Organic Week Day 2

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Loop the Lincoln (Registration Required)7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Kick-off day 2 of Organic Week programming with a 5k loop around the National Mall! This CLIF BAR sponsored event is a great opportunity to see iconic D.C. monuments and have casual conversation with Organic Week participants, as well as Administration and other Hill staff, while getting some exercise and fresh air during a busy week! We hope you can join us for this free event – but please register if you plan to attend. Register here!

Breakfast8:00 AM - 9:30 AM 
Ask Me Anything Breakouts 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Take advantage of these Ask Me Anything office hours to connect with OTA and local D.C. agency staff to network and ask questions. Has Organic Week programming sparked a new idea that you’d like to brainstorm with others? Have a question about your hill visit meetings? Wondering what regulatory topics are on the NOSB agenda? Interested in utilizing OTA toolkits to help market organic products?  All these questions and more are welcome during Ask Me Anything Breakouts.  


  • Scott Rice | Sr. Director, Regulatory Affairs | Organic Trade Association
  • Laura Holm | Legislative & Farm Policy Associate | Organic Trade Association 
  • Violet Batcha | Sr. Director, Marketing & Communications | Organic Trade Association
  • Stephanie Jerger | Vice President of Operations | Organic Trade Association
  • Sarah Gorman | International Trade Manager | Organic Trade Association
  • Amber Sciligo | Director of Science Programs | The Organic Center
Hill Talk – Politics, Farm Bill, Appropriations and All Things Ag Policy 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

How do the actions of Congress impact your business every day? Join ex-congressional staffers and current advocates on the Hill to talk Farm Bill, Appropriations, Bipartisan opportunities and challenges, and how all of these \things will impact the future of the organic sector. We might even ask folks to look into their crystal ball on what the future holds post-election. Hosted by OTA board member Britt Lundgren from Stonyfield, we will explore organic priorities and look for guidance and recommendations for how we can best show up at our meetings on Advocacy Day.

  • Britt Lundgren | Senior Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs | Stonyfield Farm | OTA Board Member
  • T.A. Hawks | Partner | Monument Advocacy 
  • Dr. Melinda Cep | Vice President, Natural Solutions and Working Lands | The National Audubon Society
Ambitious Goals: Learning from Europe’s Organic Action Plan 11:05 AM - 11:20 AM

As a part of Europe’s ambitious green deal, they have committed to converting 25% of agricultural land to organic by 2030, up from the current 8.5%.  The EU is employing a comprehensive strategy and policy, investing to grow both production and consumption to hit these targets.  What success has Europe had and what challenges do they still face? What insights can the United States gain from these European experiences and strategies?  

  • Eduardo Cuoco | Director | IFOAM Organics Europe
Building the Public Private Partnership 11:25 AM - 11:55 AM

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks on how USDA is working to keep pace with the needs of organic farmers and shoppers by ensuring standards are responsive to new evidence and marketplace demands. This includes the implementation of recent SOE and OLPS standards and what standards are next on USDA’s agenda to ensure the organic marketplace continues to grow and evolve. Additionally, the session will cover how USDA includes organic within Climate Smart initiatives and ensures organic farmers are being recognized for practices delivering climate and biodiversity benefits, and how research programs are expanding in support of organic agriculture. While the research focused specifically on organic accounts for just a fraction of agricultural research dollars, organic research actually benefits all farm types – not just organic!

Networking Lunch12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 
Expanding the Benefits of Organic into the Next Generation1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

OTA has been improving its communication of the benefits of organic to People, Planet, and Business. And yet perhaps the most important stakeholder in transforming farming, food and fiber isn’t those of us in attendance today, but the next generation. How do we work to ensure opportunity and access to the next generation of farmers, business entrepreneurs, and consumers? Who do we need at tomorrow’s table that is not well-represented today? A group of advocates and entrepreneurs will discuss their work in serving tomorrow’s stakeholders, and how we can invest today to improve future access to the benefits of organic.

