Narrator: This is Science Today. Organic agriculture is the fastest growing segment of farming today and in the United States consumer spending on organic produce is on the rise as the organic industry branches out to more conventional channels. Julie Guthman, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, says another major trend is the growth of the ‘super natural' supermarkets, like Whole Foods.
Guthman: If you're in the business of having a major, square footage natural foods store, you have to have product in the market all the time. So that drives the need for processors to make those salsas and those cereals and those crackers and those tortilla chips, that are really the mainstay in those sorts of stores.
Narrator: Guthman led the first comprehensive study of organic farming in California.
Guthman: There was several studies on the science of organics, but no real social science studies on this and certainly none in California, which is arguably the center of organic production and consumption, at least in the United States.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.