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Organic Trade Association opens nominations for Leadership Awards

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
Washington , DC
April 29, 2021
) — 

The organic sector has shown determination and resilience in moving forward against some strong headwinds this past year. Throughout the organic chain, individuals and businesses are working every day to produce healthy organic food, to protect the health of our planet, and to support communities and families in need during the global pandemic. Reflecting today’s increasingly complex world, the Organic Trade Association has revamped its Leadership Awards, and wants to know who you’ve looked to for inspiration and motivation to meet the challenges in your organic journey. Who has been a mentor, a teacher, a trailblazer for you?


The Organic Trade Association is now accepting nominations for its annual Organic Leadership Awards to recognize another wave of dedicated change-makers who are tackling challenges head on. These prestigious awards honor organic visionaries, activists and entrepreneurs whose commitment and passion have made a significant difference to organic agriculture, industry and trade, and to our communities.

“We’ve broadened our categories to reflect the world that today’s organic faces. We want to recognize the positive impact that organic is having on dealing with some of our biggest issues, from advancing organic at the farm level and providing leadership to guide organic, to fighting climate change and supporting communities during the pandemic. Organic has never shied away from challenges, and now more than ever, we want to recognize those individuals who are working to make our world better,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.

The Organic Farmer of the Year Award recognizes a professional farmer who has made significant contributions to supporting and advancing organic agriculture and trade at the farm level. This may include 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.


The Organic Pioneer Leadership Award recognizes a community member who has dedicated their career to furthering organic by providing broad vision, innovative creations and 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. 


The Organic Climate Action Leadership Award recognizes an organic professional 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.


The Organic Community Service Leadership Award recognizes someone who has gone above and beyond standard business practices to be a source of positivity and stability for customers and organic community members during the pandemic. Often reaching beyond concerns for their own bottom lines, nominees have demonstrated compassion and concern through creativity and flexibility as they direct resources toward responses such as producing and distributing essential supplies, retooling to secure public interfaces, enhancing employee benefits, and undertaking exceptional measures to keep supply chains moving.


Past winners include organic pioneers who have devoted their lives to reforming America’s food system, organic farmers who are carving the path for more farmers to enter the organic chain, and organic innovators who are ensuring that organic continues its path forward.  


Candidates must have demonstrated skills, innovation, personal commitment, leadership and vision to grow organic agriculture or the organic sector. In addition, they must have achieved identifiable and lasting changes to promote and protect organic agriculture and trade, and have inspired others to advance the cause as well.


Nominations are being accepted at The deadline to submit nominations and endorsement letters is July 30.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace. The Organic Trade Association does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, national origin or ancestry, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation or military status. Persons with disabilities who require alternate means for communication of program information can contact us at