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Organic FuturesStruggling for Sustainability on the Small Farm$
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Connor J Fitzmaurice and Brian J. Gareau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300199451

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300199451.001.0001

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Organic Hits the Mainstream

Organic Hits the Mainstream

(p.44) Two Organic Hits the Mainstream
Organic Futures

Connor J. Fitzmaurice

Brian J. Gareau

Yale University Press

With the passage of the U.S. Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, organic food left the fringes of America’s agricultural economy and received federal recognition— and regulation. But how did organic farming become a niche market governed by regulations aimed at limiting the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, rather than by more holistic concerns about society and ecology? This chapter provides an overview of the regulatory processes that yielded both the OFPA and the final USDA organic standards implemented in 2000. While the federal government’s approach to organic farming began with a holistic, process-based definition of organic agriculture in the USDA’s 1980 “Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming,” the final standards came to focus on issues surrounding chemical inputs. This process served to settle the organic market by providing commensurability, offering a consistent basis for consumer choice, not broad agricultural sustainability.

Keywords:   Regulations, Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), Chemical Inputs, Market, Commensurability, Consumer Choice, Niche Market

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