Fresh fruits and vegetables make up the largest portion of the organic food sector.
Credit NatalieMaynor / Flickr/Creative Commons
Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. To produce them all and fill the market for organic food, acreage continues to rise. In Colorado alone, acreage of organic crops has more than doubled in the past fifteen years.
Beef from cattle that have grazed only on pasture is in high demand — much to the surprise of many meat retailers, who didn't traditionally think of grass-fed beef as top-quality.
George Siemon, a founder of Organic Valley, the big organic food supplier, says the push for grass-fed beef started with activists who wanted to challenge a beef industry dominated by factory-scale feedlots. In those feedlots, cattle are fed a corn-heavy diet designed to make the animals gain weight as quickly as possible.
Northern California's Salinas Valley is often dubbed America's salad bowl. Large growers there have long relied on thousands of seasonal workers from rural Mexico to pick lettuce, spinach and celery from sunrise to sunset. Many of these workers seem destined for a life in the fields. But a program that helps field workers, like Raul Murillo, start their own farms and businesses is starting to yield a few success stories.
Michael Baute and Meghan Williams co-own this tiny farm, Spring Kite, in Fort Collins. Both had farmed as apprentices before, but wanted their own space and their own business. One-third of their produce goes to the farm’s CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, clients.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media
Within the local food movement, the community supported agriculture model is praised. CSAs, as they’re commonly known, are often considered one of the best ways to restore a connection to the foods we eat.