As part of a collective effort by the organic community, a number of programs with the goal of advancing organic food and farming are now underway and making a presence this week at Natural Products Expo West.
This includes initiatives to promote organic, educate consumers about organic's benefits, assist organic farmers and foster critical organic research. Less than a year ago, the Organic Trade Association created a check-off-like voluntary program to support the U.S. organic sector, called GRO Organic (Generate Results and Opportunity for Organic). Since then, specific action plans have been put in place to reduce the confusion about organic, to help farmers go organic and stay organic, and to spur research on ways that organic practices can fight climate change.
The Organic Trade Association has partnered with Organic Voices, The Organic Center, and 69 organic brands, businesses and leaders across the industry to implement programs as prototype working examples that can be expanded into even more ambitious future initiatives.
A "fishbowl discussion" is planned for organic stakeholders on Friday, March 8, to provide an update on program specifics from GRO Organic Core Committee members, and to hear from stakeholders spanning the entire organic supply chain about the latest consumer insights, messaging plans and ideas, potential governance structures and more.
A national campaign to promote organic
Organic Voices, led by Stonyfield co-founder Gary Hirshberg, and the Organic Trade Association have collaborated to fund a two-year nationwide campaign to promote organic. With $1 million already raised in the first year and another $1 million on target for year two of the campaign, Organic Voices has been working for over a year to craft a new organic messaging and education campaign to eliminate consumer confusion about organic.
Here, Hirshberg explains why brands' voices matter in stepping up to organic.