Natural Foods Merchandiser

Organics gets fresh exposure at Baltimore show

At Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, seminars and functions throughout the weekend will spotlight organic issues, organizations and leaders—and maybe add a little fun to the mix, too.

All Expo attendees are invited to enjoy organic food and drinks, groove to live tunes, and check out table-top displays at the second annual Organic Harvest Festival. The free festival will be outside on the third-level terrace of the Baltimore Convention Center from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26.

To celebrate leaders who have inspired others in the organic industry and pushed organic issues to new levels, a reception at the historic InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel will honor the 2007 Spirit of Organic awards recipients. From 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, the soiree will feature organic wine and beer and organic appetizers. Tickets for this event are $75 and are available at registration. Proceeds will benefit the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. Elaine Lipson, director of organic alliances and strategic initiatives for New Hope Natural Media, says she's excited that IFOAM was added as a beneficiary of the event this year, strengthening an emphasis on the international organic movement.

"Expo East is a particularly special gathering for the organic industry," Lipson says. "All our international organic friends come, and Baltimore is a great place for local organic foods." Three educational seminars will also focus on organic issues, starting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, with "The National Organic Program: What it is and how it works." Andrea Caroe, executive director for the San Diego, Calif.-based nonprofit Protected Harvest and current chair of the National Organic Standards Board, and Tom Hutcheson, regulatory and policy manager for the Organic Trade Association, will help demystify the governmental program that regulates organic foods in the United States. Caroe and Hutcheson will also give guidance about maintaining organic certification. At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28, Expo attendees can gain insight about "How to be a Farmer-Friendly Company." As custo?mers ask more about where their food comes from, maintaining a good relationship with farmers is becoming an increasingly important part of customer service. This seminar is aimed at empowering retailers and manufacturers to help new organic farmers succeed and use the values of small and family-owned farms to build stronger brands and companies.

Later, at "Educating New Organic Eaters," retailing consultant Fran McManus will give retailers tips about how to better reach out to customers who are new to organic shopping, cooking and dining. The seminar will offer advice from a chef and a nutritionist about educating these key customers. To bring organic values and science to a personal level, featured speaker Dr. Alan Greene will present his Organic Prescription Friday at 8:30 a.m. Greene will share his advice as a pediatrician, author and father about why choosing organic makes a difference, and how to inspire and inform consumers to make a change in their lives.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 18

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