The organic industry experienced 9.5% growth in 2011, showing that consumers perceive organic food as value-added products worth the premium. At the same time, the price gap is narrowing for some organic products, such as lettuce, making it easier for the budget-minded consumer to choose organic over conventional products.
Consumer preference for local produce is increasing according to research completed by Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. 52% of consumers reported that it was more important to buy local produce over organic options.
The debate on organic agriculture’s ability to address global food security continues. Barry Estabrook asserts that the claim that organic agriculture cannot produce enough food is a tired argument. He names several scientific research studies that conclude organic and other sustainable farming methods are necessary to feed the future world.
The NAL resource catalog includes publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture, including animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, agricultural economics, extension and education, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences. Specific resource pages within NAL that are related to food access:
- The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center page provides data, news and reports dealing with sustainable food and farming systems including organic production, education and research, farm energy options, farms and community (see below), grazing systems and livestock breeds, alternative marketing and business practices.
- This link from the NAL’s Food and Nutrition Information Center includes resources and information on Cultural and Ethnic Food and nutrition education materials for educators. Resources are online and available to borrow from the NAL and cover topics such as minority women’s health, menu planning, food distribution on Native American Reservations, and foreign language resources for educators.
- Dietary Guidance for Ethnic/ Cultural Food guide Pyramid
USDA Agriculture Marketing Service and the California Institute for Rural Studies present a background on organic marketing, findings on marketing challenges, and provides resources on marketing to wholesale, retail, and institutional buyers and directly to consumers.