Getting Out the Organic Message
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
It's party time at the Organic Trade Association. For 10. Straight. Days. And everyone's invited. September is "Organic Month," and OTA and its member companies are teaming up with other leading organic influencers to throw "Organic-Palooza," a first-ever 10-day social media festival that gets going on September 8 to celebrate the benefits of organic, clear up confusion about what organic really stands for, and share how and why consumers should incorporate more organic—whether it's organic food or organic fiber—into their lives. From affordability issues—how families can create an at-home organic menu without breaking the budget—to the trustworthiness of organic—an explanation of the strict regulations and standards that go into growing and making every single organic product —the blitz, delivered by OTA and some 50 strategic partners, will delve into the biggest issues surrounding organic, bust a few myths, and provide an unprecedented and free-wheeling exchange of ideas and views and knowledge between top organic experts and just normal folks. "We are very excited to be engaging our members and the public in such a creative and accessible way to answer questions about organic," said Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of OTA. "Each day we'll be focusing on one key organic topic in order to spark conversation and share as much knowledge as we can between organic news watchers and newsmakers, and ultimately to help consumers make the best choices for their families." Using the #OrganicFestival hashtag on its social media channels (Facebook facebook.com/OrganicTrade, Twitter twitter.com/organictrade, Pinterest pinterest.com/organictrade), daily themes include nutrition, the latest trends in organic, organic standards and the meaning of the organic seal, affordability, organic's role in mitigating global warming, a look at the latest research on organic, and more. Through recipes, meal-planning tips, and updates on organic fiber, consumers will be shown how to make organic a regular part of their lives. Special sessions will feature organic thought leaders including top food and nutrition writers and bloggers, organic policy and agricultural experts, and OTA members sharing their perspectives on policy, regulatory, and real-life concerns being faced by the organic community. The public will be introduced to the organic visionaries who have helped make the organic industry the robust part of the American food and fiber sector that it is today. A five-day Twitter party will be wrapped into the festival, with each party zeroing in on a specific organic focus and co-hosted by an expert in the subject. One of the parties will be a "myth-busting" session to debunk common myths and misinformation about organic, co-hosted by "Coach" Mark Smallwood, head of the Rodale Institute and an internationally recognized organic expert, and Dr. Jessica Shade, lead scientist for The Organic Center. Another will be on GMOs in our food supply with host Matt Dillon, an advocate and recognized expert in organic seed systems and agricultural policy and programs manager at Clif Bar. Dr. Alan Greene, a kids' health expert devoted to giving answers to parents' real questions will co-host a session on what organic means for kids. Finally, eco-fashion pioneer Marci Zaroff will co-host a party on organic textiles, clarifying the importance of driving sustainability by choosing organic—beyond food. Each Twitter party will be sponsored by OTA members who are offering dozens of prizes to festival participants ranging from organic snacks and sauces to a basket of organic linen. Randomly selected Facebook fans sharing news about the festival with their friends will be awarded daily prizes donated by OTA member companies, as will selected Pinterest followers who repin the campaign image. "This is the first time that OTA and its members have teamed up in an effort like this," said Batcha. "We want individuals to be inspired and informed about organic, and we want to them to have fun."