The Organic Industry in the U.S.

Aquaponics USA/World
September 2014 Newsletter
Number 9
Table of Contents
How do we define Organic in the U.S.?
Not Long Ago, everyone ate Organic Food
The new “O” Marketplace
Meet SPINS and IRi
See the Trailer for “The Need To Grow”
See the Trailer for “Fed Up”

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’re not sure how many parts this Series is going to be as the Organic Food Industry is getting bigger everyday. We hope you find this topic to be as interesting as we’re finding it to be and thank you for following our Newsletters.
Quick Links:
Excerpts from a Report on: 
The Organic Industry in the U.S.
                              Part 1
To view a larger image of the headline image, just click
HERE. The above image was taken from a 2012 Press Release by the Organic Trade Association so the numbers are conservative compared to today.
Dear Subscriber:
We are writing an extensive Report on the Organic Industry in the U.S., which we will be offering free to our potential Aquaponics World Food Forever™ Farm clients and from which we are publishing excerpts in both our September and October Newsletters.
This is a very informative Report covering all aspects of the Organic Food Market in terms of it’s growth, regulations, imports and emerging issues facing the U.S. Organic Industry.
This is the 2nd Newsletter Series we’ve published, the first being a four-month Series on the FOOD REVOLUTION. If you wish to view that Series, go to our July Newsletter, which contains Links to this four-part Series that started in April.

How Do We Define Organic Food in the U.S?

The National U.S. Organic Program is overseen by a Board called the National Organic Standards Board. This Board’s integrity is coming into question these days due to the sad fact that it has been taken over by the Big Food Companies like Coca Cola who have clandestinely entered the fast growing Organic Market by buying up most of the original Mom and Pop family organic companies that appeared on the Organic scene prior to or at the turn of the century.
The FOOD REVOLUTION Series goes into this fact in depth if you wish to follow that thread.
But back to our subject. How does the U.S. define “Organic”?
“The following definition of ‘organic production’ was adopted into the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Regulation at 7 CFR 205:

Organic production. A production system that is managed in accordance with the Act and regulations in this part to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

‘Organic’ is a labeling term that refers to agricultural products produced in accordance with Organic Foods Production Act and the NOP Regulations. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.

Organic food handlers, processors, and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” (Taken from the Organic Trade Association website at

The above aquaponically grown tomatoes don’t qualify as USDA Certified Organic even though they are about as “Organic” as you can get. Why are they disqualified?
It has to do with the last line of the definition of “Organic”–
“The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.” These tomatoes are not grown in SOIL!
They’re growing in an expanded clay media. That’s actually the good news because according to an article published in The Telegraph as far back as February of 2010, “An estimated 75 billion tons of soil is lost annually with more than 80% of the world’s farming land ‘moderately or severely eroded’.” So just since that article was published, our world has LOST 300 billion tons of soil.(Taken from an article published in  The Telegraph and put On-Line at:
Food grown in Aquaponics Systems is actually the most Organic Food you can eat as long as the Aquaponic farmer isn’t using GMO seeds because there’s no need for Pesticides or Petro-Chemicals to grow the plants. The fish fertilize them naturally while acting as the canary in the coal mine. They can’t handle toxins or additives other than chelated iron and potassium now and then.
Don’t tell the USDA! They might wake up and take a 2nd look at the enormous benefits of growing food in Aquaponics Systems, never mind the fact that Aquaponically grown food uses 90% less water! More on that in Part 3.

There was a time when everyone ate Organic Food because it was the only food grown.

It wasn’t that long ago when all the food everyone ate was “Organic”. It didn’t need a certification label because everyone knew it was nutritious, natural food with no
petro-chemicals, pesticides or GMO’s. It was just plain FOOD.
Of course the post World War II agricultural revolution put an end to that when the use of chemical pesticides became the norm and the behemoth Chemical Companies came on the food production scene.
Now, for those of us who wish to return to just plain, naturally grown food, an entire industry complete with Certification has blossomed; and inspite of the fact that this new industry is being co-opted by Big Food, USDA Certified Organic Food is still far superior to GMO, pesticide and chemical laden Food.
The following statistics demonstrate just how big this purer food movement has become. It’s also important you understand that this movement has also broadened to include food labeled “Natural”, “Locally Grown” and NCO (Non-Certified Organic) right alongside food labeled “USDA Organic”.
Our goal over here at Aquponics USA/World is to bring our in-house Certification Label, “Aquaganic”, that describes food grown in Aquaponics Systems as “Beyond Organic” right into the middle of this fast-growing market.

The new O Marketplace. How big is it?

