that the organic industry is likely to
contend with over the next 20 years.
For Dawes, “green-washing” is among
the greatest hurdles organic will have
to overcome if it wishes to grow its mar-
ket share. “We need to draw a hard line
in the sand,” she says, “so that it is clear
to consumers that organic is not the
same as natural, and that organic is the
best product out there.”
Black agrees, noting, “There are nu-
merous interests whose bottom lines
are in contradiction to the organic
movement. These include processed
food companies, agri giants, Mon-
santo...the list goes on. The spin that
they put on the truth makes it that
much harder.” He adds that the or-
ganic industry will need to address
challenges brought about by confusion
over whether organic food is more nu-
tritious than its conventional counter-
part, notions that organic is more
expensive, and claims that organic
standards are being weakened.
In spite of these challenges, each of
these individuals is optimistic that the
next 20 years also hold numerous opportunities for the organic industry.
“There is more money for organic
in the national budget than ever before, which creates tremendous opportunities to move organic research
forward,” notes Darby. “We can develop new techniques and perfect old
ones, and in the process give organic
the edge it needs to match—if not outperform—the competition.” At the
same time, Darby predicts that increased funding will help attract a new
generation of farmers to organic.
“They will see that the prospects are
good for organic, and that it’s a field in
which they can thrive,” she explains.
According to Dawes, the future also
looks bright in terms of consumer education. “As new studies emerge, we will
be able to offer consumers more hard
numbers and equip them with the information they need to make informed
purchasing decisions,” she says.
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Lewin sums these opportunities up best. “We are at a critical point in the history of the organic industry,” he says. “We have been given the gift of growth and
along with it the opportunity to make organic food and farming part of every
American’s life. It’s our responsibility as leaders to see that we make the most of
that opportunity, so that the generations that follow us inherit a world that is as
good as, if not better than, the one we have now.” o
Barbara Haumann is senior writer/editor for the Organic Trade Association ( www.ota.com) and
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her colleague, Jennifer Rose, is OTA’s new media and
consumer outreach manager and can be reached at email@example.com.
Join in the discussion of current organic issues at the Organic Summit, October 13, 2010 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston MA. Highlights include: • Opening Keynote Ellen Ruppel Shell: Growing Organic in a Discount Culture • Facilitated Dialogue: The Organic Communication Plan for Non–GMO Message • Ingredient and Manufacturing Trends for Organic Product Development • Communicating the Value of Organic in the Context of Health and Wellness • Organic Harvest Festival and Spirit of Organic Awards Visit www.theorganicsummit.com to learn more. Admission to Natural Products Expo East/Organic Products Expo - BioFach America nd All Things Organic™ is included with registration to the 2010 Organic Summit. Produced by
Organic Processing Readers register by September 1, 2010 using
promo code OP and receive $100 off the registration fee of $595.
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