If you’ve ever walked the halls of Congress with talking points in hand, you know the thrill of democracy in action. Having the opportunity to advocate for funding or policy change with your elected Congressperson is the most important way for you to participate in the legislative process. With Farm Bill discussions underway and mid-term elections around the corner this year, it’s critical for organic proponents to show up and speak up for organic food and agriculture.
The Organic Trade Association makes it easy by attending Organic Week in DC.
Book your travel now to be in DC May 21st-24th. You’ll miss the cherry blossoms, but you won’t miss out on the burst of network opportunities, educational workshops and scheduled Hill visits with Senators and Representatives.
You’ll have to travel on Sunday to make the Organic Confluences Summit Monday and Tuesday morning, but it’s well worth it. This conference will be held at USDA offices and brings together organic stakeholders to examine ways to improve research communication among farmers, scientists, extension agents, industry members and key policy influencers.
On Tuesday afternoon walk down to the Hall of States for OTA’s Member Meeting and workshops. If you’re an OTA member, find out more about how the OTA is combatting challenges to the organic seal. It’s an opportunity to speak up on what more the trade association can do to protect, promote, and advance organic.
On Tuesday, May 22, the Organic Political Action Committee will host a fundraiser to help support elected leaders who make organic food, fiber and farming a priority in policy decisions. As the organic industry grows at a robust pace, the presence of Organic PAC on Capitol Hill must keep pace as well. This is a vital tool in federal advocacy and necessary to sustain a positive future. If you’d like to learn more about Organic PAC, contact Kelley Poole.
On Wednesday, May 23rd, don your business attire and sensible shoes to visit members of Congress and Federal Officials. This is your opportunity to share the positive messages of jobs, growth, and consumer demand along with tangible asks for organic in the next Farm Bill. Remember the 2018 mid-term elections will be only six months away, and members of Congress will be eager to hear your priorities.
You are guaranteed to come away with new advocacy tools and personal connections to help you promote and protect organic in your community, your state, and at the national level.
There will be a Congressional Reception Wednesday evening that offers the opportunity to network with colleagues and foster direct relationships with key government officials and VIP guests in the backdrop of Capitol Hill.
Don’t stay up too late with your organic buddies Wednesday night because Clif Bar is hosting a casual 5.6K loop around the National Mall, from 7:00am – 9:00am on Thursday, May 24th. Bring your running shoes and register here to Loop the Lincoln with organic comrades.
The rest of Thursday is filled with OTA’s Policy Conference that takes place at the National Press Club. Here you will explore the next generation of big ideas and innovations that can catapult organic from its current 5% of U.S. food to the scale necessary to make a significant and meaningful impact.
This fast-paced conference puts policy perspectives from the public sector into context with the latest examples from the private sector.
Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farms, weighed in that “…USDA’s suspension of the organic check off and the abandonment of the organic animal welfare regulations, it is now clear that we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.”
Don’t be left sitting on the sidelines. If you don’t show up, you don’t get to participate, and your organic voice is needed this year more than ever before.