Despite a lagging economy, sales of organic products in the United States climbed to $24.6 billion in 2008, up 17.1 percent from 2007.

"Organic products represent value to consumers, who have shown continued resilience in seeking out these products," Christine Bushway, Organic Trade Association executive director, said in a news release.

In its annual survey, the Greenfield, Mass.-based association looked at sales of organic foods and beverages as well as non-food categories, such as fibers, personal care products and pet foods.

The survey found that organic food sales grew by 15.8 percent, reaching $22.9 billion in 2008, according to the release.

Sales of non-food items grew even more—39.4 percent—to reach $1.64 billion.

The association says that organic food sales now account for about 3.5 percent of all food sales in the United States.