Mar 30, 2022
Organic Trade Association honors inspiring leaders

On the second day of Organic Week 2022, the Organic Trade Association recognized six inspiring leaders from across the organic industry at a special awards dinner featuring organic dishes by Chef Eric Adjepong.

Leadership Award winners included:

Posthumous Pioneer: Amigo Bob Cantisano

Organic Pioneer: Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president, Organics Unlimited

“We can be crazy enough to change the world,” said Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “Organic is the work of many people leaving their sweat in the ground, investing in natural inputs to protect our environment and our future generations. Being part of OTA is important to the work we do because it gives us a collective voice. We have a community that we can rely on to protect the integrity of the industry and the values of the organic movement.”

Organic Farmer of the Year: Amy Bruch, owner/operator, Cyclone Farms

“The pandemic has made us even more humble,” said Amy Bruch. “It has pushed us and our farms to be more resourceful and creative. Having the right attitude, maintaining our connections with the organic community despite limited in-person opportunities, and brainstorming plans to succeed together is how we take on the unexpected.”

Community Service: Cassie Cyphers and Scott Erickson, Clif Bar & Company

“At Clif Bar, serving our community is at the core of who we are as a company. The pandemic has created a critical need to sustain people in our community and we are fortunate to have been able to use our resources to help people in need,” said Cassie Cyphers, senior sustainable brand development manager at Clif Bar.

Climate Action: Britt Lindgren, director of organic and sustainable agriculture, Stonyfield

“I believe the shared sense that we’re working to make the world a healthier place really helps people feel connected to Stonyfield and the work we are doing,” said Britt Lindgren. “That shared connection makes us a stronger team, even when we’re coping with the many challenges that have emerged during the pandemic.”

In 1997, the first-ever OTA Leadership Award was given to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for his groundbreaking work in developing the national organic standards and helping to bring the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic seal to life. Every year since, OTA has recognized a diverse group of leaders whose peers have put them forward for this prestigious award. This year, OTA expanded its award categories, adding the Community Service and Climate Action awards, in recognition of the outstanding work association members have done to help their neighbors and the organic industry stay strong throughout the COVID pandemic.

“Each of these award winners is a powerful source of inspiration for our industry,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of OTA. “Their work motivates for all of us to continue improving and creating a more equitable and sustainable future through organic agriculture. The dedication of each of these leaders motivates us to work harder, be more creative in our problem-solving, and to continue to prioritize people and planet above all else.”

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