President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan is intended to revive the economy, largely by putting people back to work. A hefty chunk of that money, $40 billion, is aimed directly at creating what the administration calls “green jobs.”
Sustainable agriculture among the growing sectors:
Sustainable agriculture is a way of farming that produces food indefinitely, without causing severe or irreversible damage. There has been consistent growth in the number of organic farms and of farmers' markets in the United States over the last five years, said Aimee Witteman, executive director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Organic food sales more than quadrupled to $1.7 billion in 2007 from $393 million in 2002. Also, in 2007, 11,901 farms were being converted from conventional to organic farming, showing growth in the number of farmers who see growing organic as a viable livelihood. Shoppers are making the connection between what they eat and how they feel, and they’re increasingly choosing healthy, sustainably grown foods that safeguard public health and the environment and promote water conservation and nutrition. Several programs in the new farm bill provide loans and set-asides to help beginning farmers get into farming livelihoods, as well as to help farmers make the transition into growing food organically. The combination of strong consumer demand and public support means this sector will continue to grow, said Witteman.
Geography: In 2007, 20,437 farms reported farming organically. The following are the top five states in terms of organic farms: California, Wisconsin, Washington, New York and Oregon. The number of farmers' markets has grown by 3,000 since the Agriculture Department started collecting that information in 1994. The total reached 4,685 in August.
Jobs: Farmers and organic food certifiers