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re calling this the newO Marketplace because it includes more than just USDA Certified Organic Food. It’s a growing Market with new designators coming into it. We believe that as the USDA Certified Organic Label gets more and more compromised as the “National List”, which is a list of allowed non-organic ingredients, grows along with consumer awareness, these other designators will come to the forefront.
The “NCO” Label stands for Non-Certified Organic; and anyone who shops at Farmer’s Markets are familiar with it. Small farmers marketing their products through Farmer’s Markets are using this label instead of trying to jump through all the hoops required by the USDA to get that certification; and there are a lot of them. “According to recent (not really as this Report came out in 2009) census of agriculture results, approximately 136,000 farmers reported selling agricultural products directly to consumers, while only about 20,000 farmers reported producing [USDA] Organic products.”(Quote taken from the USDA Report entitled “Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry”)
In the last five years, we know these numbers have increased considerably; but the number of farmers using the NCO designation is still much larger than the number of farmers using the USDA Certification; and due to the “Locally Grown” movement discussed below, their numbers are growing.
The “Locally Grown” designator is finding itself on lots of labels. It’s all about where the food is grown instead of how the food is grown; and there’s a huge movement to buy locally grown food, which is often equated with “the belief that local production is environmentally responsible, even though local labels are not typically associated with production standards.” (Quote taken from the USDA Report entitled“Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry”)
Then there’s the “Natural” designator; and even though there are no regulations that cover the “Natural” label, consumers gravitate to it in hopes that “Natural” food is more healthy and nutritious than food not labeled “Natural”. In fact, in 2009, during the economic downslide in the U.S., food labeled “Natural” outsold food labeled USDA Organic.

“‘Increasingly to consumers, the term natural means organic’, said A. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends, Inc., Escondido, Calif. ‘Partly as a result of this confusion’, she said, ‘the appeal of organic foods is no longer growing. If you look at what’s going on right now, natural foods are outselling organic four to one,’ she said. ‘When you ask people to define natural and define organic, you get exactly the same thing. In 2009, organic equals natural. That wasn’t the case in the past.'”(Quote taken from an article in Food Business News in March of 2009 entitled “A Natural Mess”.
And finally, the “Aquaganic™”designator. Right now there are no “Aquaganic™” products on the market; but it won’t be long before there are; and it looks like they’ll be debuting right in the middle of two of the biggest metropolises in the U.S., Los Angeles and Houston. More about that in a later Newsletter.
The “Aquaganic™” Certification is the answer to the USDA’s problem with SOILLESS food production. This produce will be touted as “Beyond Organic” because there is no National List (more on that nightmare in Part 2) and there are no Big Food companies co-opting Aquaponic farming YET. It’s the purest, healthiest food on the market; and it’s coming down the track like a bullet train to a market near you soon. Watch for it.
AUSA Aquaganic Label 4x5
Now that we’ve set the stage for the new O Market let’s talk about how big it really is! Hold on to your hats.
A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of a whopping 14% is expected for the U.S. Organic Food Market from 2013 through 2018 according to the new “United States Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2018” Report; and it’s the Western States that are driving that growth, which is due to growing domestic production and increasing awareness. (Stats taken from the on-line website calledFood Navigator)

Meet SPINS and IRi and their
mind-blowing data about the new O Market Share
SPINS is a leading provider of retail consumer insights, analytics and consulting for the Natural, Organic and Specialty Products Industry.
IRI Market Measurement provides CPG (consumer packaged goods) and retail executives with the highest-quality and most comprehensive market tracking information and insights available via easy-to-use technology-enabled access and visualization tools.
Recently, these two companies teamed up to do a Report on the Natural/Organic Food Market; and here’s what they discovered.
The Natural/Organic Retail Sales reached $81.3 billion in 2012, which was up 13.5% from 2011 and which almost reached the 14% expected increase reported by the U.S. Organic Food Market Forecast & Opportunities Report quoted above. But there’s another important statistic to figure into these results, which boosts the potential for the Natural/Organic Food Market even more; and that is the following:
“There are two small ‘power shopper’ groups that together comprise only 18% of consumers; but they account for almost 50% of all sales of Natural/Organic products, which means that 82% of U.S. consumers haven’t reached their buying potential in the fast-growing CPG segment.” These so-called “power shoppers” have been dubbed the “true believers” and “enlightened environmentalists” and they make up 46% of all Natural/Organic product sales.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, produce and dairy are still the top two Organic Food categories accounting for 43 and 15 percent of total organic sales in 2012, which means that produce, which accounts for almost half of all organic sales at 43% is the number one category attracting the “power shoppers”; and it is produce that Aquaponics Food Forever™ Farms grow in “Aquaganic™ “abundance.

Don’t forget to check out the Trailer for 
The Need To Grow“. It’s on the Home Page (top).
It’s a new food documentary that actually shares the solutions instead of the problems connected to our corporate co-opted food system; and look for our smiling faces as we share what we’re doing in this regard at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World.

Here’s another food documentary in Pre-Order Production.

We’re not in this one; but it looks like it’s well worth watching. Check out the Trailer on YouTube below.
FED UP - Official Trailer
FED UP – Official Trailer

Coming in October!

Don’t miss this eye opening Report on how USDA Certified Organic Products come from foreign companies to stores near you wearing one of the world’s most coveted labels.
Have wonderful final days of Summer and thank you so much for following our Newsletters. We’ll officially be entering Fall on September 22nd.
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One comment on “The Organic Industry in the U.S.

  1. Actually the (top) soil we see once was something else then got turned into the medium it is now by a million-year long evolutionary process. Then humankind at certain intervals eroded it, like during the Mycenean and Roman periods and the end of these empires seem to coincide with rising amounts of sediment in esturaries and the sea bwed made up of lost top soil. Soon after – the dem,ise of the empire. What we see today seems to resemble this, q.v. the amount of top soil found in the Gulf of Mexico. Those ancient societies (the Mayans seem to have suffered a similar fate for all we know) did not know about aquaponics or could not appreciate expanded clay etc. We should radically redefine “organic” along the lines of “everything that lets things grow” in the sense of increasing the organic matter on Earth, and not allow narrower definitions of what constitute soil into it.


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