The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been advocating for organic food and farming for more than two decades. I have worked alongside many pioneers and have seen organic farming grow from a fledgling movement available to few, into a $40 billion a year industry. Despite years of double-digit growth, the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. is struggling to keep pace with soaring consumer demand.
My family’s egg business was saved by going organic. We were rescued again when we joined forces with the Organic Trade Association to fight a regulation that threatened the continuation of our operation. Now the organic sector has a chance to band together for a common cause that could benefit the entire organic industry and better all of our futures.
Thirty years ago when I started in the organic produce industry, it was called a trade—a cottage industry whose participants had no inkling of what it would become today. There was no formal way to cool and ship product, no salad mix, and a handful of apple varieties. We spent hours on the phone trying to get a purchase order and celebrated when we did. We waged an uphill battle to establish credibility in a market that asked for quick and easy and didn't want to know where food came from. We were determined to overcome the obstacles of logistics and naysayers.
After many years of dialog, there is a proposed research and promotion check-off program designed just for ORGANIC. All that’s needed now is YOUR comment to USDA supporting this game-changing initiative.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last couple of months reassessing the future. The outcome of the 2016 presidential election was not what I expected.
As a policymaker—especially with my work in agriculture—it’s forced me to re-approach questions I previously thought I had answers to (or at least educated guesses).
Farmers Advisory Council
The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) is growing its organizational and direct member participation. Numerous farmer organizations across the country have expressed interest in joining FAC, and OTA looks forward to working with each organization in facilitating their involvement. Similarly, as OTA continues to grow its direct farmer membership, we expect participation on FAC to develop in both its breadth and depth.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is governed by a Board of Directors that is primarily elected by OTA’s trade membership. OTA’s three standing Board committees correspond to the broad governance functions that cut across all association operations. Together, the Board’s Executive, Community Relations, and Executive committees determine the full Board agenda.
The Organic Trade Association unites and serves more than 8,500 organic farmers, handlers, ranchers, processors, distributors, and retailers across the organic supply chain. In fact, 2016 saw the biggest growth in OTA membership in over five years. If you’re one of the many members who already relies on OTA for its government relations, media outreach, and market insights work, thank you for your support. If not, take a look at a few of the many highlights of OTA’s work on behalf of the sector, and join us in our work to chart organic’s future.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has hired two experienced government affairs professionals to join its team.
Kelley Poole (above, left) is now OTA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. In addition, Megan DeBates (above, right) has been named Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions Both based at OTA’s Washington, D.C., office at the Hall of the States, they will help introduce organic food and farming to the new Administration and Congress.