University of Vermont

UVM Fruit

Tree Fruit: Organic Basics

A Chronology of Organic Food Production in the U.S.*

*Modified from Walnut Acres News


J.I. Rodale publishes Organic Gardening Magazine.


Inspired by Sir Albert Howard, Walnut Acres begins producing organic foods and becomes the country’s first organic food brand.


In 1962 Rachael Carson publishes ‘Silent Spring’ detailing the impacts of DDT on the environment. This spurs on public debate about pesticides.


The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont establishes organic certification standards. By the end of the decade, more than 30 independent groups have developed certification standards.


In 1980 the total documented U.S. sales of organic food is still under $1 million.


The Organic Food Production Bill is introduced and passed by Congress in 1990. The Organic Foods Production Act mandates that a national organic standard be developed.

In 1992 the National Organic Standards Board is created to define national standards for organic certification.

In 1993 U.S. sales of organic products reach more than $1 billion.

In 1997 The USDA proposes and publishes the National Organic Program (NOP), a rule detailing organic production, handling and labeling requirements as an amendment to the Organic Foods Production Act.


Sales of organic products in the U.S. reach $8 billion in 2000.

After receiving more than 275,000 public comments, the NOP is revised and signed into law (December 2000). All agricultural products sold, labeled or represented as organic must be in full compliance by October 2002.

Sales of organic products reach 12.7 billion in 2004 and are expected to double by 2008.

Last modified March 29 2014 03:03 PM