Top Organic Farms Making a Difference Around the World

Tenuta di Spannocchia in Tuscany offers cooking classes alongside tours of their organic farm
Tenuta di Spannocchia in Tuscany offers cooking classes alongside tours of their organic farm | © Valery Rizzo / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Konstantina Pyrnokoki
Travel Writer16 November 2021

It’s no secret that organic food lies at the core of healthy eating. More and more farms are now striving to produce foods that don’t contain chemicals, including using organic fertilisers – such as cattle farmyard manure – or forgoing the use of fertilisers altogether and relying on methods such as crop rotation. The following organic farms are some of the best in their field, making an impact to secure a more sustainable future.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, organic agriculture is practised in 187 countries, and 72.3 million hectares of agricultural land are managed organically by at least 3.1 million farmers. At the same time, over 15.6 million hectares of organic farmland exist in the European Union alone, while the UK is among the 10 largest organic food markets worldwide. All of these farms are true pioneers when it comes to making the world a greener place. We’ve narrowed it down to 11 for you to consider when buying organic.

Harvesting organic vegetables at Tenuta di Spannocchia in Italy | © Valery Rizzo / Alamy Stock Photo

Cedar Circle Farm, Vermont, US

This certified organic produce farm in Vermont is on a social mission to promote regenerative agriculture and develop communities of like-minded eco-supporters. Specialising in seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers, Cedar Circle Farm hosts greenhouses where community members can purchase plants to grow in their own gardens. It also runs events to raise awareness on all things green, as well as classes for children and adults that are designed to acquaint guests with the farm’s seeds, flowers, vegetables and soil.

Rhapsody Natural Foods, Vermont, US

Also based in Vermont, the family-owned Rhapsody Natural Foods makes sustainable, plant-based foods. Most produce is grown in-house at the farm’s large vegetable gardens, fruit trees and rice paddies, and the rest is sourced from local and regional producers. They use organic, minimally processed and non-GMO ingredients and specialise in fermented foods, soy and rice products – such as tempeh, miso, mochi and koji. By concentrating on homesteading, buying locally and decreasing their dependency on imported food, they aim to minimise their carbon footprint.

Highwood Crossing, Alberta, Canada

If you’re looking for organic bread, then Highwood Crossing in Alberta, Canada, is your go-to heaven. The company focuses on organic whole grains, oats, flours and cold-pressed oils, while using sustainable, organic farming methods – including crop rotation and green manure – to minimise their carbon footprint and ensure the soil stays healthy. They also take part in various philanthropic initiatives, giving back whenever possible to support slow foods and local health.

Stonyfield Organic, New Hampshire, US

This dairy company in New Hampshire started as a small farm that housed a non-profit organic farming school back in the ‘80s – the school’s mission was to help family farms survive, while maintaining healthy food production and helping protect the environment. When its founders realised they needed more funds to keep the school running, they decided to develop their own yoghurt and start selling it. It’s been a hit ever since. Stonyfield sources its yoghurt from pasture-raised cows on family farms, while all dairy is produced without pesticides, artificial hormones or antibiotics. They even have their own organic baby food line.

Straus Family Creamery, Northern California, US

Straus Family Creamery is a family-owned business which sources organic, non-GMO milk from family farms in Northern California. The company has its own dairy farm, and its mission is to embrace organic farming in all aspects of its business, implementing it in the most sustainable way. Their dairy products – which include milk, yoghurt and ice cream – are all minimally processed and formulated without stabilisers or thickeners. Their premises are powered by a methane digester that converts the methane emissions from cow manure into renewable electricity.

Green Sense Farms, Indiana, US (and globally)

Started from one farm in Indiana, Green Sense Farms has gradually evolved into a global network of indoor, hi-tech vegetable farms, producing anything from lettuces to herbs and baby greens. They are focused on sustainable agriculture, aiming to control farming conditions through indoor growing. This allows them to use less energy, reduce their carbon emissions, recycle water and minimise waste. The soilless, indoor design of the farms makes it easier to remain close to points of distribution rather than being based on the rural outskirts, while still allowing for year-round harvesting. The company’s automated computerised controls give the plants proper light, nutrients and humidity.

Seattle Urban Farm Company, Seattle, US

Seattle Urban Farm Company concentrates on sustainable urban agriculture. The company’s goal is to empower city residents to engage in urban food production by showing them how to grow their own food in the city – which is why they sell books that teach you how to grow food in your own backyard. They also have a weekly podcast about growing crops at home, and offer their services to help people design, install and maintain their urban gardens. They hope that by helping develop city-based farming ventures, they will increase public awareness around agricultural issues as a whole.

Brown Cow Organics, Pilton, UK

Brown Cow Organics is a solar-powered farm in the UK in Pilton, Somerset, that boasts nutrient-rich organic pastures and an incredible wildlife ecosystem. The farm cultivates Guernsey and beef cows to make organic yoghurt and beef products. This specific breed of cattle produces dairy that is rich in A2 beta-casein, a protein that boosts the health of the heart and improves digestion. Once produced, Brown Cow’s organic yoghurt is packaged in reusable and recyclable plastic or glass jars. The farm tries to constantly improve its soil through composting.

Atitlan Organics, Tzununa, Guatemala

This permaculture farm in the village of Tzununa, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, is famous for producing the best salads and eggs on the lake. They also produce seasonal fruits, herbs, chicken and pork – and maintain a diverse plant nursery and open-pollinated seed collection that is used to spread useful indigenous and exotic species throughout the highlands of western Guatemala. The farm offers educational and practical classes on sustainable and organic small-scale agriculture, while welcoming volunteers who wish to work on the farmstead.

The Farm Chennai, Chennai, India

Open since 1974, the Farm Chennai is a 70-acre (28ha) farm in India that hosts cows, water buffaloes, free-range chickens, turkeys and horses, next to rice paddies, vegetable fields and plantations of coconuts and eucalyptus. They are one of the few artisanal farmstead cheesemakers in the country. The farm hopes to bring together people who appreciate all things organic, and also houses a restaurant and a shop. You can take a peek at what they do on their Instagram account, which looks luscious.

Tenuta di Spannocchia, Tuscany, Italy

Lying 20km (12mi) away from Siena, Tenuta di Spannocchia is not only a farm but also a place to discover the lush Tuscan countryside, which is all about sprawling gardens, hiking trails and great wine. The organic farm’s main products include heirloom fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil – made from the Tuscan olive varieties Leccino, Pendolino, Frantoio and Moraiolo – and multi-floral honey produced from the on-site beehives. The 1,100-acre (445ha) property also organises cooking classes for children and adults as well as customised tours for visitors.

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