Organic movement

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Organic tomatoes

The organic movement broadly refers to the organizations and individuals involved worldwide in the promotion of organic food and other organic products. It started during the first half of the 20th century, when modern large-scale agricultural practices began to appear.[ citation needed ]



An organic product can broadly be described as not containing toxic chemicals (including synthetic pesticides, arsenic-containing herbicides, fertilization biosolids, which are often found to contain flame retardants and drugs among other things, chemical food additives, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and industrial solvents). In addition to the absence of artificial chemicals, "organic" means not genetically engineered, and having not used ionizing irradiation, [1] which can cause free-radicals and the removal of vitamins.[ citation needed ] For example, USDA organic attempts to restrict against such things including genetic engineering in products or in the products' animal feed, [2] [3] [4] and automatically allows the use of "Non-GMO" labelling similar to The Non-GMO Project. [5]



The organic movement began in the early 1900s in response to the shift towards synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides in the early days of industrial agriculture. A relatively small group of farmers came together in various associations: Demeter International of Germany, which encouraged biodynamic farming and began the first certification program, the Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society, [6] the Soil Association of the United Kingdom, and Rodale Press in the United States, along with others. In 1972 these organizations joined to form the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). In recent years, environmental awareness has driven demand and conversion to organic farming. Some governments, including the European Union, have begun to support organic farming through agricultural subsidy reform. Organic production and marketing have grown at a fast pace.

Historians consider Albert Howard, Viscount Lymington, Robert McCarrison, Edgar J. Saxon and Frank Newman Turner as pioneers of the organic movement in Britain, [7] [8] [9] and the term "organic farming" was coined by Lord Northbourne in 1940. [10]

Today, organic foods stores have captured a significant share of the grocery shopping market, specifically, Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats, Trader joe's and others.


Organic food

Specifications for what may be classified as organic food may vary by location. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance the quality of the environment. [13] Organic poultry and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, bioengineering, and ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic", a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it reaches supermarkets and restaurants must be certified as well.

Organic companies

The recent interest in the organic industry has sparked the interest of many businesses from small local distributors to large companies that distribute many products nationally. The organic market is now a 14 billion dollar a year industry, that continues to grow especially from large corporations such as Wal-Mart that are now offering organic choices to their customers. [14] Other companies that offer organic options include General Mills and Kraft. Some large companies have bought smaller already established organic companies such as Earth’s Best, Rice Dream soy milk, Garden of Eatin', Celestial Seasonings and Health Valley. When larger companies buy smaller companies it is called stealth ownership. [15]

Organic cosmetics

Organic cosmetics are products that are made with organic ingredients that were produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers.

The FDA does not have a definition of “Organic” in terms of organic cosmetics. FDA regulates cosmetics under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).

The USDA (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) requirements for the use of the term “organic” are separate from the laws and regulations that FDA applies for cosmetics. For more information on "organic" labeling for cosmetics, see the NOP publication, "Cosmetics, Body Care Products, and Personal Care Products." Cosmetic products labeled with “organic” must follow both USDA regulations and FDA regulations of organic claims for labeling and safety requirements for cosmetics.

The Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA supervises the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP regulations have the definition of “organic” and provide certification for agricultural ingredients if they have been produced under conditions that would meet the definition. Moreover, the regulations also include labeling standards based on the percentage of organic ingredients in every product. [16]

The COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard (COSMOS) sets certification requirements for organic and natural cosmetics products in Europe. [17]

Organic farming

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control.


There have been multiple criticisms regarding organic food and organic marketing practices. Scientists at the University of Washington did a test of the urine of children who are on organic food diets and children who are on conventional food diets. The result was children on organic food diets ‘ urine had a median level of pesticide byproducts only one-sixth of children on conventional food diets. However, at the same time French, British and Swedish government food agencies have all concluded that there was no scientific proof that organic food is safer or has more nutrition than conventional foods. [18]

A 2014 study by a non-profit academic think tank alleged consumers are "routinely deceived" by intentional and endemic misleading health claims in organic marketing. [19] Organic products typically cost 10% to 40% more than similar conventionally produced products. [20] According to the UK's Food Standards Agency, "Consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food. However, the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view." [21] A 12-month systematic review commissioned by the FSA in 2009 and conducted at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine based on 50 years' worth of collected evidence concluded that "there is no good evidence that consumption of organic food is beneficial to health in relation to nutrient content." [22] Although the source of the organic movement was small family farms, large corporations have started distributing more organic products and certain categories of organic foods, such as milk, have been reported by Michael Pollan to be highly concentrated and predominantly sourced to mega-farms. [23]

