Natural Foods Merchandiser

The Organic Summit offers collaboration, conversation

By Marty Traynor Spencer

Nanotechnology and its impact on agricultural systems, food security, organic integrity and transparency, venture philanthropy and textiles' role in organics are among the issues to be discussed at The Organic Summit.

The summit, a leader-level working forum for the organic industry, will be held June 25-27 in Boulder, Colo. Among more than 200 attendees will be manufacturers, producers, retailers, academics and representatives from nongovernmental organizations.

Jylle Lardaro, director of organic industry alliances for New Hope Natural Media, The Natural Foods Merchandiser's parent company, said she believes the summit is an opportunity for candid conversations that encourage collaboration between organic industry members.

"The environment of The Organic Summit facilitates innovative solutions," Lardaro said.

While certified organic products are increasingly finding their way into the mainstream, they represent only 3.5 percent of the total food economy in the United States. The organic community is challenged with the impact that agro-industrial globalization is having on our food supply, the prolonged delay of the farm bill and the ongoing debate among organic stakeholders on the nuances of organic standards and policy initiatives.

"Most would agree that our roots are planted in the progressive social, environmental and community movement, but how we interpret and implement our values in a rapidly changing and entrepreneurial business climate deserves, if not demands, further exploration," said Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Research Farming Foundation. "The Organic Summit program is designed to dig deep into the most significant organic topics."

In addition to the timely and provocative breakout sessions, Daria Myers, global president of New York-based Origins Natural Resources, will present the opening keynote, and Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea, based in Bethesda, Md., will give the closing keynote.

This year's theme is "Cultivating Innovation and Transparency in the Organic Community." The Organic Summit, produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, in partnership with the nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation, will be held at the St. Julien Hotel and Spa. To register, visit www.the√ā¬≠

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 5/p. 11

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