For more information, contact: Holly Givens (413-774-7511, Ext. 18)
Organic Trade Association celebrates 20 years of service
GREENFIELD, Mass. (April 12, 2005) - The Organic Trade Association (OTA), North America's voice for the organic business community, proudly marks its 20th anniversary in 2005. The OTA reports that sales of organic products reached $12.7 billion in 2004, with a steady growth rate of nearly 20 percent per year over the past 12 years. Millions of consumers now purchase organic products regularly, and their choice is based largely on the success of the organic industry's ability to promote and guarantee the integrity of the organic label. OTA's leadership, promotion, educational initiatives and protection have been integral to establishing this trust.
"We are honored to be a part of this vibrant industry and thank each of our members for their hard work and vision in helping OTA grow and prosper," says Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director since 1990.
Formed in 1985 as the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OFPANA) by a group of individuals determined to build a trusted identity for organic products, the organization has grown into the nearly 1,600-member Organic Trade Association.
OTA is dedicated to encouraging global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. As such, the association draws all segments of the organic industry to share information, create standards of excellence and promote organic products.
"The OTA . . . has become an important source of information about the challenges and successes of the organic industry to the Congressional Organic Caucus and the public," says Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin. In a floor statement to the House of Representatives on February 16, Congressman Kind congratulated OTA on its 20th year anniversary.
Highlights of the past 20 years include:
- In 1990, the OTA supported the passage of the U.S. Organic Foods Production Act and the establishment of the National Organic Standards Board. OTA is a major advocate for the U.S. National Organic Program, and was instrumental in ensuring that the final rule governing the program upheld the industry's philosophy on organic integrity.
- In 1992, OTA designated September as Organic Harvest MonthTM and began an Organic Outreach program to educate the media and consumers about organic agriculture and products. OTA continues this public relations and marketing work to promote the importance of organic farming and products.
- In 1998, OTA revamped its membership directory into The Organic Pages: North American Resource Directory. Now The Organic Pages Online, this fully searchable directory on the web helps grow the organic marketplace by connecting buyers and sellers of organic products and services from farm to retail.
- In 2001, OTA launched All Things OrganicTM , the only exclusively organic trade show in North America, held in conjunction with a conference for organic industry professionals. All Things OrganicTM is a forum for the growing organic business community to work, network with peers, and learn about emerging issues affecting organic trade.
- In 2002, OTA received a USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service Trade Policy "Teamwork Award" as part of the U.S. Organics and Wood Products Team. The award specifically cited the OTA International Relations Committee as a team member and the team's work during U.S.-Japan equivalency agreement negotiations.
- In 2002, OTA launched The O'Mama Report e-newsletter for consumers. This now monthly newsletter goes to subscribers who have registered on the web site, and features articles on organic food, clothing, gardening and other topics related to creating a healthy home. The O'Mama Report web site attracts an average of over 52,000 visitors per month.
- In 2003, OTA established The Organic Center for Education & Promotion to prove the organic benefit. The Organic Center's mission is to communicate credible, science-based organic benefits to the public, resulting in greater awareness and use of organic products, the conversion of agriculture to organic methods, and improved health for the Earth and its inhabitants.
- In 2004, OTA released its latest Manufacturer Market Survey, and looked in detail at the outlook for organic product sales by product category.
In celebration of OTA's 20th Anniversary, the association's Annual Dinner & Awards Ceremony this year will have a "Roaring 20s" theme. The dinner, held as part of the All Things OrganicTM Conference & Trade Show, will be held on Monday, May 2, at the Park West in downtown Chicago.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association whose mission is to encourage global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. OTA's nearly 1,600 members include growers, shippers, retailers, processors, certifiers, farmer associations, brokers, consultants and others. For further info, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com.
Headquarters: 60 Wells Street, P.O. Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302 USA (413) 774-7511 Fax: (413) 774-6432 e-mail: email@example.com web site: www.ota.com Legislative Office: 600 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22304 USA (202) 338-2900