OTA Honors Pioneering Suppliers

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OTA Honors Pioneering Suppliers


The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has chosen Theresa Marquez of Organic Valley and Bob Quinn of Kamut International to receive its 2010 Organic Leadership Awards.

“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,” noted Christine Bushway, executive director of the Greenfield, Mass.-based trade organization.

Marquez, chief marketing executive of LaFarge, Wis.-based Organic Valley, will receive the award in the “Growing the Organic Industry” category, while Quinn, president of Big Sandy, Mont.-based Kamut International, will be recognized in the “Growing Organic Agriculture” category. An award presentation ceremony will take place at the OTA Annual Dinner and Dance on Friday, Oct. 15, during OTA Member Days activities at Natural Products Expo East in Boston. Marquez and Quinn will each receive a hand-blown glass “planet” by artist Josh Simpson.

With involvement in the organic movement and emerging organic industry dating back over three decades, Marquez served on the board of directors of the Organic Foods Production Association of North America, the original organization that eventually became OTA. She later was a member of OTA’s board of directors from 2001 to 2009. Additionally, Marquez was the founding president of The Organic Center. She led Organic Valley to its current ranking as No. 1 brand sold in the natural foods channel. Marquez began overseeing the co-op’s marketing inititatives in 1995, when the business was selling $5 million; by 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.

An organic farmer since the 1970s, Quinn has spent his career developing and promoting Kamut, a new organic crop which has evolved into a stand-alone grain product as well as an ingredient in other organic breads and grain items. He has encouraged other farmers to adopt organic methods, as well as working with his local land grant university on research aiding organic agriculture. Quinn has also introduced organic agricultural products and assisted organic production in other countries. Kamut International has been a member of OTA since 1998, and Quinn has contributed to the organization’s public policy efforts.