  • Dr. Kaia Shivers | Founder | Black Farmers Index
  • Jessica Wright | VP of Product Intelligence | SPINS
  • Jennifer Bryant | Program Manager, Black Employee Ownership Initiative | Project Equity
  • Vanessa Garcia Polanco MS | Government Relations Director | National Young Farmers Coalition
Cultivating Organic Synergy: Piecing Together Research, Application, and Communication1:50 PM - 2:35 PM

Navigating the realm of organizations committed to organic research and technical assistance can be daunting. Entities like The Organic Center, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Organic Agronomy Training Service, and universities dedicated to organic research while seemingly overlapping, each contribute uniquely to the advancement of organic research and technical support. These organizations are each vital for enhancing organic agriculture's sustainability, productivity, and impact. This session is dedicated to demystifying the roles and efforts of these organizations and how you can be a part of the solution. Be part of the dialogue on the areas and needs for organic research, application, and education that will drive organic growth in the future.

  • Amber Sciligo, PhD | Director of Science Programs | The Organic Center
  • Brise Tencer | Executive Director | Organic Farming Research Foundation
  • Gordon Merrick | Senior Policy & Programs Manager | Organic Farming Research Foundation
  • Mallory Krieger | Executive Director | Organic Agronomy Training Service
Sowing the Seeds for Sustainable Growth2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

Organic is now a $67 billion industry, hitting another high-level mark for the resilient sector. With this growth comes new questions about how to effectively sustain the momentum of the movement. In order to address bottlenecks in domestic production, USDA is investing in growth strategies by awarding new Organic Market Development Grants (OMDG) to build domestic supply and ensure the industry is equipped to meet consumer demand . Join USDA officials and OMDG program participants to learn more about how the grants will increase the production capacity and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and address the critical need for additional paths to market.  

  • Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt | Market and Regulatory Programs | USDA
Break3:00 PM - 3:15 PM 
Organic Evolution: Reflecting on the SOE Rule and Charting the Path Forward3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

The recent Strengthening of Organic Enforcement rule represents the most significant change to organic regulations since their inception, expanding the certification requirement to include brokers, retail supply chains, distributors, imports, and other parties previously exempt. Now, two months beyond its implementation, it's crucial to reflect on the initial impacts and glean lessons from the rollout.  What was successful and what was challenging?  How has enforcement fared in these initial stages? This session will include leading figures from the National Organic Program (NOP) and industry experts to review the early outcomes of this landmark rule change and look to the future for additional opportunities for improvement.  We'll delve into the vital balance between maintaining the integrity and trust in organic certification while ensuring the regulations do not become unduly burdensome to prevent market participation. Explore with us as we explore potential future course and opportunities for organic certification.

  • Tom Chapman | Co-CEO | Organic Trade Association
  • John Foster | Chief Operating Officer | Wolf and Associates
  • Dr. Jenny Tucker | Deputy Administrator | National Organic Program, USDA
  • Diana Kobus | Executive Director | Pennsylvania Certified Organic
Nutrition Density4:05 PM - 4:50 PM

The nutritional quality of food depends on a complex array of factors, including crop genetics, growing techniques, environment, and post-harvest handling and processing post-harvest. Panelists will discuss the increasing interest in “sustainable nutrition” and the potential of organic farming. 

  • Tina Owens | Senior Advisor | Nutrient Density Alliance
  • Kate Geagan | Co-Founder | Food + Planet
  • Amari Thomsen | Director of Nutrition Marketing & Communications | Clif Bar & Company
Last Minute Hill Visits Ask Me Anything 4:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Got a question about hill visits, how to talk to a congressperson, need more information on OTA talking points?  Talk with OTA's expert staff and other seasoned organic advocates to answer all your questions and to get tips for advocating on the hill.

Closing4:55 PM - 5:00 PM

To close out this jam-packed two days of conference programming, join us for a recap of these inspiring Organic Week sessions. We aim build on this momentum on the Hill during Advocacy Day, and leave D.C. inspired and motivated to continue growing and protecting organic from farm to marketplace.

  • Matthew Dillon | Co-CEO | Organic Trade Association
Last Minute Hill Visits Ask Me Anything & Team Leader Briefing5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Got a question about hill visits, how to talk to a congressperson, need more information on OTA talking points?  Talk with OTA's expert staff and other seasoned organic advocates to answer all your questions and to get tips for advocating on the hill.

Organic PAC Fundraiser (registration required)6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

PAC supporters are invited to attend our Organic PAC fundraising on Wednesday night. Organic PAC is the only political action committee devoted to advancing organic’s voice with policymakers in our nation’s capital. Become a PAC supporter today.