Agriculture plays a large role in North America, its primary crops include grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and plants for non-food uses. In terms of farmland, 3.3 million hectares are managed organically, a figure that has trebled since 2000 and represents about five percent of global organic agricultural land.
In recent years, the markets for organic products have grown rapidly in North America. There are in total about 23,957 organic producers about 18,000 of whom are in the United States, and over 5,000 in Canada. Today the United States is the leading organic market with 40.6 billion euros while in Canada per capita consumption of organic is about 84 euros.
Looking back on the development of the organic movement, Jerome Irving Rodale (1898–1971) was one of the pioneers who advocated for organic and sustainable agriculture in the United State. Inspired by his work , his son Inspired Robert Rodale founded the Rodale Institute, an experimental organic research farm in the eastern U.S. In 1972, Roland Chevriot of Nature et Progrès invited Jerome Goldstein from the Rodale Institute along with others including Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the UK Soil Association, Kjell Arman from the Swedish Biodynamic Association to set up an organization to facilitate the development of organic across borders. This meeting set in motion the establishment of IFOAM - Organics International of which the Rodale institute is still a member.
In 2016, members from Canada, the United States, and the English-speaking Caribbean established IFOAM North America. They are working towards food systems which have shorter and more direct supply chains, where the knowledge and wisdom of farmers guide innovations that are adapted to local conditions, and making food production both socially as well as environmentally sustainable.
Visit our Membership Directory to Meet our Affiliates in North America
There are 41 members of IFOAM - Organics International located in North America. These members are spread across 9 countries and include national organic trade associations, charities, certification bodies, and private companies.