All starts from a seed...

Organic farming as we know it today is the result of the development and synthesis of various alternative methods of agricultural production – different from "conventional" agriculture – that emerged in the early 20th century, mainly in Central and Northern Europe. Of these methods, Biodynamic Agriculture, Organic Agriculture, and Biological Agriculture in its early form could be cited as the most significant.

We must point out that, their small differences notwithstanding, all of these production methods considered the bond between agriculture and nature, as well as respecting natural balance, as paramount.

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Major milestones in the development of organic farming as an alternative and sensible method of agricultural production include:

1924: With his lectures in Germany, Rudolf Steiner set the foundations of Biodynamic Agriculture.

1940: Sir Albert Howard's Agricultural Testament was published in England, forming the basis for Organic Farming.

1940 : Development of Biological Farming in Switzerland by Hans Peter Rusch and Hans Muller.

1943: Lady Eve Balfour published her book The Living Soil in England, while in 1946 she became a co-founder and the first president of the Soil Association organization.

1947 Inspired by the studies of Sir Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour, J.I. Rodale founded in the US the Institute that bears his name with the aim to research Organic Farming.

1972: The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) was founded.

1991: The Regulation (EEC) 2092/91 "on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs" passed; organic farming was officially regulated at a European level for the first time.

Since 1991, the scenery has been constantly changing for organic farming, first at a European and then at a global level. The institutionalization of the field with the introduction of rules on production, marketing and control has significantly boosted consumer trust, protected producers and set the basis for the rapid, as it turned out, development of the organic product market.

1999: Extension of the original Regulation to include animal products (Regulation EC 1804/1999).

2004: Publication of the 'European Action Plant for Organic Food and Farming'. This was a major milestone, since organic farming thus gained full political support; at the same time, the active promotion of the nutritional value of organic products and the social and environmental contribution of organic farming was put in motion.

2009: Substitution of the original Regulation 2092/1991 by the new Regulations 834/2007 & 889/2008.

2009: Extension of the Regulations to include aquaculture products, with Regulation 710/2009 (aquaculture products and seaweed).

2010: Publication of the new EU logo for organic products.

Especially after 2000, many countries around the world have proceeded to adopt regulations for the production, marketing and control of organic products, including the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, and South Korea.

Today, the global market of organic products represents a significant part of the food market, with a turnover of more than 46 billion dollars in 2007. Europe is the strongest market, with 54% of total turnover and 25 billion dollars in absolute figures. More than 32.2 million hectares are cultivated in total, while there are more than 1.2 million integrated producers (source: World of Organic Agriculture, IFOAM 2009).

In Greece, the total area of cultivated land was more than 150,000 hectares in 2007 (integrated pastures not included) and organic farmers more than 24,000. Olive trees account for 34% of organic cultures (51,923 hectares in total), followed by cereals at 26% (a total of 40,020 hectares).

  • Steiner Rudolf (1861 - 1925).
  • Rachel Carson (1907-1964).
  • Jerome Irving Rodale (1898 - 1971).


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