See also


  1. Allen, Gary J.; Albala, Ken, eds. (2007). The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries. ABC-CLIO. p. 288. ISBN   978-0-313-33725-3.
  2. "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR)". Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR). 5 November 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-08.
  3. "Can GMOs Be Used in Organic Products? | Agricultural Marketing Service". 1 May 2013. Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  4. McEvoy, Miles (21 February 2017). "Organic 101: Can GMOs Be Used in Organic Products?". Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  5. McEvoy, Miles (21 February 2017). "New Allowances for Including a "Non-GMO" Statement on Certified Organic Meat and Poultry Products". Retrieved 2020-11-07.
  6. Paull, John "The Lost History of Organic Farming in Australia", Journal of Organic Systems, 2008, 3(2):2-17.
  7. Conford, Philip (1998). "A Forum for Organic Husbandry: The "New English Weekly" and Agricultural Policy, 1939–1949". Agricultural History Review . 46 (2): 197–210.
  8. Conford, Philip (2002). "The Myth of Neglect: Responses to the Early Organic Movement, 1930-1950". Agricultural History Review . 50 (1): 80–106.
  9. Lockeretz, William. (2018). Organic Farming: An International History. CABI. pp. 24-25. ISBN   978-0-85199-833-6
  10. Paull, John Lord Northbourne, the man who invented organic farming, a biography. Journal of Organic Systems, 2014, 9(1), 31-53.
  11. Paull, John (2011) "Attending the First Organic Agriculture Course: Rudolf Steiner’s Agriculture Course at Koberwitz, 1924", European Journal of Social Sciences, 21(1):64-70.
  12. 1 2 Paull, John (2013) "The Rachel Carson Letters and the Making of Silent Spring", SAGE Open, 3 (July), pp. 1-12.
  13. “Introduction to Organic Practices.” Introduction to Organic Practices | Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA,
  14. Clark, Georgia. "The New Horizon for Organics: A Market Outlook of the Effects of Wal-Mart on the International Organic Market". June 2007
  15. Kleppel, Gary; Ikerd, John (2014-07-22). The Emergent Agriculture: Farming, Sustainability and the Return of the Local Economy. New Society Publishers. ISBN   9780865717732.
  17. Alex, Cosper. "Understanding COSMOS - the COSMetics organic and natural standard". Desjardin. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  18. Jan, Grover; Singer, Peter; Mason, Jim (2008). FOOD. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. pp.  170–171. ISBN   978-0737737943.
  19. Organics Exposed (Academics Review Organic Marketing Report 2014), by Steve Kopperud, Brownfield News, May 2, 2014.
  20. Winter, CK and SF Davis, 2006 "Organic Foods" Journal of Food Science 71(9):R117–R124.
  21. The Food Standards Agency’s Current Stance Archived March 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  22. Sophie Goodchild (2009-07-29). "Organic food 'no healthier' blow". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  23. Naturally, by Michael Pollan, The New York Times Magazine, May 13, 2001.

Related Research Articles

Organic farming Method of agriculture meant to be environmentally friendly

Organic farming is an agricultural system which originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. Certified organic agriculture accounts for 70 million hectares globally, with over half of that total in Australia. Organic farming continues to be developed by various organizations today. It is defined by the use of fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged. Organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. For instance, naturally occurring pesticides such as pyrethrin and rotenone are permitted, while synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are generally prohibited. Synthetic substances that are allowed include, for example, copper sulfate, elemental sulfur and Ivermectin. Genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry are prohibited. Organic farming advocates claim advantages in sustainability, openness, self-sufficiency, autonomy/independence, health, food security, and food safety.

Outline of organic gardening and farming Overview of and topical guide to organic gardening and farming

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to organic gardening and farming:

Organic certification

Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. A lesser known counterpart is certification for organic textiles that includes certification of textile products made from organically grown fibres.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements is the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic agriculture movement, which represents close to 800 affiliates in 117 countries.

Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.

National Organic Program

The National Organic Program (NOP) is the federal regulatory framework in the United States of America governing organic food. It is also the name of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) program responsible for administering and enforcing the regulatory framework. The core mission of the NOP is to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal. The seal is used for products adhering to USDA standards that contain at least 95% organic ingredients.

Quality Assurance International (QAI) is a U.S.-based international organic certification company that is authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as "a USDA-accredited certifying agent that operates globally to certify organic operations to National Organic Program standards." It is a for-profit corporation, established in 1989, and headquartered in San Diego, California. It is one of the world's largest certifiers, operating in the United States, Canada, Latin America, European Union, and Japan. It is owned by public health and environmental organization NSF International.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture, and has programs in five commodity areas: cotton and tobacco; dairy; fruit and vegetable; livestock and seed; and poultry. These programs provide testing, standardization, grading and market news services for those commodities, and oversee marketing agreements and orders, administer research and promotion programs, and purchase commodities for federal food programs. The AMS enforces certain federal laws such as the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and the Federal Seed Act. The AMS budget is $1.2 billion. It is headquartered in the Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington, D.C.

Demeter International

Demeter International is the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture, and is one of three predominant organic certifiers. Its name is a reference to Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and fertility. Demeter Biodynamic Certification is used in over 50 countries to verify that biodynamic products meet international standards in production and processing. The Demeter certification program was established in 1928, and as such was the first ecological label for organically produced foods.

Natural food

Natural food and all-natural food are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, often to imply foods that are not ultra-processed. In some countries like the United Kingdom, the term "natural" is defined and enforced; in others, such as the United States, it is not enforced although there is for example USDA enforcement of organic labelling.

