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Organic Trade Association Selects Three Recipients for the 2017 Organic Trade Association Leadership Awards

Organic Trade Association Selects Three Recipients for the 2017 Organic Trade Association Leadership Awards



WASHINGTON, DC - In honor of those continuing the fight of pushing the organic industry forward, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has announced three recipients for 2017’s Organic Trade Association Leadership Awards. Selecting choices for the Growing the Organic Industry Leadership Award, the Organic Farmer of the Year Award, and the Rising Star Award, the association will be celebrating the three winners on Wednesday, September 13, at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, MD. 

Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director, OTA

"These are three incredible change-makers who have helped shape the current environment for organic agriculture and trade, and I couldn't be more excited to see their trade association—a place where they have each been actively engaged—recognize them for their vision and commitment to organic," said Laura Batcha, CEO. 

Organic Trade Association Award Winners

Growing the Organic Industry Leadership Award

This year’s recipient of the Growing the Organic Industry Leadership Award will be Robert (Bob) Anderson of Sustainable Strategies LLC—Advisors in Food and Agriculture, who currently serves as Senior Trade Advisor for the OTA. 

Bob’s long-standing career in organics first started through his 30-year operation of Walnut Acres Organic Farms, one of America's first organic value-added food processors. Bob was also the first chair of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board.

Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

"We want him in the room, and organic growers—even those who have never met him—are fortunate to have him on their side," shared Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture, upon Bob’s nomination. "Bob helps his colleagues through Customs on yet another trade mission; he delves into the differences between the rules for exporting to Japan and Germany; he injects a timely bit of common sense into a discussion of certification paperwork—and a thousand other things, day-in and day-out. But most importantly, no matter the outcome, those who have the privilege of working with Bob end the day wanting to work with him again." 

Also chiming in on Bob’s long tenure and expertise in organics was Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.

Russell Redding, Secretary of Agriculture, Pennsylvania

"Bob has served Pennsylvania agriculture so well, as a charter member of the original Organic Trade and Marketing Board, as a founding member of the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and as an advisor and lecturer in Penn State University's sustainable agriculture research and teaching curriculum. I am truly pleased to see him get this well-deserved recognition,” Russell said.

Organic Farmer of the Year Award

This year’s OTA Organic Farmer of the Year is Phil LaRocca of LaRocca Vineyards, an organic advocate and farmer for over 40 years. Phil became one of the first certified organic apple growers in 1975, then created one of the first certified non-sulfite wines back before it was a commonly done practice. According to a press release, LaRocca Vineyards has sold over a million bottles of non-sulfite organic wine, and created an industry space for others to follow. Phill was an early member of CCOF, as well as being active in creating the California Food and Production Act, and a national organic rule on organic wine.

Organic Produce

Now chair of the CCOF Board of Directors, Phil has been appointed to the California Organic Products Advisory Committee. He currently serves on OTA's Farmers Advisory Council. 

Rising Star Award

Peggy Sutton, Founder and President of To Your Health Sprouted Flour, is this year’s recipient of the Rising Star Organic Leadership Award. From family-focused home cook, to an expert in the field of sprouting organic flours and grains, Peggy’s business now employs 30 people and helps push forward this ancient flour technique. To Your Health Sprouted Flour is a long-standing member of the Organic Trade Association, and participates in export activities in Europe and Asia. 

David Uzzell, Senior Brand Manager, Kashi

"Peggy has been instrumental in educating thousands of people (including us at Kashi) about the benefits of organic sprouted grains for both people and the planet," said David Uzzell of Kashi. "She is not only a leader in spreading the word of organic sprouted grains, but also in her local community. Peggy is very intentional on sharing the growth of the organic industry with her community by keeping her operations local and supporting the constituents of Bullock County."


Tickets for the Organic Trade Association's 2017 Leadership Awards Celebration will go on sale soon. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact Amy Bovaird at [email protected]. Us at AndNowUKnow thanks Bob, Phil, and Peggy for all of their important contributions to organics.

Organic Trade Association



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Organic Trade Association

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America...