The organic industry is on track for a six-fold increase in the next five years, having grown from $6.1 billion in sales in 2000 to $29.2 billion in sales in 2011 (4.2% of total food sales in the U.S that year). Consumer demand continues to drive steady growth of this sector, which is indicated by average growth of 8% per year since 2002.
The snap bean is a vegetable in the Fabaceae family and does have the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobium spp. Historically, easy access to nitrate-based soil amendments at a relatively low cost has precluded the need to develop cultivars with improved nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE). Excessive fertilizer applications containing 40 to over 100 lbs. of N / acre have resulted in leaching and the contamination of ground and surface water.
Identifying appropriate varieties for organic production in the mountains of Western North Carolina is considered a research priority by local growers.
Organic tomato, eggplant and watermelon production in Washington is limited by soilborne diseases such as Verticillium wilt. This project explores the efficacy and costs of grafting tomato, eggplant and watermelon in Washington and explores inexpensive and small-scale appropriate greenhouse grafting techniques.