Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. The organic label gives insight into how the food was produced, usually without the aid of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and food additives.
A group of Columbia activists are promoting organic agricultural practices as a way to improve community health and the environment. The Columbia Climate Change Coalition met Thursday, June 20, to discuss ways to better the environment through organic agriculture.
The Columbia Climate Change Coalition is part of Peoples’ Visioning, which is a group that discusses climate, finance, energy, public health, education and transportation.
Tammy Sellmeyer bends to pick up a strawberry in the middle of a hoop house on the 25-acre farm she owns and operates with her husband, Greg, just south of Fulton, Mo. The Sellmeyers plant some 3,000 strawberry plants here each year and sell them at the Columbia, Mo. farmers market. This past May, they sold 400 quarts in just three hours. But two years ago, they didn't have many berries to sell at all because pests got to their crop.
In Tebbetts, Mo., JJR Family Farm raised USDA-certified organic livestock without antibiotics or genetically-modified feed. After six years of raising and selling organic beef, they decided it was just too expensive to keep the certification. Rancher John Rice helped us figure out just how much it costs to raise organic beef in Missouri.
The organic farming industry is booming. Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its federal organic certification program in 2002, the number of organic farms has more than doubled. U.S. organic food sales have also grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $31.5 billion in 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association.
In recent months, a fairly severe drought and a slowly recovering economy have thrown food businesses for a loop.
Coming up we’ll listen in on a conversation Abbie Fentress Swanson had with President Barack Obama’s top agriculture guy about the looming dip in corn exports. But first, some businesses have been able to weather the storm better than others. Jennifer Davidson has this report about one successful shop in West Plains.
Now, things aren’t so peachy for everyone in the food industry. Clearly.