A Successful Organic Week in D.C.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) held its annual Organic Week in Washington D.C. last month. Each year, the week includes events including the Organic Center’s Organic Confluences summit and OTA’s Policy Conference and Advocacy Day. CCOF member Dieter Schellenberg of Schellenberg Farms and other CCOF-certified producers attended Organic Week this year to share their organic farmer-perspective with their elected representatives.

At the conference, OTA released the results of their latest Organic Industry Survey. In 2016, the organic sector continued its upward climb. Organic sales in the United States totaled $47 billion, nearly $4 billion more than the previous year. Organic food sales account for 5.3 percent of all food sales in the country. Additionally, more than 60 percent of all organic business with more than five employees reported an increase of full-time employment during 2016 and planned to continue to increase the number of full-time employees in 2017.
These new numbers, showing significant and steady growth, were instrumental in discussions with legislators during OTA’s Advocacy Day. The meetings brought organic stakeholders into the offices of their elected representatives to discuss organic priorities in the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill and more.
CCOF Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund & Certification Services Highlighted
At the Policy Conference, CCOF Director of Policy & Government Affairs Kelly Damewood spoke at a breakout discussion about CCOF’s Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund, a scholarship fund available for students in kindergarten to higher education that supports the next generation of organic farmers and producers. To find out more about this important initiative, contact Catherine Hsu at chsu@ccof.org.
Additionally, CCOF Certification Services, LLC President Jake Lewin participated in a panel discussion on the National Organic Program’s Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance where he highlighted CCOF’s work to improve how it addresses natural resources and long-term soil management.
How to Get Involved
Organic Week is a great opportunity for organic stakeholders of all types to share, discuss, and celebrate our thriving community. If you are interested in attending future events or have questions, please contact CCOF’s Policy Team.