Washington, D.C.—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is asking the organic community to weigh in on an organic check-off program.
The program, known as GRO Organic (Generate Results and Opportunity for Organic), will be voluntary and funded by the private sector, according to a statement. Its goals are to promote the organic brand, raise funds for organic research and consumer education, and foster more organic agriculture in the United States. The association has formed a Steering Committee to coordinate and lead the efforts.
The official invitation for ideas is the next step in the effort to develop a voluntary governance approach, and to advance initiatives that will help the organic sector.
Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the OTA, said, “We want GRO Organic to be a bold and engaged opt-in program that pools resources from everyone who can contribute so that we can collectively address critical needs across the organic sector.”
The submission period will last six months, and officially ends April 30, 2019. Contributors are asked to offer big ideas on how to develop innovative solutions and raise meaningful funding. The funding will address the industry’s most pressing needs: “bringing new farmers into organic production and making sure existing farmers can stay in organic, increasing organic research, and educating the public about the benefits of organic.”
Besides big ideas, they also have questions about participation, funding, decision-making, and programming.
Instructions for submission and the list of questions can be found here.