Some 200 organic stakeholders gathered this spring in Washington, D.C., for the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Policy Conference to talk about the future of organic, and their roles in that future. Meeting in the historic National Press Building where for almost 100 years journalists have heard from American presidents and lawmakers, foreign heads of state, business titans and international celebrities, the organic advocates had a lot on their minds.
Organic is one of many drivers influencing consumer behavior now and moving forward. The advantage organic has over other influencers is that it has ties to several areas including sustainability, health, motivation and behavioral drivers. These alliances serve to strengthen its position as a leading lady who does best when flanked by her best friends.
I am asked with some regularity about whether e-commerce will obliterate the grocery store as we know it. I wouldn’t bet on it. It is true that food retailers have not (yet) seen the same kind of disruption owing to convenience seeking and showrooming behaviors that other types of merchants face. Meal kit services have made a big splash and gotten more folks cooking, but I wonder if people keep the training wheels on once they become comfortable in the kitchen.
Two individuals and a farming couple receiving Organic Leadership Awards from the Organic Trade Association in September have the drive to make a difference, a strong belief that organic practices are the way to go, and a commitment to mentoring others.
The House and Senate are currently conducting conference committee negotiations where they will have to work out the vast differences between their two different versions of the farm bill. They have until September 30 to report a final farm bill, vote on it and pass it in the House and Senate, and then send to the President for signature before the current farm bill expires.
In late 2016, more than 500 organic operations, from organic fruit and vegetable growers, grains and oilseed farmers, livestock and poultry producers, dairy farmers, organic processors, and food makers across 45 states, participated in a comprehensive farm bill survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).