Jan 19, 2022
Organic Trade Association names diversity fellows
Katrina Pitts and August Alderman will join the Organic Trade Association (OTA) as the organization’s first Diversity & Entrepreneurship Program fellows.
They will work closely with OTA staff and membership to develop diversity-related trainings and programming, support the Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Member Council, and bring an equity lens to the strategic planning process.
“I am excited to be supporting the efforts of the Organic Trade Association and to work together to protect the environment and the well-being of our communities,” Pitts said. “I love the fact that the association is being intentional about ensuring all voices of the community are included in a collaborative manner.”
Pitts is a doctoral student at Morgan State University where she studies Community College Leadership. Her focus at OTA will be on research and program development, leveraging her technical grant writing experience to help the association identify additional sources of support for JEDI initiatives. She will also support OTA in the development of its JEDI Council Toolkit and internal diversity guidelines.
Alderman is a Baltimore native currently pursuing a graduate degree in Community Psychology at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, where she has also been an active volunteer with Operation Hope, Futu Farms, and other organizations. At OTA, Alderman will focus on building out JEDI initiatives and helping to bring a more diverse cadre of organizations into the association.
“I am looking forward to working with OTA to extend access to organic to more diverse areas,” Alderman said. “Access to organic is essential for the health and well-being of our communities.”
The fellowship is a key component of OTA’s Diversity & Entrepreneurship Fund (DEF) efforts, spearheaded by Vice President of Administration Stephanie Jerger, which also includes a targeted membership program to expand representation from organizations owned by and serving persons of color. Recognizing the structural inequities that have historically kept many leaders and communities of color out of the certified organic industry, OTA will waive all fees and provide full access to industry resources for DEF members over a period of two years. The association also actively recruits members of color for its Farmers Advisory Council and regional farming associations, which play a fundamental role in shaping OTA policy positions.
“This is an exciting opportunity for growth and development for OTA and for our fellows,” Jerger said. “It is a further demonstration of our commitment to advancing equity in our organization and throughout the organic industry.”
The association’s DEF work is generously supported by the following member organizations: Organic Valley, Stonyfield, General Mills, Danone, Organically Grown, and National Co+op Grocers.