September 2000 marks the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) ninth annual "Organic Harvest Month™" celebration designed to focus attention on the benefits and practices of organic agriculture and to encourage consumers to increase their use of certified organic products.
As a result, various retailers, organizations, food co-ops, farm groups, and communities around the country are planning special celebrations during September to celebrate Organic Harvest Month™. These are seen as an ideal way to share information with consumers on what organic stands for and what organic products are available.
The main message OTA wishes to convey is that "organic" refers to the way agricultural products—including foods and fibers such as cotton—are grown and processed. OTA notes that "organic" stands for a commitment to an agricultural system that strives for a balance with nature, using methods and materials of low impact to the environment. Organic production systems are designed to replenish and maintain soil fertility, eliminate the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and build a biologically diverse agriculture.
"When consumers choose organic products, they’re voting for a more vibrant planet," according to Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director.
Events to mark the celebration range from in-store promotions of various organic products, organic tasting parties, "meet the farmer" events including farm tours, and community harvest festivals. In communities where there is no organized event, OTA suggests that consumers visit their local farmers’ market to look for organic products. A list of farmers’ markets is provided on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s web site (http://www.ams.usda.gov/).
In conjunction with the September celebrations, OTA has developed the following list of "Five Easy Ways to Celebrate Organic Harvest Month" to share with consumers.
Five Easy Ways to Celebrate Organic Harvest Month
PREPARE one meal with as many organic ingredients as possible. Don’t forget to serve the organic beverage of your choice with your meal and enjoy an organic dessert. (It is a celebration.)
GO SHOPPING and fill one grocery bag with all organic products. Remember, organic isn’t just in the produce aisle, it’s in the frozen section, in the health and beauty department, and it appears everywhere between dairy and canned goods. If you can’t find organic items in your store, talk to your grocer to find out about bringing some in.
WEAR organic cotton clothing, available in everything from socks to sweaters. Enjoy the comfort and style while you support agriculture that builds healthy soils and protects the environment.
INDULGE yourself. Take a long bath in water scented with organic oils. Nibble on rich organic chocolate. Sip organic wine, beer or even a martini made with organic vodka. Buy yourself a bouquet of organically grown flowers. Cuddle in a towel or robe made from organic cotton.
SAY THANK YOU to an organic grower or producer because they’re the ones who bring organic food and fiber products to the tables and stores all across North America. Grab a friend and go to your local farmers market where you can buy organic products directly from a certified organic grower and say "Thanks!"
OTA is a membership-based business association representing the organic industry in North America. Anyone who would like to obtain more information about organic agriculture can visit OTA’s web site (http://www.ota.com).
Events during Organic Harvest Month™
Here is a list of events or celebrations occurring during September where you can learn more about organic agriculture and products. But there are countless other events where you can celebrate "organic"—perhaps at your local food cooperative or local farmers’ market. Remember to take time during September to enjoy the "fruits" of organic agriculture. These "fruits" may be fresh produce (fruits and vegetables)—or even clothing made from organically grown fiber.
The Organic Trade Association and Taste For Life Magazine have worked together to create a special insert focusing on organic for inclusion in the September issue of Taste For Life. This will be distributed nationally to more than 800 natural product chains, health food stores, and food cooperatives.
Rainbow Blossom’s two natural food stores in Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 16. Tastings, drawings and samplings. Contact: Bryony Smith, 800-448-8075, ext. 13, or 502-896-0189.
Berkeley Natural Grocery in Berkeley, CA, and El Cerrito Natural Grocery in El Cerrito, CA, are both celebrating that they now carry only 100 percent organic fresh produce.
Spectrum Organic Products is offering a special two-pack organic product promotion. Consumers can buy a bottle of organic olive oil and receive a bottle of organic balsamic vinegar free.
Community Food Co-op in Bellingham, Washington, also has indicated it will mark the event.
- Sept. 5: Heritage Tomato Tour. Equinox (Easter) Farm, Housatonic, MA. Rain date Sept. 6. Contact: Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, 413-229-8316.
- Sept. 7: The Rodale Institute’s gala benefit, "An Affair with Nature." Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Contact: 610-683-1483.
- Sept. 7-10: Natural Products Northwest 2000 Educational Conference & Trade Show. Bellevue, WA. Contact: 360-385-1186.
- Sept. 10: Epicurean Tomato Fete. Wheatleigh Hotel, Lenox, MA. Contact: Eastern native Seed Conservancy, 413-229-8316.
- Sept. 12: 12th Annual Feast of Fields, "Celebrating the Organic Harvest with Chefs and Farmers." Albion Hills Conservation Area, Bolton, Ontario, Canada. Contact: 905-859-3609.
- Sept. 12-14: Ag Expo 2000 at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. Woodstock, Ontario,Canada. Contact: 800-563-5441.
- Sept. 13: Wisconsin Farmstead Dairy Field Day. Buckwheat Acres Goat Dairy, Three Lakes, WI. Contact: 800-942-2474.
- Sept. 16: Organic Harvest Month celebration. Rainbow Blossom’s two natural foods stores, Louisville, KY. Contact: Bryony Smith, 800-448-8075, ext. 13, or 502-896-0189.
- Sept. 17: Farm Aid Concert 2000. Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, VA. Performers will include Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp. Details: www.farmaid.com/event.
- Sept. 21-24: Natural Products Expo East. Baltimore, MD. Contact: New Hope Communications, 303-939-8440.
- Sept. 21: OTA's Annual Meeting and the OTA Annual Dinner, celebrating OTA's 15-year anniversary. Baltimore, MD, in conjunction with Natural Products Expo East. Contact: Laura Stravino, 413-774-7511, ext. 23.
- Sept. 22: Field Day on open-pollinated corn research and the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial. Elkhorn, WI. Contact: 262-642-3303.
- Sept. 22-23: Festive Earth Eco-Trade Show. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Contact: 416-469-2977.
- Sept. 22-24: Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Common Ground Country Fair. Unity, ME. Contact: 207-622-3118.
- Sept. 22-24: Urban-Rural food Systems Conference. Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, WI. Contact: 262-642-3303.
- Sept. 22-25: "The Restaurant of the Future: Traditional Food, Global Technology and Culture" conference, organized by the Joe Baum Forum on the Future and the Chefs Collaborative. Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Contact: 914-452-2230.
- Sept. 26-28: Spacifically 2000 Conference and Exposition for Spa Industry Executives. Los Angeles, CA. Contact: 914-232-3929.
- Sept. 28-30: Value-Added Agriculture Co-op Forum coordinated by the National Farmers Union. Minneapolis, MN. Contact: 303-338-2537.
August 18, 2000
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