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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. 

Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors determines the categories and criteria for each year’s awards. In 2020, we will present awards in the following three categories: 


Nominees are “game-changers” who have made significant contributions to growing the organic industry through leadership and action in areas such as consumer education and marketing, new market development, public relations, standards development, advocacy, and research.


Nominees are 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; 
  • and has the commitment, leadership, and vision to advance organic farming. 


Nominees should be relatively recent to the organic trade yet already identified as emerging leaders who have distinguished themselves professionally by performing with great energy and enthusiasm in pursuing advancements to policy, programs, initiatives, or the development of new products, categories or markets that promote the growth, sustainability, or influence of organic agriculture and trade.  

Submit a Nomination               Past Honorees               OTA Annual Awards Celebration              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. Letters of endorsement to the nomination are encouraged.


Tessa Young
Vice President, Communications
(202) 403-8642