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For Immediate Release
OTA 2005 fund campaign surpasses its $500,000 goal
GREENFIELD, Mass. (March 24, 2005) -The Organic Trade Association (OTA)'s 2005 fund campaign has surpassed its $500,000 goal, raising over $510,000 for its public policy and media advocacy work for the year. The theme for this year's fund campaign was "unity and influence," underscoring the benefits of being a part of a thriving trade association and emphasizing the progress OTA has made on behalf of the organic industry over the course of 20 years.
"We asked for increased investments to mark OTA's 20th anniversary and the industry responded. We reached more companies and raised more funds than ever before, The results show a resounding stamp of approval for OTA and the work it does," said Debra Boyle, co-chair of the OTA 2005 Host Committee.
"We in the organic industry know the importance of a strong trade association, and the success of this campaign is due to OTA's tremendous work on our behalf," added campaign co-chair Eric Newman.
The OTA 2005 campaign exceeded its goal of having 200 companies participate, with more than 220 companies pledging funds to support OTA's ongoing public policy and public relations programs. These programs include disseminating positive messages about organic, increasing consumer awareness of organic products, developing additional markets for organic products and services, working with government and regulatory agencies on issues affecting the organic industry, and in general, "growing the organic industry."
Top investors, named to the Leadership Circle, are:
- Earthbound Farm (San Juan Bautista, CA), grower and shipper of more than 100 premium-quality organic salads, fruits, and vegetables.
- The Hain Celestial Group (Melville, NY), a leading natural and organic beverage, snack, specialty food and personal care products company, with such brands as Celestial Seasonings, Terra Chips, Garden of Eatin', Health Valley, WestSoy, Earth's Best, Arrowhead Mills, Hain Pure Foods, Walnut Acres Organic, Westbrae Natural, Imagine, Soy Dream, Rice Dream, Rosetto, Ethnic Gourmet, Yves Veggie Cuisine, and Jason.
- National Cooperative Grocers Association (Iowa City, IA), a national association with 98 food co-op members and more than 120 retail locations in 31 states.
- Organic Valley (La Farge, WI), a cooperative of 689 family farms in regions across America, marketing certified organic milk, butter, cheese, cultured products, juice, eggs, meats, produce, and soymilk under the Organic Valley® and Organic Prairie® brands.
- Small Planet Foods (Sedro-Woolley, WA), manufacturer of a variety of organic foods— from
frozen fruits and vegetables and canned tomato products to cereals and granola bars— under the Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen brands.
- Smucker Quality Beverages (Chico, CA), the nation's leading producer of natural and organic beverages, offering high quality products under the R.W. Knudsen Family, Santa Cruz Organic, After The Fall, and Natural Brew brands.
- Stonyfield Farm (Londonderry, NH), manufacturer of organic yogurts, yogurt smoothies, ice cream, frozen yogurt and milk.
- SunOpta Inc. (Norval, ON, Canada), a vertically integrated natural, organic and specialty food processing and distributing company focusing on environmental responsibility and the health and well-being of its communities.
- United Natural Foods, Inc. (Dayville, CT), certified organic distributor of natural and organic products to retailers nationwide.
- WhiteWave Foods (Boulder, CO), maker of leading certified organic brands, which include Silk Soymilk, the nation's first refrigerated soymilk, and Horizon Organic dairy products, eggs and juices.
- Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Austin, TX), retailer of natural and organic foods, with 168 stores across the United States.
"OTA has an ambitious agenda for 2005, and these fund will make a huge difference," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director, explaining that OTA plans to expand its presence in Washington, D.C., and ramp up its national public relations programs. DiMatteo said participants on the all-volunteer Host Committee were vital to the campaign's success.
Boyle of SunOpta and Newman of Organic Valley led the campaign. Other members of the host committee included Bob Burke of Natural Products Consulting Institute, David Gagnon of the Organic Trade Association staff, Paul Gingerich of Wild Oats Markets, Jennifer Grant of Harmony Whole Foods Market, Bob Hansburry of Tree of Life, Nancy Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm, Annie Hunt of National Cooperative Grocers Association, Dale Kamibayashi of Rapunzel Pure Organics, Ron Lautrup of United Natural Foods, Inc., Julia Sabin of Smucker Quality Beverages, Inc., and Anthony Zolezzi of Zolezzi Consulting.
A list of OTA 2005 investors is posted on OTA's web site (www.ota.com/about/2005investors.html) and will be included in the July edition of The Organic Report, OTA's membership news magazine.
OTA celebrated this and other organic industry achievements at OTA's Organic Industry Reception March 17 in Anaheim, CA, with New Hope Natural Media as co-host. Attended by 900 members and supporters, the industry reception featured an array of seasonal organic foods and beverages. OTA 2005 investors received tickets to the reception and a package of other benefits, depending on their investment level.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business association representing the organic agriculture industry in North America. Its more than 1,550 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. Founded in 1985, OTA encourages global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade.
March 24, 2005
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