Steve Crider doesn't see a problem with being outspoken and tenacious, especially when it comes to getting things done in Washington to support the organic food and agriculture movement and to act as advocate and champion for the organic industry.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is honoring Crider for his strong and consistent voice and active commitment to organic by selecting him as the trade association's Member of the Year. Crider, who works for Amy's Kitchen based in Petaluma, Calif., will be the first individual to receive the award. The award will be presented at OTA's 2014 Annual Meeting Sept. 17 in Baltimore in conjunction with Natural Products Expo East.
Crider has been with Amy's Kitchen for 10 years and has worked as that company's liaison for government and industry affairs for the past three years. In this role, he has been able to support Amy's passion and commitment to the organic food movement at the policy level.
"This special recognition was created to honor people like Steve who are truly engaged long-time members, actively serving on OTA task forces and standing committees, participating in OTA events, and serving overall as an ambassador for OTA and the industry," said Laura Batcha, OTA's executive director and CEO, in announcing the selection.
When informed of the award, Crider noted, "My work with OTA combines my great passion for the sustainable food and agriculture movement with my deep interest in politics and government. It's been an honor and a great pleasure for me to be able to apply my creative energy to this important work."
He added, "We are in a very important time for the organic food movement—with challenges internal and external. It is crucial that we have more voices in support of sustainable and organic agriculture be heard, speaking to the powers that be in order to create a food system that will meet the demands of the 21st century. The deeper I get involved in this work, the more I see a need for people from our side to be outspoken, tenacious, tireless activists for organic. In the current political climate, it is no longer enough just to 'support' organic – we need to really engage with the political arena to help direct the systemic changes we need and want to see happen."
Crider's many contributions to the work of OTA have included co-chairing its U.S.-Asia Task Force, participating in its Mexico, Non-GMO and Food Safety task forces, serving on the Organic Political Action Committee (PAC), joining the Organic Research and Promotion Program Steering Committee, stepping up as a team leader at OTA's annual Policy Conference and delivering letters to congressional offices. OTA members will have the chance to recognize him during OTA's Annual Meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. Sept 17 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.