A Guide to Organic Food, Clothing, and More

The term organic has become increasingly common. It can be found on the labels of everything from food items to clothing. Many people do not, however, fully understand what the term "organic" really means beyond the fact that it is considered healthy. Organic refers to agricultural products that are either grown or raised without the use of genetic modifications, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or hormones. These products include livestock, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and other crops, such as cotton.

"Organic" also refers to farming practices. Organic farming requires the use of methods that reduce pollution, conserve water, and encourage healthy soil. It is closely associated with the organic movement. This is a movement that promoted organic farming practices, and consequently organic products. It originated in the mid-1960s during a time when people were becoming increasingly aware of the toxic effects of certain chemicals that were being put into foods. At the time, many dismissed the organic movement as being a fad or as something not to be taken seriously. Over time however, food scares, environmental changes, and increased health consciousness have all contributed to the resurgence of organic items on the market. Organics now include not only food, but also other items such as clothing.

Organic Farming

  • Organic Farming Principles and Practices: This is an in-depth article on organic farming. It includes several definitions of organic and the history of the evolution of organic farming. Readers will also learn about several methods of organic farming.
  • Organic Farming: This page explains what is meant by "organic," and also explains organic farming. Readers of this page will also discover reasons for growing organically.
  • Organic Farming: On this page the difference between organic and conventional farming is discussed. The page also includes some quotes from organic farmers.
  • What is Organic Farming? (PDF): A PDF document that discussed organic farming. The page gives a definition for organic farming. It also reviews the reasons for going organic as well as some of the history of organic farming.
  • History of Organic Farming in the United States: This page is a review of organic farming history. Readers will also learn about national organic standards, crop production standards, and organic livestock standards. It is featured on the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education website.

Organic Food

  • Mayo Clinic: Organic Foods are They Safer? More Nutritious?: This Mayo Clinic article compares organic foods to conventionally grown foods. Comparisons are made in terms of farming methods and nutrition. Readers will also learn about certification labels and what they mean. Downsides of organic food are also discussed.
  • Eat Right Ontario: Organic Foods and Growing Methods FAQ: A FAQ page about organic food items. The page answers questions about the safety and taste of organic foods, the difference between organic and conventional foods, and the regulation of organic foods.
  • What is Organic Food?: This is a CBC Marketplace article that explains what organic means in terms of food. People reading this article will discover what makes food organic and what types of food may be called organic.
  • Institute of Food Technologies: Organic Foods (PDF): This is a PDF document that goes into detail about organic food, including farming. Readers will find graphs and also discusses pesticides, nutritional components, microbiology safety, and naturally occurring toxins.
  • A Consumer's Guide to Organic Food (PDF): This is a PDF guide that contains information on USDA certified organic food. The guide discusses whether organic food is better for consumers. In addition sustainability, nutritional quality, and the difference between organic food and natural foods are also discussed.
  • HelpGuide: Organic Food: All aspects of organic food are discussed in this article. People who click on this link will learn about the benefits and cost of organic food. They will also learn about organic farming and understanding organic labeling.
  • Your Guide to Organic Food: The organic food page of the Health Encyclopedia on the University of Rochester Medical Center website. This page explains what organic means and the benefits of eating it. Information regarding shopping for organic food is also included in the article.

Organic Clothing

  • Assessing Organic Fashion: The appeal of clothing made from organic materials is discussed in this article. Ways to educate people about the benefits of organic clothing is also reviewed in this article.
  • Green Clothes, With No Added Preservatives: This article discusses the benefits of wearing organic clothing. The article goes into detail about the use of pesticides on cotton.
  • Organic Clothing Not Just for Hippies Anymore: This MSN article reviews the lure of organic clothing. It discusses the increasing number of stores and manufacturers who are selling clothes made with organic cotton.
  • Organic Fiber: Preserving Integrity in a Rapidly Growing Market: A PDF document that discusses various organic fibers. Organic wool, cotton, hemp, linen, and organic leather are reviewed. Statistics on the U.S. and global organic market are given. Readers will also learn what top brands sell organic clothing and where they may be found.
  • Texas Agriculture - Fashion: This is an article on Texas cotton and why organic cotton is increasingly popular. It explains why manufacturers and retailers are using organic cotton.

Benefits of Organic

Organic Resources

  • Organic Market Overview: This is an overview of the organic market that appears on the USDA website. Graphs illustrating organic food sales and the demand for organic foods are also included on this page.
  • Organic 101: A page on The Organic Center website that answers common questions about organic items. A majority of the page discusses "Certified Organic."
  • Understanding Organic Labels - What Does "Organic" Mean?: This PDF fact sheet explains and illustrates the different labels for organic products. Readers will learn what they mean and what types of labels to avoid. Reasons to buy organic and the benefits of organic certification are also discussed.