It’s been a busy year for the organic industry, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), with record sales in the U.S., intensifying competition for the attention of the increasingly savvy organic consumer, and a dogged debate over what organic really stands for.
Officials with the OTA will deliver a timely and important two-day conference program, “All Things Organic,” at the Natural Products Expo East show in Baltimore, MD, on September 17 – 20 to provide critical information to help representatives of the organic industry keep up with the issues having the biggest impact on their bottom lines.
The OTA conference, to be held September 18-19, will offer the most up-to-date picture of the state of the organic industry and will also provide a look into the future with discussion centering around innovative approaches that are encouraging more farmers to go organic. It will zero in on the push for a non-GMO label and address whether secondary certifications are necessary or if they just add to consumer confusion The conference will also provide an analysis of recent regulatory changes affecting organic businesses and feature an expert panel to discuss the latest developments in the rapidly growing organic fiber sector.
“Every year, OTA’s “All Things Organic” program garners much well-deserved attention and sparks conversation,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director, OTA. “Organic is becoming a bigger part of our daily lives, from organic’s huge role in the farm-to-table movement valuing the freshest and safest ingredients in our diet, to more consumers wanting their fabrics, household and beauty products to be made from environmentally-friendly organic ingredients. Our conference helps sort through and clarify the key issues and developments that the organic community needs to be aware of.”
Sales of organic food and non-food products in the U.S. in 2013 hit $35.1 billion, a new record and up almost 12 percent from the previous year.
A keynote panel discussion on the current and future state of the organic industry will kick off the conference that will be hosted by Sam Fromartz, editor-in-chief at the Food & Environment Reporting Network and author of Organic, Inc. The session will feature Batcha; organic farmer Doug Crabtree, winner of OTA’s 2014 Organic Farmer of the Year Award; Anne Alonzo, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service; and Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.
According to the trade association ,“All Things Organic” will look at the supply/demand issue and will feature some of the country’s most forward-thinking organic farmers and researchers talking about ways being explored to make organic farming more accessible to beginning and established farmers.
Consumer confusion about just what organic means and the widespread concern over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) will be addressed at another session of the conference and the issue of whether more product labels certifying the absence of GMOs would help or hinder consumers will be addressed.
For more information, visit www.organicnewsroom.com.