Organic Industry Leaders Gather at the Hill to Celebrate Outstanding Members

This week, organic farmers and food companies are gathered in the nation’s Capitol for a conversation on policy and leadership.

Washington Bureau Chief Emily Buck recaps the event.

The Organic Trade Association is recognizing outstanding members for their dedication to the industry and innovative solutions for agriculture. This year’s organic pioneer is Mayra Velazquez De Leon of Organics Unlimited, which is celebrating 22 years in business and 17 years of its Grow program.

“GROW stands for giving resources and opportunities to workers. I’m immensely proud of this program, which has given back so much to our farm working communities or small family business organic some of the millet is now in its fourth generation and has grown into a recognizable champion with a purpose.”

As both growers and importers of organic bananas, she says they understand the challenges facing the industry.

“We face several challenges educating the consumer that faces an increasing number of labels. Evolving the Organic Program, the needs of our really changing society. But one of the leading challenges that we now face features multinationals pressuring both pricing and growers.”

Britt Lundren of Stoneyfield Organic received the Climate Action Award and praised the Association for staying focused on climate goals amidst pandemic and supply chain challenges.

“We’ve spent the past few days and focused on climate change and Diversity and Equity and Inclusion. We are thinking ahead and once again, organic is leading the way.”

She called on members to be vocal about organic agriculture’s role in climate solutions.

“We have not been at the forefront of quantifying the benefits that we create with organic agriculture and the time is now to figure that out and to bring that message forward in our businesses and when we go to the Hill.”

Amy Burch of Cyclone Farms was also named Organic Farmer of the Year, and the Community Service Award was presented to Cassie Cyphers and Scott Erickson of Clif Bar & Company, who were not able to attend the event in person this year.


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