Organic Consumers Association

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How Many Organic Gardeners Are There in the U.S.?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Organic Transitions page.

The number of U.S. households that use only all-natural fertilizer, insect, and weed controls increased from an estimated 5 million households in 2004 to 12 million in 2008 according to results of NGA's 2004 and 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden surveys. This trend reflects the increasing importance people attribute today to maintaining lawns and gardens in an environmentally friendly way. And this trend is expected to increase in the future.

The 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey asked a representative sample of U.S. households, In your opinion, how important is it that residential, commercial, and municipal lawns and landscapes be maintained in an environmentally friendly way? Eighty-nine percent of all U.S. households responded that this is important. Further, a majority of 57 percent of all households said it is ″extremely important″ or ″very important.″ About 1 out of 3 households (32 percent) said it is ″somewhat important,″ and fewer than 1 out of 10 households feel that maintaining lawns and landscapes in an environmentally friendly way is ″not very important″ (5 percent) or ″not at all important″ (2 percent).

We also asked survey respondents who use only all-natural fertilizer, insect, and weed controls why they prefer all-natural gardening methods. The top five reasons given clearly reflect these households' interest in being environmentally responsible and their concern for health and well being: it's better for the environment (73 percent); to reduce the risk of exposure to chemicals in my yard (59 percent); to reduce water pollution through fertilizer runoff (54 percent); it fits my way of life (43 per cent); and to produce my own, safe, fresh produce (37 per cent). It appears that using all-natural gardening methods for this group is part of an overall lifestyle.

The 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey also asked respondents with a yard or garden how likely it is that they will start using all-natural gardening methods in the future. Of the estimated 100 million U.S. households with a yard or garden, 17 percent (or 17 million households) said they definitely will start using all-natural gardening methods in the future, 22 percent (22 million) said they probably will, 28 percent (28 million) said they might or might not, 10 percent (10 million households) said they probably will not, and 2 percent (2 million) said they definitely will not start using all-natural gardening methods in the future.

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