Silver Spring, Maryland resident Sonia Marie Bunch always knew she’d invest in an organic food and beverage line—the only question was when.
Born out of the ’90s coffee house scene, organic coffee accounts for $21 billion of all coffee imported to North America, reports Research and Markets.
A former NASDAQ market analyst, Bunch impressed the store’s executives by “knowing her product, her competitors her marketplace and her niche,” says James Sturgis, director of supplier diversity for Ahold USA. Bunch jumped into the java business right as the economy tanked and wasn’t able to secure a bank loan.
Bunch runs The EverGreen Home from her home office and spends about $5,000 annually on Website maintenance and trade shows where she promotes her coffee brand through lectures and home roasting demonstrations; her monthly in-store demos are free. Having operated in the red for nearly three years, Bunch expects revenues of $300,000 by year’s end, and projects revenues of $1 million in 2010 by expanding into an additional 380 Giant and Stop and Shop stores in New England. While The EverGreen Home Coffee is also available at three Whole Foods Markets in Southwestern Maryland, the company also sells powdered Japanese-style green tea from it’s Internet storefront and has plans to sell Fair Trade honey, peanut butter, and hot cocoa. According to the definition of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972, “organic farming is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. Indeed, organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Interest in organic products is increasing throughout the world, particularly in industrialized economies. The aim of this article is to describe the development of the organic farming sector in Syria.
Syria has a good potential for organic farming because of its weather and because a significant percentage of its farmers attempt to preserve their ancestors’ traditions, which are already close to organic farming. Syrian farmers, especially in the southern regions, started to practice organic farming in the mid-1980s. Few Syrian organic farmers can afford these high costs and, as a result, they do not apply for accreditation and sale their produce as regular, non organic food. Despite these challenges, Syria is producing organic crops and products, chief among them is cotton. Syria also produces organic olive oil, laurel soap, medical herbs and grapes which are generally exported to the EU. In order to face all these challenges, the ever-increasing organic farming sector in Syria needs serious government support as well as the establishment of a local certifying body to make the accreditation costs lower. The Syrian government stood up to the challenge and on September 4, 2005, Syria signed an agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization for the development of organic farming in Syria from scientific and institutional points of view in order to increase its production while contributing to a better environment.
As a result of this agreement, the Institutional Development of Organic Agriculture in Syria (IODAS) was launched in 2006. The project’s first part, which lasted until 2010, focused on training farmers all over the Syrian provinces on organic farming methods and interesting perspectives on the market for organic products and for this purpose, more than twenty training workshops were organized throughout the country. The second step of the project, which started at the beginning of 2010 and is supposed to be completed in 2012, involves the creation of infrastructures to support the launch of new productions from both traditional crops, such as pistachios, olives, tomatoes and cotton, and new crops, such as cherries, citrus fruits and several vegetables.
Moreover, it aims to establish an organic farming department within the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform to be responsible for the organic farming sector in Syria. The question asked in this context is what has driven the Syrian government to encourage organic farming. First of all, the Institutional Development of Organic Agriculture in Syria (IODAS) was launched following the Venice Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of all Mediterranean countries in 2003, which declared that organic farming is a priority and that all efforts should be spent for its development.
Secondly, the conventional agri-food system is becoming less sustainable from an ecological, economic and socio-ecological point of view. In addition, conventional agriculture requires water and competition over the use of water has been growing everywhere in Syria. Rotations and mixed farming have been abandoned, while overgrazing is menacing the pastures. To sum up, the deteriorating ecological conditions and the ever-increasing population pressure over dwindling natural resources, such as water and grazing land, together with the desire of the EU to create a new organic market from which it will be able to import organic products in relatively cheap prices, brought about the development of organic farming in Syria and the adoption of a more sustainable approach to agriculture. Last but not least, the development of organic farming in Syria is not unique in the Arab world. Farm Activities Associated With Rural Development Initiatives, by Faqir Bagi and Richard Reeder, USDA, Economic Research Service, May 2012Emerging Issues in the U.S. We have heard about individuals and families going completely organic, but have you heard about the latest news – there is one country that wants to become 100% organic too.
The main objective is to increase agricultural land where organic techniques are practiced by 100% in the next four years.


