cows in field

OFRF To Compile Science On Organic Farming Benefits

Names Team to Lead Research Review

Added December 2, 2010. Santa Cruz, CA -- The Organic Farming Research Foundation today announced the launch of a sweeping research initiative to investigate the potential benefits of organic agriculture. The non-profit foundation recently hired a team to lead the inquiry and intends to release results in the spring of 2011.

OFRF Deputy Director and project manager Maureen Wilmot says, initially, researchers will scope existing scientific literature and analyze data.

Carolyn Dimitri

“There is an accumulating body of research suggesting organic agriculture delivers many benefits to society beyond the obvious advantages of enhancing soil quality and reducing the level of toxins entering our food supply,” said Wilmot. “We will document those benefits and share our results widely.”

Carolyn Dimitri, a former senior economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will direct the literature review. Dimitri is currently a visiting associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University.

Loni Kemp

Loni Kemp, a Minnesota-based agriculture and conservation policy analyst, will synthesize results and offer policy recommendations on how new policies might recognize and reward benefits provided to society by organic farms. The team will also identify gaps in organic research to help set the stage for future study.

“The team of Dimitri and Kemp brings a tremendous depth of expertise and experience to the study. We are pleased they have agreed to join us in this groundbreaking work,” said Wilmot.

“The past decade or more of sustained growth in the organic sector indicates that consumer support of organic food is strong and growing. The time is right for a comprehensive assessment of the state of organic research and policy regarding the benefits of organic production,” said Dimitri.

The researcher’s literature review is already underway, and Dimitri will discuss the scope of the project in a public forum this week at the Agronomy, Soil Science and Crop Science Societies of America annual meeting in Long Beach, CA.

OFRF is working with a five-member advisory panel to produce the Multiple Benefits of Organic Agriculture Project. Panel members include George Boody, Executive Director of the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota; Cornelia Flora, the Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Science and Sociology at Iowa State University; Kim Haddow, President of Haddow Communications, Inc.; Elysa Hammond, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar & Company.; and Ann Thrupp, an OFRF Board member and Manager of Sustainability and Organic Development at Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland, CA.

Additional advisory panel biographical information available at

About the Organic Farming Research Foundation?
Founded in 1990, the Organic Farming Research Foundation is celebrating 20 years of advancing organic agriculture. OFRF sponsors organic farming research and education projects and disseminates the results to organic farmers and others interested in adopting organic production systems. The foundation also educates the public and policymakers about organic farming issues. The majority of OFRF’s board members are organic farmers. Learn more at