Facts 'n Stats

Starting a discussion about organic food and our food system can be a powerful way to get your friends and family more involved with the growing food movement. These "Facts 'n' Stats" are great conversation-starters that will get people thinking (and talking!) about the important issues:

Organic Food

  • The U.S. organic industry grew by nearly 8% in 2010, to reach $28.6 billion in sales (Organic Trade Association, 2011 Organic Industry Survey)
  • 78% of U.S. families purchase at least some organic foods (Organic Trade Association, 2011 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study)
  • Less than 1% of U.S. farmland is certified organic (USDA Economic Research Service)
Food & Health
  • Annual health care costs associated with obesity total about $147 billion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 2 out of 3 U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • 1 out of 3 U.S. children are overweight or obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Farm bill spending does not reflect public health priorities: over $33 billion is spent on commodity crops, while only $4.3 billion goes to fruits, nuts and vegetables (FoodTech Connect, A Clean Bill of Health)
  • 78% of poll respondents said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the next farm bill (David & Lucile Packard Foundation)
Local Food & Healthy Food Access
  • The number of farmers markets in the U.S. increased 17% between 2010 and 2011 alone, up to 7,175 (USDA, National Directory of Farmers Markets)
  • Marketing of local foods grossed $4.8 billion in 2008 (USDA Economic Research Service)
  • In 2010, 14.5% of households were "food insecure" at least some time during that year, meaning occupants do not always have enough food to meet basic needs (USDA Economic Research Service)
  • Over 46 million Americans currently receive SNAP benefits (formerly known as "food stamps") (USDA Food and Nutrition Service)
  • Less than 20% of farmers markets have EBT terminals (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)
  • SNAP transactions at farmers markets accounted for a mere 0.008% of total SNAP transactions nationwide in 2009 (Community Food Security Coalition)
  • 77% of Americans want more information about the food they buy (IBM)
Factory Farms & Food Industry Consolidation
  • The total number of animals on factory farms grew by 5 million, or more than 20%, between 2002 and 2007 (Food & Water Watch)
  • Slaughterhouses can process up to 400 cattle per hour (Fast Food Nation)
  • There are 5 times as many hogs as people in Iowa, the #1 pork producing state in the U.S. (Iowa Pork Producers Association)
  • More than 80% of U.S. beef cattle are slaughtered by just 4 companies (Mary Hendrickson & William Heffernan, Concentration of Agricultural Markets, 2007)
  • The top 5 food retailers capture half of all grocery sales, double the share they held in 1997 (Grist.org)
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