ROGERSVILLE, Mo -- Organic foods are now an international commodity. A new export market to add to the income of American growers, and an import market of overseas produce and grain.
From pigs, to chickens, to carrots and kale--Ozark Natural Foods, just outside Rogersville, is one of the very few Certified Organic Farms in Southwest Missouri.
"Even a lot of the big stores are starting to inquire about getting local produce, sustainably grown or organically certified or both," said owner Meera Scarrow.
Scarrow owns the farm as a side project with her husband Alan. "If you look at organic farming as a whole, over the last few years it is the largest sector of the food industry as far as growth," she said.
The demand is growing some 17-20% a year and could soon increase thanks to an agreement between the European Union and the United States. "The EU and the US are both the biggest producers as well as the biggest consumers of organic produce," explained Scarrow.
The agreement will allow organically produced goods certified in Europe or the United States to be sold as organic in both regions. "tThe investment of time and the investment of money have to be justified by the cost that you can sell your produce or meat for," said Scarrow.
Meera says becoming certified organic is neither cheap or easy. Ruell Chappell of Well Fed Neighborhood Market says his vendors would tend to agree. "A guy with 15 acres like myself-it costs a lot of money to get organic certification. You have to pay a guy from Columbia or Jefferson City to come here. The minute he leaves his office it's $90 an hour," said Chappell.
While Meera and Ruell both admit they don't plan to sell any good internationally just yet, they say the move will be good for organic farming in the years to come.
"We can truck food out of here just like we can truck it in," said Chappell.