Of course, in the first stage the land that is owned by the Danish government will be cultivated with the help of biodynamic and organic techniques. As people learn more about how much their food choices matter, there is a growing number of producers and businesses finding innovative ways to meet the demand. In February 2008, Bunch added an organic coffee to her roster of offerings under The EverGreen Home, then an organic bedding and green living consulting company. The 46-year-old borrowed about $30,000 from friends and family, and nearly lost her house in order to can her first few orders of USDA certified organic, fair trade brews. The company also pays about $800 a year for memberships in the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, the Organic Fair Trade Association and Green America.
Beverage buyer Keenan says it’s a big leap of faith for a grocer to take on a fledgling brand, but building a stronger brand in smaller store makes your brand more solid. Find a niche that puts such a big dent in a larger brand’s business that they want to buy you out just to get you off their back, says veteran diversity supplier manager Sturgis. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, human sewage sludge, and nanomaterials. As of 2008, organic farming extended over almost 30.4 million hectares, in 138 countries with the highest growth in the USA, Argentina and Canada.
Thus, chemical pesticides or other artificial farming methods are not used and the fields are irrigated with rain water. So, in order to qualify as an organic farm, the Syrian farmers will only have to introduce crop rotation in their fields, which would prevent depletion of soil nutrients and improve soil structure and fertility. According to Industry Research House Organic Exchange, Syria was the world’s third-largest producer of organic cotton in 2009. However, it is hard to know the exact quantity of the organic exports since organic products have not been issued with a separate customs number and as such are simply recorded as agricultural exports.
This project was implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN in partnership with the Syrian government, represented by the General Commission for Agricultural Scientific Research (GCSAR) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform. Yet, its main achievement was drafting a law to govern and promote organic farming in Syria, which was issued as Legislative Decree No. Furthermore, it compiles market research on potential local, regional and international markets. This kind of association might also be able to attract more farmers and to lower the cost of production.
Also, the EU looked for more potential markets, from which to import organic foods and products in relatively cheap prices.
The Syrian government has been supporting some unsustainable agricultural conventional systems with subsidized seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation plants, fuel. Moreover, trees and shrubs have been cut down in order to facilitate the mechanization, but it also increased wind and rain erosion, causing the loss of millions of tons of fertile topsoil every year. Nitrates and fine chemicals, as well as heavy metals, antibiotics and animal wastes are flowing into the aquifers, whose waters are now dangerous for all forms of life. In that respect, the conversion from conventional agriculture to an organic one might be a key factor for improving both Syrian food security and the food trade balance. Nowadays, all Arab countries are developing the organic farming sector as a means to improve their food security, to develop a more sustainable kind of agriculture, and to import less food products from abroad. These are divided into farms operated as the principal occupation of the farmer and farms whose operators are either retired or who consider an off-farm activity as their principal occupation.
The government of Denmark has declared that it will turn the agriculture in this country into sustainable and organic farming. The official document where this plan is presented contains 67 points and it was prepared by a team of scientists and experts in this field. At the same time, the authorities will provide incentives and support private owners who are working and directing money in this growing sector in order to come up with new methods, ideas and technologies. It looks like the ministry, all regions in Denmark and even the cities will work together to achieve this goal. The more we support and request sustainable food the more retailers will meet our demand, making it more accessible and affordable for everyone.
But the demand for her coffee quickly grew from modest sales of six cans a month to 14,400 cans a month to 181 Mid-Atlantic grocery stores.
The decree aims at laying the foundation for developing organic production and the marketing of organic products in Syria.


Furthermore, there are many virgin fields in Syria that could be easily converted to organic fields and many products, like olive oil, for example, that don’t require pesticides.
One of the first organic farmers is Ahmad al-Masalmeh, who has been producing organic olives and grapes in his organic farm, which is located in the Dar’a Governorate, south of Damascus. First of all, there is no local market for organic products as few Syrians are aware of their importance. According to Souhel Makhoul, director of the Horticulture Research Administration at the General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research, organic cotton was produced on only 373 hectares just in 2005, but that has increased to around 28,000 hectares in 2010. Its aim was to prepare the grounds for the establishment of legal, institutional and scientific platforms for organic agriculture in Syria. 12 for 2012 related to organic farming in Syria by President Bashar Assad on January 22, 2012. One such market research, which was conducted in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Lattakia, found that more Syrians were willing to pay more to eat organic food. Syria, which is located close to Europe and where the force labor is cheap, answered all these criterion.
The prices of raw commodities have been kept artificially high, and the prices at consumption are kept artificially low, but all these subsidies cannot last forever, because their financial weight is becoming unbearable. Therefore, the organic farming sector is expected to develop very fast throughout the Arab world.
In this way, Denmark will become the first country on our planet to become completely organic.What is interesting is that Denmark is already on the top list of countries that have organic products, but they are taking this practice on another level now.
It is also good to know that the export of organic food produced in Denmark has doubled eight years ago. This project is not focused only on veggies and fruits, livestock will be affected too, especially pigs.
This Legislative Decree followed a Syrian cabinet decision taken on November 22, 2011 to pass a bill on developing organic farming. He started his farm in 1985 after he found out that in organic farming there is no need for expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides and it is enough to make organic insect traps and raise farm animals to use their compost as fertilizers, what makes it a healthy, cheap and profitable endeavor. A growing number of Syrian textile companies are also moving to make use of the organic cotton. It also continues to organize more workshops in order to train farmers on organic farming methods. Source: USDA, Economic Research Service using data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey, 2007, as reported in Bagi and Reeder (2012).
Namely, the government of this country has invested more than 50 million Euros last year in order to convert itself into a completely organic country.
The costs of roasting and canning took an $82,000 chunk out of her profits from the delivery. Therefore, the organic farmers who wish to apply for accreditation, need to turn to an international body and pay high registration fees as well as the full cost of an inspector’s trip. Growth has been especially rapid since 2002, when USDA established national standards for organic agricultural production and processing.
According to many experts, this is a very bold plan, but given that the country is already focused on production of organic food, the plan seems realistic. Bunch’s beans are procured through brokers that work directly with farms in Indonesia, Ethiopia and South America. In response to the rise in demand for organic products, a growing number of farmers have had to adopt new (to them) organic production practices and establish new marketing channels. Farmers known for early adoption of innovative practices tend to operate larger farms and have higher levels of schooling and stronger links to outside sources of information than other farmers. Data from USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) reveal that small farms (annual sales under $250,000) operated as a principal occupation were more apt to adopt organic farming than other small or large farms, so at least one characteristic associated with early adopters—large farm size—is not critical in organic farming. In the same period, however, farmers who had at least a bachelor’s degree were more likely to have adopted organic practices, so higher educational attainment may play a role in the decision to farm organically.



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