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Madison Organic Buzz

Written by Beth Eggemeier

The demand from consumersfor organic and sustainable foods in our society has changed the landscape of the agricultural and food industry.  Socially responsible consumers are speaking up and giving a voice to a growing trend for chemical free products.  Madison consumers have spoken too!  The organic trend has fostered economic development and business opportunities in our progressive, liberal city.

Familiar restaurants in Madison have answered the call for organic and now feature locally grown, organic items on their menu.    It is common to see grass-fed, pasture-fed, free range and cage-free meat entrees as well.  Fresco, Harvest Restaurant, Ian’s Pizza, L’Etoile Restaurant, Madison Club, Marigold Kitchen, Nostrano, Old Fashioned, Sunroom Café, Tornado Steakhouse, Mermaid Café, Fit Fresh Cuisine, and Bloom Bake Shop

This demand for organic has also infiltrated the beauty industry with consumers demanding organic beauty products. Over the past decade, there has been a plethora of organic products available to consumers. Currently, there are four natural and organic food co-ops in Madison offering a variety of food and non-food organic products to eager consumers.

So what’s all the buzz about organic?  First of all, it is environmentally sound; by eliminated pesticides the soil is healthier and it protects our water supply and animals.  According to the Mayo Clinic, organic foods are not necessarily healthier nutrient-wise, but are healthier as there are no pesticides, waxes or food additives in the foods. Even after washing non-organic produce, residual pesticides remain on the food.

It’s important to connect the organic movement to the “buy local” trend.  Buying organic supports local farmers.  We’re seeing a boom in the number of local farmers providing organic foods in the Madison area at neighborhood farmers markets and food co-ops.

Supporting the organic movement for local businesses in the food production/distribution and restaurant industry is obvious.  But other industries can benefit locally, too.  Health and exercise firms that promote organic living may gain new clientele.  Businesses that offer organic personal care and beauty products (such as soaps, lotions) may benefit from increased product sales.  Progressive corporations, such as Promega and Epic  support this movement by offering organic food choices for their employees in corporate cafes.

The demand for organic is widely supported by Madisonians, and as a result, local businesses that can provide organic options for consumers will see an increase in loyal and repeat customers.

Other articles you might like:

USDA’s National Organic Program

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection’s “Wisconsin Organic Farm and Business Directory

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