Main Menu New

Home > News Center > Organic: Sustainable, Regenerative, and so Much More

Organic: Sustainable, Regenerative, and so Much More

Something that’s been on my mind lately is the volume of conversation around sustainability and climate-smart initiatives. Climate change presents an existential challenge for human civilization, and we must all work creatively together to keep its worst impacts at a minimum.

Sustainability is a colossal undertaking, challenging companies to examine every aspect of how they conduct business. And while sustainability is a much larger conversation than organic, organic should definitely be a cornerstone of the sustainability equation.

The organic standards are often described in simple terms that explain what’s not allowed. In truth, that’s a small part of the puzzle that misses the larger point. Organic production is about designing systems that work in harmony with nature to build soil health, protect air and water quality, and safeguard the health of not just the people who consume the products, but also those whose labor brought them to market.

Keeping organic centered in the conversation about sustainability and regenerative practices is just the latest in our collective work to help the public understand the many benefits of this complex label. To be honest, there’s too much good news to share about organic at any given time. Instead, we should begin with a focus on a few key truths about organic—that it rejects most chemical inputs, is always non-GMO, and is third-party certified to stringent government standards. From there, we must listen closely for the next set of concerns that emerge about our agricultural system, the planet, or human health. Odds are, organic has already studied, deliberated, and addressed the issue. By layering that message atop the basics about organic, we will keep the label fresh and relevant to shoppers.

As we move deeper into a period of economic contraction, people will naturally become more selective about how they spend their dollars. But they still need to feed and clothe their families, and they would prefer to do so in a way that aligns with their values. As the custodians of this system of production so rich with benefits for people and planet, it’s on us to find and voice our message for the moment—that organic has always been sustainable, regenerative, and so much more.

Tom Chapman is the CEO/Executive Director of Organic Trade Association.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2022 Organic Report, you can view the full magazine here.