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Organic Leadership Awards

The Organic Trade Association's Annual Organic Leadership Awards recognize individuals who have shown leadership and vision in furthering the goals of the organic movement. 

The Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors determines the categories and criteria for each year’s awards. In 2024, we will present awards in the following five categories: 


NEW! Organic Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominees are long-standing trade members who have dedicated their careers to the furtherance of organic agriculture and trade by providing broad vision, successful solutions, and the labor and leadership required to bring dreams into reality. Nominees should be considered movement and/or trade elders who helped lay foundations in their youth and continue to contribute by providing us with their wisdom and passion through efforts and positions such as mentorship, advocacy, trade governance and management roles. 

Organic Farmer of the Year Leadership Award

Nominees should be professional farmers* who have made significant contributions to support and advance organic agriculture and trade at the farm level, such as increasing the amount of land under organic management, expanding the number of farmers using organic practices, or advancing organic agriculture through farm policy advocacy, community education, or innovative land stewardship and technical practices.

*For the purposes of the OTA Leadership Award, a farmer is defined as someone who:

  • Owns, leases, or is a partner in an organic farm;
  • and has a full-time functional role as an organic farmer;
  • and derives their primary income from an organic farm.

Organic Climate Action Leadership Award

Nominees are demonstrating exemplary leadership in advancing organic solutions to mitigate climate change through policy advocacy, farm to business innovation, or engagement of their peers, customers, and supply chains.

Organic Groundbreaker Leadership Award

Nominees have made a significant impact on the continuous improvement of the organic trade through the development, application and sharing of innovative and potentially disruptive thinking, discovery, tools, activities or practices. Nominees demonstrate a commitment to organic; display vision, leadership and integrity throughout their activities; demonstrate collaboration across stakeholders; and demonstrate a positive influence amongst their colleagues. 

Organic Social Impact Award

Nominees are individuals, teams or organizations who have gone above and beyond standard business practices to be a source of positivity and build social value for a broad community of stakeholders. Nominees have demonstrated deep engagement and impact in communities from which they source or operate, taken meaningful action to create a more just and equitable society via their business operations or advocacy, and/or have shown themselves to be exceptional in responding to societal moments of suffering such as natural disasters or pandemics. These actions often transcend the functional responsibilities of their business or their role within their organization and demonstrate leadership in serving a greater public good. 

Submit a Nomination              Past Honorees             Selection Procedure             

General Criteria

In making an award, OTA considers individuals who have:

  • Demonstrated skill, innovation, personal commitment, leadership and vision beyond the professional competence and requirements of the position for which s/he was employed.
  • Achieved identifiable and lasting changes to promote and protect organic agriculture and trade.
  • Inspired and persuaded others to act to advance the cause of organic agriculture and trade.

Nominations will only be accepted in writing and must use the questions on the nomination form to list the major contributions and activities of the nominee relating to the year’s award category and selection criteria. Nominations may not be made anonymously. Please assume the review committee will have no prior knowledge of the nominee and we strongly encourage the inclusion of letters of endorsement.