September is Organic Month! Behind every bite of organic food you eat, there’s an organic farmer, an organic pioneer, or an organic brand to thank. During Organic Month, we will be highlighting the science-backed health benefits of eating organic, the new demand for organic during the pandemic, and how to support the organic farmers, pioneers, and brands by voting with your wallet.
If you’re new to organic, let’s review the definition.
The USDA Organic seal indicates that food has been grown in tandem with nature. Organic farmers must look out for the health of humans, animals, and the environment by avoiding the use of harmful substances like toxic persistent pesticides. Organic is the only label that guarantees you are avoiding over 700 toxic chemicals used in conventional food production.
Organic vs. non-GMO
The other label you might see often is the non-GMO label. This infographic explains the differences between the two labels and why it is important to choose organic over non-GMO.
Organic can be healthier
Often when consumers are asked to look at what their food purchasing dollars are investing in, the focus is on the environment. But a significant body of research shows some organic foods are healthier than their conventional counterparts. For instance, science has found that organic foods are often more nutritious, higher in antioxidants, and omega-3. Click here to learn more about the health benefits of organic foods.
Organic sales are rising
Because of these science-backed studies, consumers are eating more organic food and using more organic products than ever before, according to the 2020 Organic Industry Survey recently released by the Organic Trade Association. The U.S. organic sector posted a banner year in 2019, with organic sales in the food and non-food markets totaling a record $55.1 billion, up a solid 5 percent from the previous year.
For the first half of 2020, organic fresh produce sales were up 11% in dollar growth and 13% in volume over the first six months of 2019, according to the Q2 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report released in June by the Organic Produce Network and Category Partners. Sales between April and June increased 17% and volume was up 18% over the same period in 2019. Total organic fresh produce sales between January and June totaled $3.3 billion, the report said. Second-quarter sales topped $1.7 billion.
Vote with your dollars and buy organic
When you hear about voting this year, it is primarily focused on the presidential election, but consumers are also voting with their wallet – for more organic food. In fact, even our most ordinary purchases, like for food, cast a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. A vote for organic is also a vote for a cleaner planet, climate change mitigation, higher wages for farmers and farmworkers, fewer chemicals in the environment, and many other issues.
The more consumers support the organic industry, the bigger the impact of their combined spending, so that it benefits many other areas within the food industry and the agricultural system as a whole. Those purchases help strengthen the organic industry, which in turn helps builds a healthier agricultural system and allows for the production of healthier foods. Purchasing organic takes money out of the conventional system of large farming and chemical production. The more organic food consumers buy at the grocery store, the faster the organic sector will grow to meet that demand. Learn more about voting with your wallet for organic here.
Here are some other ways to support organic:
- Check out, organic farmers. Earlier this year we highlighted some of our favorite organic farmers in an interview series. Here are a few of those interviews here:
- Organic farmers Anna and Doug Crabtree of Vilicus Farms.
- Organic farmers Myles and Rhonda Miller Goodrich of Molly Brook Farms.
- Organic farmer Bryce Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms.
- Look into local sources of organic. If you’re looking to support organic farmers, we have a list of resources that will help you locate community-supported agriculture, farm stands, and farmer’s markets here.
- Spread the word about organic. Organic Month reminds us of the importance of choosing food that’s healthier for everyone. As a fun challenge, we suggest you introduce one friend to the importance of organic by sharing this blog with them.
- Take a deeper dive into the work we’re doing at Only Organic by visiting our blog here.
Make every month organic month by choosing certified organic food today!