Washington, D.C.—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has honored all of its members with its Member of the Year Award, according to a press release, “applauding the resilience, commitment, and community spirit shown by the entire organic supply chain in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha made the announcement during the association’s virtual annual meeting, the release says. Following the announcement,a video tributeto the trade association’s members was shown, celebrating actions such as donating nutritious food to food banks, hospitals, and communities; providing face masks and gloves to healthcare workers and the general public; and giving workers raises, time off, and paid childcare support.

“We truly think our members are exceptional,” said Batcha. “Our members have all stepped up during this global pandemic. They quickly moved into high gear to keep organic products flowing, they have taken care of their workers, and they have helped their communities. Organic Trade Association member companies are made up of so many dedicated individuals doing so much to adapt to this new reality, how could we recognize just one person at one company? In 2020, we’d like to recognize ALL members as our Members of the Year.”

Mark Squire, President of Good Earth Natural Foods, accepted the award on behalf of the members. His stores in Marin County, California, have become a source of stability for his customers and community, the press release says.

“We are part of an industry that reacts to situations fast. Organic has not only been out there coping with things, but helping,” said Squire in the press release. “Our industry, bottom line, has so many solutions to so many problems.”
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The Member of the Year Award was created in 2014 to honor and recognize members who actively serve in their communities, participate in OTA events, and serve as ambassadors for the trade association and the organic community, according to the press release. Past honorees have included Steve Crider of Amy’s Kitchen, Jeff Rakity formerly with Natural Flavors/Elan, Carmela Beck formerly with Driscoll’s, David Will of Chino Valley Ranchers, and Tim Schultz of Lundberg Family Farm.

This year, the trade association chose to honor a supply chain that adapted quickly to keep pantries and refrigerators stocked, even while struggling through a pandemic.

“Our members have been supporting their communities through donations, shifting their business models to produce essential supplies, retooling work processes to protect employees, enhancing employee benefits, and taking creative measures to keep supply chains moving,” Batcha concluded. “They are true heroes.”