Organic foods have risen in prominence over the past few decades — especially within the produce industry. Now, many grocery stores and other food markets have designated whole sections to organic foods, and in the produce department there seems to be an organic alternative to nearly every offered product, from bananas to spices. Though these fully natural fruits and vegetables are plentiful now, they were once a rarity in stores across the world.
Here is a brief history of the organic produce industry.
A longstanding tradition
Organic farming, or natural agriculture, has been practiced for thousands of years; it dates as far back as prehistoric times and is the “world’s oldest and most resilient agroecosystem.” During these humble beginnings, primitive means of agriculture were introduced and leveraged toward the growing, maintaining, and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. These methods included forest gardening and the use of animals for hard labor — two approaches that would be improved and reimagined for years to follow.