BOULDER, Colo. (June 30, 2008) —Two hundred of the organic industry’s top stakeholders, from a fourth-generation organic peach farmer to Coca-Cola executives, engaged in the working forum of the 2008 Organic Summit (www.organicsummit.com), held in Boulder, Colo., June 25-27. This year’s conference addressed issues around food justice, supply and accessibility, and the challenges facing both small- and large-scale organic farms. The intimate gathering was produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, in partnership with the nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF).
“The organic community still faces a number of challenges—scale of operation and profitability of organic farming—but the different perspectives that used to divide us pale in comparison to what now unites us,” said Bob Scowcroft, executive director of OFRF. “What I was pleased to observe was the consensus that the multiple benefits that arise out of organic practices can provide solutions to some of the world’s major social issues—from climate change to current health concerns. This summit provides a platform for continuous improvement in our organic systems.”
Total U.S. organic foods market growth is currently pacing at 17 percent, according to the recently released Organic Markets Overview issue of Nutrition Business Journal (www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com), contrasting sharply with conventional foods market growth of only 2.9 percent.
“We’re honored to facilitate the dialogue of this rapidly expanding market, and have farmers participate in the process, elbow-to-elbow with manufacturers, retailers and academics,” said Jylle Lardaro, director of Organic Industry Alliances for New Hope Natural Media.
“I have never felt more appreciated as an organic farmer,” said Marilyn Lynn, Rama Farm, Bridgeport, Wash.
The Organic Summit’s closing keynotes were Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea, and Michael Ohmstede, senior vice president of business development for venturing and emerging brands at Coca-Cola North America. Goldman presented the recent partnership of his company with the world’s largest beverage company as a way to increase distribution of the organic line of tea as well as their support of supplier communities.
“The more we sell—as long as it’s the same honest product we’ve produced for the past ten years—the more good we do,” said Goldman.
The 2009 Organic Summit will take place June 3-5, 2009 at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA.
New Hope Natural Media (www.newhope.com), a division of the Penton Media, Inc., is the leading media resource and information provider for the natural, organic and healthy products industry with print, in-person/event, and e-business products and services. The Organic Summit team also produces Natural Products Expo East/Organic Products Expo-BioFach America (www.expoeast.com) Oct. 15 – 18, 2008 in Boston. Penton Media, Inc. is the largest independent business-to-business media company in the U.S., serving more than six million business professionals every month. The company’s market-leading brands are focused on 30 industries and include 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 150 industry trade shows and conferences, and more than 500 information data products. Headquartered in New York City, the privately held company is owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP, and its coinvestors. For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit www.penton.com.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (www.ofrf.org) is a national nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1990 to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. The OFRF pursues this mission by sponsoring research related to organic farming; disseminating research results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic production practices; and educating the public and decision makers about organic farming issues. Working organic farmers from across the U.S. make up the majority of the OFRF's board of directors.