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USA: Two organic leaders receive OTA’s highest honor

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has selected Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm and Zea Sonnabend of CCOF to receive its Organic Leadership Awards for this year. Mr. Hirshberg and Ms. Sonnabend will accept their awards during OTA’s Annual Awards Gala to be held 19 September 2012. The awards, presented annually since 1997, recognise outstanding individuals who have shown leadership and vision in furthering the goals of the organic movement.
Co-founder and currently chairman of Stonyfield Farm, Mr Hirshberg (picture) has seen the company grow from a seven-cow organic farming school in 1983 to US$360 million (close to 300 million euros) in annual sales. The company has also become a model for socially and environmentally responsible businesses, establishing a Profits for the Planet program. Through this program, Stonyfield was the lead donor in establishing the University of New Hampshire Organic Dairy Research Farm, the first of its kind at a land-grant university. Hirshberg also was instrumental in the creation of Organic Voices, the parent organization behind the Just Label It campaign which he chairs.

Ms. Sonnabend has been a policy specialist for CCOF since 1997 and is an organic farm inspector. Serving on CCOF’s Standards Committee in 1985, she helped develop CCOF’s first handbook and certification requirements, helping lay the foundation for national organic standards. She also pioneered CCOF’s Brand Name Product review, which allowed generic and formulated products to be reviewed and permitted in organic farming. She went on to serve on the technical committee of OTA’s precursor, the Organic Foods Production Association of North America. Ms. Sonnabend also helped guide the early National Organic Standards Board through its materials review process, serving directly for USDA’s National Organic Program from 1994 to 1996 as coordinator of the first Technical Advisory Panel that resulted in more than 160 materials being reviewed for the National List in only three years. More information on Mr. Hirshberg and Ms Sonnabend as well as on the awards is available here:



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