The Organic Center has raised $20,417 in its first crowd funding drive, part of a campaign on behalf of research seeking organic approaches to citrus greening disease.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit exceeded its goal of $15,000. So far, $78,167 has been raised toward the $310,000 needed to finance the three-year study. The UNFI Foundation provided a grant of $35,000.

The first stage of research has focused on non-toxic materials including weekly sprays of organically approved materials which can be used to control the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads citrus greening. That is expected to be complete in early 2015.

The next step is to develop procedures that control the psyllid while maintaining healthy populations of beneficial insects such as predatory insects and pollinators. Maintaining insects like lady beetles, spiders and a wasp — tamarixia radiata — is critical for long-term control of the psyllid, according to a news release.

According to the center, which is administered by the Organic Trade Association, resistance to citrus greening has been discovered in at least one Florida citrus grove. Information obtained there could be used in efforts to breed resistant varieties.