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Diversity Council

The Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s Diversity Council was approved by the OTA Board of Directors in the summer of 2021 with a focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) within the organic industry. It aims to make a conscious effort to ensure that our successes within the organic movement promote diversity rather than perpetuate social inequalities. Members will work to develop practices and processes that embed justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into the fabric of OTA and the organic movement. 

2022 Diversity Initiative Report

If you are interested in joining the Diversity Council, please contact Stephanie Jerger.

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Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Commitment

For more than 30 years, the Organic Trade Association’s mission has been to promote and protect organic with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace. While we work to grow organic and achieve excellence in agriculture and commerce, protect the environment, enhance community well-being, it is clear to us that food systems and social injustices are deeply linked. Based on our experiences and feedback from our members, we are making a conscious effort to ensure that our successes in growing the organic movement do not unintentionally perpetuate social inequalities. We accept our social responsibility in helping shape a more inclusive agricultural future for the good of the organic market and our communities.

Read more about OTA's commitment

OTA's Diversity Resource Library

The OTA's Diversity Resource Library is a collection of resources that trade association members and the organic community at large can use to diversify their content, conferences, supply chains, and marketing efforts. Together, we can promote a wider awareness of people and places aligned with the ideals of the organic community. 

Check out the full library of resources    

 

Fall 2022 Organic Report article

OTA's Vice President of Administration and Staff Liaison to the Diversity Council, Stephanie Jerger, published an article in Fall 2022 Organic Report on the Diversity Council and its impact on staff and members of the Association.

The Diversity Council has the distinct mandate to lead work that is not dedicated to any specific business sector or trade issue, but impacts all parts of the trade. Because of that, its membership list includes staff with titles such as Inclusive Diversity Manager, Chief People Officer, Coordinator, and Accounting Manager. OTA’s Martz had no previous experience in the work of diversity, equity, or inclusion prior to joining this council. “I intentionally engage now, where I would not have thought to do so before,” she says after recounting her experiences while participating in the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge with the Diversity Council. The challenge was facilitated by Food Solutions New England, with the goal of helping participants commit to deepening their understanding of, and willingness to confront, issues of race and equity. Many council members participated and used the challenge to examine food justice from their own organic sector lens.

Read the full article

 

Educational Programming
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Diversifying Organic: Assessing Progress & Charting Future Moves - NEW!

Presented Wednesday, December 14th

In 2022, following the adoption of a sweeping JEDI Commitment, Organic Trade Association made several decisive steps toward cultivating a more diverse and equitable organic industry. As we close out this eventful year, we have the opportunity to reassess the landscape and identify new ways to foster a more inclusive and just organic sector. Our panel will call attention to some of the challenges that disproportionately impact farmers of color. Attendees will hear from the team of academic fellows who led the work to establish OTA’s Diversity Resource Library. We’ll also discuss finance – existing impediments and new opportunities – for diverse and underrepresented organic farmers (and other entrepreneurs).

  • Esteemed Speakers:
  • Carolina Mueller, Coalitions Manager | National Young Farmers Coalition
  • Katrina Pitts, Doctoral Student & Diversity Fellow | Morgan State University & Organic Trade Association
  • Robyn O’Brien, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Impact | rePlant Capital
  • Seanicaa Edwards Herron, Founder and Executive Director | Freedmen Heirs Foundation
  • Tracy Favre, Owner | Fig Hill Consulting (Discussion Leader)

Open to all

WATCH NOW

The webinar was recorded. Learn more about our Diversity initiatives

 

 

 

 

Black Farmer Justice: Past, Present, and Future

Presented December 8, 2021 by The Organic Center

Black farmers have a rich history and promising future in the United States, even though the Black history of agriculture is often reduced to slavery and cotton plantations. In Farming While Black (2018), Leah Penniman argues that justice for Black people, farmers and otherwise, requires learning about Black histories of agriculture, creating new experiences in the natural world, and getting in touch with our food systems. With a panel of Black scholars, farmers, and activists, in this webinar we explore what justice for Black farmers is today, what it has been in the past, and what it can be in the future.
  • Esteemed Panelists:
  • Maya Allen, PhD student in Botany | The University of New Mexico
  • Laquanda Dobson, Chef and Farming Activist
  • Ashley Gripper, PhD Candidate in Environmental Epidemiology | Harvard University
  • Teona Williams, PhD Candidate in History | Yale University
  • Jayson Porter, PhD candidate in History | Northwestern University & Social Justice Intern | The Organic Center (Discussion Leader)

Watch Here

Annual Report
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Upcoming Meetings
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  •  

Monday, February 27 at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT (Zoom)

Monday, April 24 at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT (Zoom)

Monday, July 17 at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT (Zoom)

Monday, October 23 at 2 pm ET / 11 am PT (Zoom)

Join OTA Today!
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If you are not a member of  OTA and qualify for our Diversity & Entrepreneurship Program under the following conditions, please consider joining today! 

Who may apply for this program? 

  • Businesses that are 51% owned and controlled by *members of these groups:
    • Black
    • Hispanic/Latinx
    • Native American/Indigenous American/Alaska Native
    • Pacific Islander
    • Women
  • US-based companies
  • Engaged in the production, distribution, certification, or promotion of certified organic products and the services required to produce them; or
  • Actively transitioning to the production, distribution, certification, or promotion of certified organic products and services
  • Businesses who are willing to actively engage in the various avenues of policymaking, at OTA, over the 2-year period

Sign up to join us here 

Learn more about becoming a Member   

Contact
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Stephanie Jerger
Vice President of Administration
OTA Diversity Council's Staff Liaison
(202) 403-8513

Danielle Cote
Membership Manager
OTA Diversity Council's Staff Support
(202) 403-8633