Search form

Main Menu New

Home > News > Press Releases > Georgia Organics is Organic Trade Association Member of the Year

Georgia Organics is Organic Trade Association Member of the Year

Association’s annual meeting recognizes Georgia Organics’ exemplary service and leadership

Maggie McNeil
(
mmcneil@ota.com
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
)
Washington , DC
US
 (
June 17, 2021
) — 

The Organic Trade Association honored the non-profit organization Georgia Organics with its prestigious Member of the Year Award at the association’s 2021 Annual Meeting held virtually June 16. Georgia Organics has for almost 25 years been devoted to promoting sustainable foods and organic farms in Georgia. During the pandemic, Georgia Organic was instrumental in helping hard-hit families stay supplied with healthy foods, and enabling struggling farmers to maintain their markets and their livelihoods.

The recognition of Georgia Organics drew praise from Capitol Hill.

“Congratulations to Georgia Organics for being named the Organic Trade Association’s Member of the Year,” said Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia. “The past year has been difficult for Georgians, but Georgia Organics has worked diligently to support our state’s growing organic sector and our neighbors who are seeking out organic products. As a proud member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, I look forward to working with Georgia Organics and my Senate colleagues to strengthen opportunities for our organic farmers.”

“I am so pleased that Georgia Organics is being recognized by the Organic Trade Association for its leadership in advancing organic agriculture in Georgia and around the country,” said Congressman Sanford Bishop of Georgia. “Michael Wall of Georgia Organics inspired me to join the Congressional Organic Caucus this year. Together, we are working to make sure that USDA’s conservation and cost-share programs are accessible to small-acreage, organic farmers and that they are not left behind in the Department’s climate-smart ag policies. I look forward to continued leadership from Georgia Organics going forward. Congratulations to the Georgia Organics team!”

While Georgia Organics has been a valued member of the Organic Trade Association since 1999, its commitment to connecting organic food from farmers to families has never been more apparent than during these recent pandemic times.

Its important work has included direct financial aid to Georgia farmers, helping them reach consumers, and efforts to fill the food gap for thousands of out-of-work food service employees with healthy organic produce from local farms. Georgia Organics also covered the funding gap in certification cost-share caused by a reduction in what USDA was covering, and helped pay fees for Black farmers seeking organic certification.

Alice Rolls, President and CEO of Georgia Organics, and Michael Wall, Director of Farmer Services for Georgia Organics, accepted the award.

Rolls and Wall were recognized for their expert advocacy and meaningful participation in trade association activities. “We have so many examples of working with you both to promote and advance organic. From encouraging Congressman Bishop to join the Organic Caucus to participating in our Farmers Advisory Council fly-ins to partnering on the new state advocacy initiative, you have shown exemplary service and leadership to advance our mission-based work,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.

Batcha added, “You are well loved in the organic world, always willing to lend time, expertise and influence. It is our honor to recognize you both for your contributions as engaged members of the Organic Trade Association!”

In her acceptance of the award, Rolls stressed the importance of working on a local scale, of being in touch with the community, and thanked the Organic Trade Association for sharing those priorities. “We are deeply touched to be recognized. I’m grateful that the OTA team values groups like Georgia Organics. We provide the boots on the ground, local connections, a megaphone for farmer stories, and the on-ramp for a passionate public ready to be engaged. We value your partnership and expertise. It is this bridge building between small and large, conventional and organic that will enable us to sledgehammer these tired, old barriers.”

Wall paid special tribute to his colleagues at Georgia Organics, and stressed the importance of the economic health of small farmers and rural communities: “It means so much that an organization as large as OTA values the importance of the work we do in support of small-scale farmers in Georgia. It’s hard to imagine an ag system that nurtures small-scale organic growers, but if anything can achieve that, I believe it’s the economic development that comes from a bustling organic industry in our rural communities. We have a lot more work to do together. And I’m looking forward to doing this work with y’all.”

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 info@ota.com.