(NaturalNews) The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is launching its first ever "Idaho Organic Week" to be held from June 18-24, which will showcase the Gem State's growing and diverse array of organic fare. With over 250 organic operations throughout the state that offer vegetables, meats, milk, wine, and non-food crops like hay and barley, the state's organic initiative will help increase awareness of the availability of local organic products, and highlight some of the key players in the clean food movement.
According to a recent report in Capital Press, Idaho leads the pack in the production of ten key organic commodities, which includes cattle and calves, milk cows, beef cows, barley and grain seed, dry edible beans, potatoes, spring wheat, milk and onions. And in spite of a persistently-floundering US economy, Idaho's organic sector continues to burgeon, increasing by roughly ten percent a year.
"I think it surprises people to find out what is organically grown in Idaho," said Brandon Lamb, manager of ISDA's organic certification program. The program received accreditation from the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program back in 2002, and has built a strong reputation since that time, which has expanded both the out-of-state and out-of-country markets for the state's organic products.
"People are becoming more aware of what goes into their food in general, and so I think there's more consumer interest in buying things that maybe don't have the different chemicals ... on them," said Lacy Menasco, an ISDA trade specialist.
The ISDA is encouraging organic farmers and producers to plan special programs and events during the week to help showcase their fare, as well as teach the public about the benefits of organics. Farm tours, organic workshops, and food tastings are a few of the many options that farm participators may choose to conduct.
Roughly 111,000 acres of Idaho cropland, and 37,000 acres of pasture and range land, are now organic. Combined total sales of goods from these organic operations tops $71 million a year, and they continue to increase steadily year after year.