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The global extent and expansion of organic horticulture production
- Willer, H., Granatstein, D., Kirby, E.
- Acta horticulturae 2012 no.933 pp. 23-34
- consumer demand, developing countries, economic recession, farm income, food security, fresh produce, fruits, greenhouse gas emissions, healthy diet, heart diseases, horticultural crops, horticulture, markets, organic foods, organic production, sales, soil organic matter, trade associations, vegetables, United States
- Organic agriculture continues to expand worldwide, despite the economic recession of 2008. This growth is driven by consumer demand in European and North American markets, as well as the potential of organic farming to address resource conservation, food security, and farm income issues in developing countries. Organic systems often build soil organic matter, which sequesters carbon to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (Niggli et al., 2007). Increasingly, horticultural crops, especially fruits and vegetables, are being promoted as a critical part of a healthy diet that can help avoid problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Not surprising, consumers interested in healthy diets are often also attracted to organic foods (Hartman Group, 2006), and thus organic horticultural crops play a prominent role in consumer purchases. For example, the Organic Trade Association recently reported that organic produce accounted for 38% of all USA organic food sales in 2009. Organic fresh produce sales (fruits and vegetables) were 11.4% of all USA fresh produce sales in 2009, up from 9.8% in 2008 (OTA, 2010). The growth rates of organic horticultural crop area are typically higher than for organic farming in general, and the share of production area of horticultural crops that organic production represents is often higher than for other types of crops.