A Canadian entrepreneur and hemp food pioneer will be honored as a “Rising Star” in the organic sector at the 2016 Organic Leadership Awards dinner in September hosted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
Selected to receive the Organic Rising Star Award, Mike Fata of Canada-based Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods first became involved in the organic industry in his twenties, shortly after he helped legalize industrial hemp in Canada and started Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. Partnering directly with Canadian farmers, he has advocated for more organic acres for over a decade. As CEO of Manitoba Harvest, he has insisted on organic options and helped bring organic to mainstream markets in North America and around the world.
“Advocating for organic is advocating for a larger change in our world. It is a change that involves a movement of enlightened people. Being recognized as a rising star within the movement is a tremendous honor,” explained Fata, CEO and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. “I’m proud to share this honor with my entire team at Manitoba Harvest who aspire to continue growing the organics industry.”
Fata is committed to continue learning, educating and working with farmers to encourage transitioning land to become certified organic, and stressing the importance of organic certification at retail and consumer trainings. A long-time member of the OTA, he currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Canada Organic Trade Association. Fata also sits on the Canadian Health Food Association Board, where he helps advocate for organic options across the entire industry.
“Mike takes a hands-on approach, actively involved in the day-to-day promotion of the organic industry. Whether dealing with suppliers, customers or consumers, he ensures organic is part of the conversation,” said Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the Canopy and a member of the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association.
Just in Canada, research shows that 98 percent of consumers expect to increase their purchases of organic food next year. Demand for certified organic food exceeds current supply. This year, Fata and Manitoba Harvest’s Farm Services team increased their contracted organic hemp acreage by 60 percent. The plan is to continue increasing organic hemp acres and educating on organic farming practices overall.