An organic product is made from materials produced by organic agriculture. There are different types of organic products. However organic product is more known for food items like organic grocery, organic vegetables, organic certified food etc. Most appropriately organic products can be explained as any products that is made or cultivated organically should be treated as an organic product. Most of the country has very strict food safety and security guidelines to protect consumers from consuming harmful products. Most of the country has its own standard to define products as organic. USA uses USDA certification - NOP National Organic Program to defined a cultivated products as organic.Indian Organic - NPOP. According to USDA, in order for a product to be considered organic, organic standards must be met. Operations involving these organic products must be "protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances."

History of organic farming

Traditional farming was the original type of agriculture, and has been practiced for thousands of years. All traditional farming is now considered to be "organic farming" although at the time there were no known inorganic methods. For example, forest gardening, a fully organic food production system which dates from prehistoric times, is thought to be the world's oldest and most resilient agroecosystem. After the industrial revolution had introduced inorganic methods, most of which were not well developed and had serious side effects. An organic movement began in the 1940s as a reaction to agriculture's growing reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The history of this modern revival of organic farming dates back to the first half of the 20th century at a time when there was a growing reliance on these new synthetic, non-organic methods.

China Green Food Development Center

The China Green Food Development Center is the first agency in the People's Republic of China to oversee organic food standards. The Center was established in November 1992 under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China. The CGFDC joined the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements(IFOAM)in 1993. It is headquartered in Beijing, where its general office and divisions of logo management, authentication, sci-tech and standards, planning and finance, and international cooperation are located. Currently, the CGFDC has set up 42 local food regulatory agencies, commissioned 38 quality inspection agencies, and 71 green food producing environmental monitoring branches. Its basic purpose is to promote the development of food that prioritizes safety, to protect the environment, and to maintain the development of economy and society. Its main responsibilities include: developing Green Food generation policies; regulating organizations that develop green food standards; organizing and guiding the development and management of Green Food; trademark green logo management; review and approval of green flag products; and organizing research, technology promotion, training, advocacy, information services, green building demonstration bases, and foreign economic and technological exchanges and cooperation. The CGFDC's main partners consist of China Organic Food Certification Center, State Food and Nutrition Consultant Committee, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Development Research Center of the State Council as well as some media networks as supporters. It has published reports including the " Green Food Products Bulletin","Green Fashion", and "Brief Report of the Center."

Organic egg production

Organic egg production is the production of eggs through organic means. In this process, the poultry are fed organic feed. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, organic means that the laying hens must have access to the outdoors and cannot be raised in cages. Only natural molting can occur within the flock; forced molting is not allowed. Organic certification also requires maintenance of basic animal welfare standards.

Organic farming by country

Organic farming is practiced around the globe, but the markets for sale are strongest in North America and Europe, while the greatest dedicated area is accounted for by Australia, the greatest number of producers are in India, and the Falkland Islands record the highest share of agricultural land dedicated to organic production.

Organic food

Organic food is food produced by methods complying with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products. Organic foods typically are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) authorizes a National Organic Program (NOP) to be administered by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The program is based on federal regulations that define standard organic farming practices and on a National List of acceptable organic production inputs. Private and state certifiers visit producers, processors, and handlers to certify' that their operations abide by the standards. Once certified, these operations may affix a label on their product stating that it "Meets USDA Organic Requirements." It is illegal for anyone to use the word "organic" on a product if it does not meet the standards set in the law and regulations. The regulations under the OFPA are intended to set uniform minimum standards for organic production. However, states may adopt additional requirements after review and approval by USDA. AMS re-accredits certifying agents every 5 years, maintains federal oversight to assure truth in labeling, and provides assurance that imported organic products have been produced under standards that are equivalent to the U.S. standards.

Organic aquaculture is a holistic method for farming marine species in line with organic principles. The ideals of this practice established sustainable marine environments with consideration for naturally occurring ecosystems, use of pesticides, and the treatment of aquatic life. Managing aquaculture organically has become more popular since consumers are concerned about the harmful impacts of aquaculture on themselves and the environment.

Mendocino County GMO Ban

Mendocino County, California, was the first jurisdiction in the United States to ban the cultivation, production or distribution of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The ordinance, entitled Measure H, was passed by referendum on March 2, 2004. Initiated by the group "GMO Free Mendocino", the campaign was a highly publicized grassroots effort by local farmers and environmental groups who contend that the potential risks of GMOs to human health and the ecosystem have not yet been fully understood. The measure was met with opposition by several interest groups representing the biotechnology industry, The California Plant Health Association and CropLife America, a Washington-based consortium whose clients represent some of the largest food distributors in the nation, including Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical. Since the enactment of the ordinance, Mendocino County has been added to an international list of "GMO free zones." Pre-emptive statutes banning local municipalities from such ordinances have now become widespread with adoption in sixteen states.

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia

The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) is an Australian and international organic certifying agency and trade association, located in Stirling, South Australia.