mainstream consumers. Given the fact that these chemicals are linked to cancer, hormone-disruption, diabetes, ADHD, and obesity, it's no wonder more people are looking to organic food similar to that grown by ancestors before the chemical revolution.

Last December, Compass Natural, an organic trends tracking firm, listed these top organic trends:

Top Trends in Sustainable Agriculture

1: Budgeting for Organic

2. Concern over Chemicals

3. Seeking Sustainable Packaging

4. Digging In to Organic Gardening and Urban Agriculture

5. Betting on Slow Money

6. Standing up for Animal Rights

7. Rejecting GMOs

8. Young Organic Farmers

9. Looking for Local and Fair Trade

10. Understanding the True Cost of Food

1. Budgeting for Organic During Penny-Pinching Times: While the economy remains stagnant, consumers are nevertheless embracing organic more than ever. In 2010, more than 40 percent of parents reported buying more organic foods today than they did a year ago, up more than 30 percent from 2009, according to the U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2010 tracking study. With increased demand comes increased acreage for organic agriculture, which protects the water and soil of neighbors. Between 2002 and 2008, the average acreage certified organic rose by 15 percent compared to last year. Generic-label organic products and direct farmer-to-consumer sales help keep organic food costs down for consumers.

How to tap into the trend: Look to sign up for a CSA, known as community-supported agriculture program, today. Consumers typically receive 10 to 20 percent off when they pay for a season's worth of produce the winter before a harvest, which is comparable to the discounts given in food manufacturer coupons.