From the very beginning of Earthbound Farm, our founders, Drew and Myra Goodman made a commitment to farm in harmony with the land. By growing food organically, they believed it was better for our planet, and our bodies, to keep toxic synthetic chemicals out of the environment. It’s a commitment we keep today, as we work to bring even more delicious organic produce to more people.

That’s why we were so pleased to see a new study recently released by the Organic Trade Association showing that the benefits of organic food production don’t stop there. Through conclusive research conducted by Penn State Agricultural Economist Dr. Edward Jaenicke, organic food and crop production–and the business activities accompanying organic agriculture–is now directly linked to real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities by creating jobs and economic growth, boosting household incomes and reducing poverty levels.

In the study, counties defined as “organic hotspots” (i.e. those with high levels of organic agricultural activity and whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity) boost median household incomes by an average of $2,000; reduce poverty levels by an average of 1.3 percentage points and have a greater positive impact at the county level than major anti-poverty programs. The same beneficial results are not found for general agricultural hotspots.

This is good news given that organic is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. food industry and so much opportunity remains to build on that growth and use it to help shape effective economic development policy. In other words, organic food production can be a powerful tool for addressing rural poverty and securing our financial future. Yet another reason to love (and choose) organic! Read the full study.