May 17, 2024
Organic Trade Association, Organic Center awarded grant

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and The Organic Center are the recipients of $2.2 million in Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) matching funds from the USDA to expand organic markets through consumer education and promotion.

The funds provided by USDA match those provided by the OTA, The Organic Center and Organic Voices for a three-year project totaling $4.4 million.

Organic Trade Association The Organic Center OTA


The joint project by the trade association and The Organic Center is designed to stimulate the demand for and increase the sales of organic products by promoting the science-backed benefits of USDA certified organic products and farming to consumers. The project will be done in collaboration with Organic Voices and an Industry Advisory Committee.

“We thank USDA for making this project possible with this important funding. Consumers lack information about all that the USDA Organic label stands for and all the benefits it delivers for human health, the environment, and businesses,” OTA co-CEO Tom Chapman, said in a news release. “Our project aims to increase the consumption of organic by giving consumers access to more credible information about what organic production and processing means, and the advantages it provides.”

“We want to educate people about the difference organic makes, and inspire them to choose organic,” Amber Sciligo, director of science programs for The Organic Center, said in the release. “This project will highlight organics’ ability to protect natural resources, sequester carbon and regenerate soil health, while also providing nutritional benefits and protecting us from synthetic pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and more. The more educated consumers are about organic, the more likely they will seek out that Organic label.”

The project will develop fresh creative content on the regulatory and science-based environmental, animal and human benefits of organic, focusing on targeted information to motivate consumers to purchase organic products, prioritizing organic dairy, grain and fiber. A full-scale integrated marketing campaign will be launched, and particular focus will be made to ensure that the promotion reaches beyond mainstream organic markets into regions and communities where organic production is not prevalent.

The Organic Center The project will culminate with a final comprehensive report on effective organic consumer marketing strategies, content, and messaging which will be shared with the entire organic industry through the distribution of printed copies of the report, and availability through social media channels.

“The longevity of this project will extend far beyond its 3-year timeframe,” OTA co-CEO Matthew Dillon said in the release. “The creation of valuable educational content and marketing resources will continue to benefit organic producers and brands, while the consumer promotion and education campaign will yield a lasting impact by expanding the community of informed organic consumers to create a growing and stable market for organic.”

The Organic Market Development Grant Program is part of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative, a $300-million initiative launched in 2022, to help existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing.

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