Dr. Garth Youngberg and Suzanne DeMuth have made a fundamental contribution to the literature on organic and sustainable agriculture with the recently published first view article: ‘Organic Agriculture in the United States: A Thirty-Year Retrospective’. Youngberg is uniquely qualified to author such an authoritative piece as he was the founder of the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture and the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture. He also co-authored the influential Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1980. Ms. DeMuth also worked at the Henry A. Wallace Institute as a research librarian.
In their paper, Youngberg and DeMuth trace the policy history of organic agriculture in the United States as well as its growing popularity with consumers and farmers. They provide new perspectives on the historical development of organic agriculture and how it has linked with concepts of sustainability: at times organic and sustainable approaches have been in sync and other times in competition for resources and attention. The growing organic market, nationally and internationally, due in part to USDA certification of the organic label has solidified organic farming’s position in the agricultural economy. Today, organic agriculture and food manufacturing is a recognizable and regulated symbol of environmental protection as well as a source of satisfying and safe food. To discern how this has come about, one should read ‘Organic Agriculture in the United States: A Thirty-Year Retrospective’.