There’s a lot of information out there about organics. These resources will get you and your staff up to speed.
• Origins of the Organic Movement, Philip Conford (Floris Books, 2001). Did you know organics’ roots are linked to right-wing conservatives? This book traces the movement to some surprising places.
• Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (Mariner Books, 2002, anniversary edition). Originally published in 1962, this disturbing expose of the consequences of pesticide use is credited with jump-starting the environmental movement.
• Organic, Inc., Samuel Fromartz (Harvest Books, 2007). Fromartz, the man behind the popular Chewswise blog, explores the growing pains of the organic industry as it transforms from small grassroots movement to big business.
• This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader, Joan Dye Gussow (Chelsea Green, 2002). Gussow, a nutritionist and food activist, presents this gardening manual, memoir, cookbook and organic manifesto all wrapped into one very readable book.
• Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, Lisa M. Hamilton (Counterpoint, 2009). Digging into the stories of real farmers who have switched from conventional to sustainable agriculture, Hamilton paints an intimate portrait of the real people behind our food system.
Academic papers and research
• Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry. This report drafted in June 2009 by the Economic Research Service at USDA examines the supply and demand dynamics of the current organic industry.
• Tracing the evolution of organic and sustainable agriculture. The USDA compiled this thorough bibliography of influential studies, research papers, books and articles from 1800 to 2007.
• Organic farming cost and return studies. The University of California at Davis’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program offers this comprehensive collection of studies examining the production costs, business overhead and profit potential for various organic crops. SAREP’s website also has an overview of common organic farming practices.
• Agricultural economics working papers. The University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources presents this treasure trove of research into the costs and consequences of our current food system.
• The perils of ignoring history: Big tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is big food? Kelly D. Brownell of Yale University and Kenneth E. Warner of the University of Michigan compare the tactics employed by the tobacco and big food industries to sway public opinion and policy.
• Organic Farming Research Foundation
• The Organic Center
• Organic Trade Association
• Organic Consumers Association
• National Organic Coalition
• National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
• Organic Seed Alliance
• Rural Advancement Foundation International
• American Farmland Trust
• Pesticide Action Network
• Center for Food Safety / Cool Foods Campaign
• Soil Association