littlefarmIn 2007, 32.2m hectares were certified as organic farmland, an increase of 1.5m hectares from the previous year. Signaling consumers growing demand for local, organic foods.

In a new report entitled The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2009 published by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the latest data reveals the strongest growth took place in Latin America and Africa.

Crops such as coffee, cocoa and tropical fruit increased by as much as 30% with the global organic market reaching an estimated $46 billion in 2007 and most of the products are being consumed in North America and Europe.

Popular foods in these markets include olives, nuts, grapes, cereals, salad crops and dairy products and for many of these items, specifically dairy, the demand was greater than local production, resulting in more imports and national imbalances between supply and demand.

Researchers can’t predict if the growth will continue, citing a dip in demand over the last 6 months—my guess is due to the slumping economy—but authors of the report state the number of ethically committed consumers who prefer local foods is encouraging.

Now, in our ever growing green world it makes sense that more people would make the switch to organic, especially since previous studies claim organic fruits and veggies may actually be more nutritious. Good thing, because a recent report claims centuries of modern farming practices in the United States have left locally grown produce less nutritious than crops harvested just 50 years ago; Time Magazine reports.

Via FoodNavigator.