Where to Buy Organic Food
- Direct From the Farmer
- Farmers’ Markets
- Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
- Local Food Buying Clubs
- Community Food Co-ops
- State or Regional Guides
- Ozark Cooperative Warehouse
- Major health food chains
- Most major supermarkets
Use this guide to find organic farmers. Many market directly. Some of them feature produce stands, Upick operations, or mail order.
CSA farms are partnerships between consumers and farmers. For a fee (usually paid for an entire season), subscribing consumers receive shares (usually weekly) of fresh, locally grown food in season. Some CSAs deliver to collection points. Others arrange for their members to come to the farm to pick up their allotments. Some include eggs and meat products. Consumers are guaranteed fresh produce, but they share production risks with their farmer. Farmers receive operating capital at the beginning of the season, have less risk, and are able to focus more on production and less on marketing.
Local food buying clubs are the best source of organic food in many areas. United Natural Foods Inc. is one option available in Kentucky and Tennessee. Each state has more than 30 UNFI buying clubs. See www.unitedbuyingclubs.com.
To find one near you, do an on-line search for food buying cooperatives. A database of health food stores and co-ops in the U.S. can be found at www.greenpeople.org/ search2nd.cfm?type=Food_Coops. Examples of co-ops in the southern region are:
- Ozark Natural Foods, Fayetteville, AR
- Good Food Co-op, Lexington, KY
- Sunshine Health Foods, Shreveport and Bossier City, LA
- Eve’s Market, New Orleans, LA
- Rainbow Whole Foods Cooperative Grocery, Jackson, MS
- Marketplace Co-op, Nashville, TN
- Midtown Food Co-op, Memphis, TN
- Morningside Buying Club, Liberty, TN
- Knoxville Community Food Cooperative, Knoxville, TN
- Whole Earth Co-op,.Gatlinburg, TN
Check with your state to see whether it publishes guides for local food. For example, the Arkansas Agriculture Product Market sponsors Naturally Arkansas. Naturally Arkansas has a listing of the farmers’ markets, U-pick farms, retail vendors, and other information about agricultural production within the state.
Ozark Cooperative Warehouse started in 1989 as a local buying club and currently has more than 1,000 members and stocks more than 6,000 natural and organic products. Members are from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Contact Ozark Cooperative Warehouse at 479-521-4920/ 479-521-9100, or www.ozarkcoop.com.
Major health food chains, such as Whole Foods or Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, offer a wide variety of organic products in many larger cities.
Most major supermarkets have organic produce and dairy sections; many have an organic section.
grown between 17 and 21 percent
each year since 1997, to nearly tri-
ple in sales, while total U.S. food
sales over this time period have
grown in the range of only 2 to 4
percent a year. Organic food sales
now represent approximately 2
percent of U.S. food sales, valued
at $10.38 billion. (Organic Trade
Association’s 2004 Manufacturer