GREENFIELD, Mass. (Aug. 24, 2010)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today announced it has selected Theresa Marquez of Organic Valley and Bob Quinn of Kamut® International to receive its prestigious Organic Leadership Awards for 2010.
“Theresa Marquez and Bob Quinn have shown outstanding initiative and devotion to organic, and their contributions clearly demonstrate how organic enterprises and agriculture can thrive and make a difference to consumers, farmers and to our planet,” said OTA’s Executive Director Christine Bushway.
Marquez, Chief Marketing Executive of Organic Valley, will receive the OTA Organic Leadership Award in the “Growing the Organic Industry” category, while Quinn, President of Kamut® International, will receive the award in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category. The 2010 Organic Leadership Award recipients will be honored at the OTA Annual Dinner and Dance on Friday, Oct. 15, during OTA Member Days activities at Natural Products Expo East in Boston. Recipients receive a hand-blown glass “planet” by artist Josh Simpson.
Involved with the organic movement and emerging organic industry for the past 35 years, Marquez served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America, the original organization that subsequently became OTA. She again served on OTA’s Board of Directors from 2001 to 2009. She also was the founding president of The Organic Center. She has the distinction of leading the Organic Valley brand to the current number one brand sold in the natural foods channel. She joined the co-op’s marketing efforts in 1995 when the business was selling $5 million. In 2009, it had grown to $523 million. Today, Organic Valley is America’s largest organic farming cooperative, representing 1,631 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces, and remains focused on its mission of saving family farms.
“Theresa continues to ‘push the envelope’ in all she does, seeking new and creative ways to improve the organic product and sharpen the organic message for her ‘citizen partners,’ as she fondly refers to consumers,” according to her nomination letter submitted by Organic Valley colleagues.
Another Honorable Influence
Involved in organic agriculture since the 1970s, Quinn has devoted his career to building Kamut®, a new organic crop which has become an organic stand-alone grain product as well as an ingredient in other organic breads and grain products. He has promoted organic agriculture throughout his home state of Montana, encouraging other farmers to go organic, and had has worked with his local land grant university to develop research helpful to organic agriculture. He has also introduced organic agricultural products and encouraged organic production in other countries. Quinn’s company, Kamut® International, has been a member of OTA since 1998, and Quinn has contributed to OTA’s public policy efforts.
“Bob Quinn is a great ambassador for U.S. organic agriculture, and he travels all over the world to promote it,” according to Caren Wilcox, former OTA Executive Director and president of Caren Wilcox & Associations LLC, in her nomination letter for Quinn.
Demand for modern Organic dairy products has began to skyrocket in recent years. While Organic milks, butters, cheeses, and yogurts are common to retail grocery stores, we’ve also seen a groundswell of demand in the consumer supplements market. Particularly, protein powder supplements, collagen supplements, colostrum powders and immunoglobulin products, and dairy-based probiotics like the Lactobacillus genus have all seen a strong increase in sales. These products have historically been popular among small segments of consumers, usually athletes and bodybuilders, but have become popular nutritional supplements among a class of ever-mindful consumers. These products are now starting to appear with greater frequency, and greater reception, in national retailer grocery stores. We can only hope that the emerging brand in this segment will be also led by such pioneers as Quinn and Marquez.