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Organic Horticulture Expands Globally

Granatstein, David; Kirby, Elizabeth and Willer, Helga (2010) Organic Horticulture Expands Globally. Chronica Horticulturae, 50 (4), pp. 31-37.

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Summary

Organic agriculture is expanding worldwide, driven by consumer demand in North American and European markets, as well as its claimed potential to address resource conservation, food security, and farm income issues in developing countries. Organic systems often build soil organic matter, sequestering carbon to help mitigate greenhouse gases (Niggli et al., 2007; Raviv, 2010). 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 surprisingly, 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. The Organic Trade Association recently reported organic fresh produce sales at 11.4% of all USA fresh produce sales in 2009, up from 9.8% in 2008 (OTA, 2010). Organic produce accounted for 38% of all USA organic food sales in 2009. Statistics on
organic production are continually improving, particularly with the world-wide annual survey conducted by the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
(IFOAM) (FiBL/IFOAM, 2010a), the main results
of which are published annually in the yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture” (Willer and Kilcher, 2010). In this article, we attempt to characterize the extent of organic horticulture production around the world, including its share of production and its diversity.
Various agriculture statistics bodies use differing definitions for crop groupings and for what is defined as “horticulture.” Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary (2010) defines horticulture as “the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants.” The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) takes a broader view, including crops such as nuts, olives (technically a fruit, but classified separately), medicinal and aromatic plants, root crops such as potato and cassava,
and beverage crops such as coffee and tea and cocoa. For this article, we take a broad view with more focus on fruits and vegetables.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Vegetables
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Fruit and berries
"Organics" in general > Country reports > World
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Statistics & Country Info > World
USA > Washington State University (WSU)
Deposited By: Willer, Dr. Helga
ID Code:18184
Deposited On:31 Dec 2010 10:57
Last Modified:03 Jan 2011 13:01
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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