58 59 THE ORGANIC TRADE ASSOCIATION Trade Association ORGANIC The AN INTERVIEWWITH LAURA BATCHA T heOrganicTradeAssociation (OTA) is amembership-based business association that focuses on the organicbusiness community inNorthAmerica.OTAis the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States,representing over 9,500 organicbusi- nesses across 50 states.Itsmembers include growers,shippers,processors,certifiers, farmers’associations,distributors,importers,exporters,consultants,retailers,and others.Organic products represented include organic foods,ingredients and beverages,as well as organic fibers,personal care products,pet foods,nutritional supplements,household cleaners,and flowers. The following is an edited transcript of awritten communication between BusinessView Magazine andOTACEOand Executive Director,Laura Batcha: BVM: Can you tell us a little about the historyof theAssociation?What was in theminds of its founders?What was the need that theAssociation felt had to be filled? Did themission change over the years? Batcha: “In 1984,a group of manufacturers,academics,grassroots organizers,and certifiers from the United States and Canadamet to discuss the need for a continent-wide organization to help develop a unified,consumer-trusted,market identity for consistent and reliable sources of organic farmproducts.In February1985,theOrganic FoodsAssociation of NorthAmerica (OFPANA) was incorporated inDelaware as a non-profit corporation.The original intent was to create a viable organic trade association to advocate for itsmembers.