A Salute to Organic Agriculture in Oregon
Organically Grown in Oregon week highlights an important and expanding ag sector. Governor Kitzhaber has proclaimed September 15-21 to be Organically Grown in Oregon Week, an indicator that organic agriculture is something to celebrate.
Courtesy Gaining Ground Farm Picture of a field at Gaining Ground Farm, a 76-acre, organic-certified community-supported agriculture operation just outside Yamhill.
Organically Grown in Oregon Week highlights an important and expanding ag sector.
By the Oregon Department of Agriculture
At one time, organic agriculture may have been considered by some to be a fringe sector of the industry with a narrowly-focused market base. That simply isn’t the case anymore as organic foods are a mainstream consumer item that continues to rise in popularity. Governor Kitzhaber has proclaimed September 15-21 to be Organically Grown in Oregon Week, another indicator that organic agriculture is something to celebrate.
“Organic agriculture is right at home in Oregon,” says Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba. “The same great growing conditions and wonderful diversity of products that serves all of Oregon agriculture benefit our organic producers as well.”
The governor’s proclamation supports the notion that organic agriculture is alive and well, noting that Oregon ranks fifth in the nation in the number of organic farms. The proclamation also points out that Oregon passed the nation’s first organic legislation in 1973 and revised the Oregon Organic Foods Law in 1989, which served as the model for the current national organic standards.
“Organic agriculture gives Oregon consumers a choice in the bounty of products they enjoy,” says ODA Marketing Director Gary Roth. “What I personally celebrate during this special week is the availability of organic products that just wasn’t there 20 years ago. We grow so many different crops in Oregon, and we have so many different organic crops to offer as well.”
Oregon has unique status in the organic world based on its history of early adoption of certification standards. It was the first to establish a statewide advocacy group– the Oregon Organic Coalition. Three years ago, Oregon Tilth, which provides a majority of the state’s organic certification, was joined by ODA in bringing together a number of agencies and organizations that each pledged their support by signing an organic agriculture letter of intent. The document set up an annual strategy meeting among partner organizations, and continues to encourage additional research and outreach, promote sharing of best practices, and generally gives support for organic agriculture on a national level.