OTA 2006 fund campaign raises over $500,000 - Organic Trade Association
Organic Trade Association
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OTA 2006 fund campaign raises over $500,000


News Release   
For Immediate Release    

For more information, contact:
Holly Givens  (413) 774-7511

OTA 2006 fund campaign raises over $500,000

GREENFIELD, Mass. (April 17, 2006) -The Organic Trade Association (OTA)'s 2006 fund campaign has raised over $518,000 for its public policy, media relations and advocacy work for the year. The theme for this year's fund campaign was "Evolving the Organic Agenda," reflecting OTA's ambitious goals for the organic business community and the association in 2006 and beyond.
In looking to the future, OTA's Board of Directors during 2005 adopted a new vision that sees organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life.

"We asked our members and other organic businesses to show support of that vision by making a contribution to OTA, and they responded positively. They know that OTA is the primary organization to advance an agenda to benefit all who care about the environment, farmers, and a thriving organic marketplace," said Debra Boyle, co-chair of the OTA 2006 Host Committee.

"It is important to have a strong trade association. The success of this campaign reflects the organic business community's recognition of how vital OTA's work is," added campaign co-chair Eric Newman.

In the OTA 2006 campaign, more than 210 companies pledged funds to support OTA's work. OTA has approximately 1,700 members, the majority of which are small businesses. In fact, 47 percent of OTA's members report less than $100,000 in annual revenue from organic sales.
"OTA has an ambitious agenda for 2006, and these funds will make a huge difference toward achieving that agenda. All investments, big and small, have made this campaign a success," said Caren Wilcox, OTA's executive director, praising the all-volunteer Host Committee for their key role in the campaign.

A primary focus of OTA's work during the next year will be to advocate for an Organic Title in the 2007 Farm Bill. Such a provision, OTA believes, will bring government recognition and support of organic agriculture and trade to new levels. OTA has also committed to launching OTA Canada in 2006. This effort will significantly expand OTA programming and resources in Canada. Annual Fund contributions from companies in Canada are earmarked for the work of OTA Canada.

Top investors, named to the Leadership Circle, are:

  • Organic Valley (La Farge, WI), a cooperative of 752 family farms in regions across America, marketing certified organic milk, butter, cheese, cultured products, juice, eggs, meats, produce, and soy beverages under the Organic Valley®  and Organic Prairie®  brands.
  • Seeds of Change (Santa Fe, NM), manufacturer of organic pasta sauces, frozen entrees, salad dressings, rice and grain side dishes, and salsas as well as organic seed and garden products.
  • 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 182 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
  • Wholesome Sweeteners (Sugar Land, TX), U.S. market leading supplier of organic and Fair Trade Certified( cane sugars, organic molasses, organic blue agave and organic light corn syrups for retailers and food manufacturers.

Debra Boyle (SunOpta, Inc.) and Eric Newman (Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Inc.) served as co-chairs for the campaign. Other members of the host committee included Hélène Bouvier (Minneshwata Valley Organics Canada, Inc.), Bob Burke (Natural Products Consulting Institute), Tony Faudel (United Natural Foods, Inc.), Dave Gagnon (OTA), Nancy Hirshberg (Stonyfield Farm, Inc.), Dale Kamibayashi (Ceres Organic Harvest, Inc.), Pauline McKee (Wholesome Sweeteners, Inc.), Rick Moller (Tree of Life, Inc.), Kelly Monaghan (Ash Street Enterprises), Jeff Rakity (Moore Ingredients), Julia Sabin (Smucker Quality Beverages, Inc.) and Michelle Sayers (Kehe Food Distributors).

A list of OTA 2006 investors is posted on OTA's web site ( 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 23 in Anaheim, CA, with New Hope Natural Media as co-host. Attended by 900 members and supporters, the industry reception highlighted Mediterranean-theme dishes prepared by six featured chefs. OTA 2006 investors received tickets to the reception and a package of other benefits.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the business association representing the organic agriculture industry in North America. Its 1,700 members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA encourages global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade.


April 17, 2006

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