OTA Adds D.C. Policy Strategist

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OTA Adds D.C. Policy Strategist


The Organic Trade Association has hired Marni Karlin as the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based associate director for legislative and legal affairs. Karlin has been counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights since 2009.

“Marni’s experience as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee has given her an in-depth understanding of the legislative process, which will prove invaluable in her role at OTA,” said the association's executive director and CEO, Christine Bushway. “In addition, through her work successfully shepherding two bills through committee with bipartisan support and developing a political strategy to move two other bills through the Senate to passage and enactment into law, she has cultivated valued relationships with policymakers on the Hill and those who influence policy off the Hill.”

Karlin has served 11 years in private and government legal practice, in the process honing her writing, oral communication, research and analytical skills. Additionally, her passion for sustainable and organic food led her to earn a Culinary Arts diploma, with honors, from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2007. Since 2008, in her spare time, she has been policy adviser and market manager for EcoFriendly Foods, a local sustainable meat producer and processor in Moneta, Va., formulating its policy goals and congressional testimony.

In her new role with OTA, Karlin will be able to combine her interest in food and agricultural policy with her legal and legislative knowledge.

Bushway noted that the need for a Washington-based staffer with Karlin’s expertise was crucial, “as the organic sector continues to build long-term critical relationships on Capitol Hill and with agencies that help determine farm policy affecting organic producers.”

Added Bushway: “Since opening a D.C. office in early 2010, OTA has made great strides in increasing its visibility and effectiveness with Congress, the Executive Branch, and regulatory agencies, including the National Organic Program housed at USDA. [Karlin’s] addition to OTA staff is an important step at a critical time in farm policy development in Congress.”

Brattleboro, Vt.-based OTA represents more than 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members encompass growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others.