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September 18, 2013

Organic Trade Association celebrates successful Annual Fund campaign

BRATTLEBORO, VT (September 17, 2013)The Organic Trade Associations (OTA) Annual Fund campaign hit record-breaking numbers once again in 2013. Funds raised will go towards OTAs government relations, consumer education, and media outreach work in the United States and Canada.

This has once again been a banner year for organic. Its encouraging for the entire business community and gratifying to see such robust support from OTA member companies. This especially holds true in a year that was crowded with so many causes that needed support, said Jeff Rakity of Elan/Natural Flavors and the 2013 Chair of the OTA Annual Fund Campaign.

The investment by nearly 200 companies in OTAs 2013 Annual Fund campaign reflects their belief in the vital work that OTA conducts on behalf of the entire organic community, said OTAs CEO & Executive Director Christine Bushway. She added, We thank all contributors who have gone above and beyond their membership commitments to ensure that their trade association can continue its unique role in advancing the voice of the organic sector.

Thanks to the generous support of a multitude of companies of all sizes, OTA raised more than $870,000, while the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) raised $85,000.

In the 2013 campaign, 190 companies pledged funds to support OTAs work. Top investors, named to the Leadership Circle, are:

Wholesome!(Sugar Land, TX)promises to be the heart and soul of sweet and happy moments, sprinkling creativity and cheerfulness into every sweet occasion. Wholesome is the market-leading supplier of organic and Fair Trade cane sugars,honeys, molasses, blue agave syrups, stevia, and coconut palm sugar for retailers, food serviceand bulk ingredient customers. Founded in 2001, Wholesome is committed to operating in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way.

Whole Foods Market Inc. (Austin, TX), founded in 1980, is the leading natural and organic food retailer, and Americas first national certified organic grocer. The company’s motto, Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet™, captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement.

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) (Providence, RI) distributes 65,000 natural, organic and specialty products to over 27,000 customers throughoutthe United StatesandCanada. UNFI serves a variety of retail and foodservice operators. UNFIwas named as one of Fortunes Most Admired Companies in 20062010 and 2012, and in June 2012 as one of Food Logistics Top 20 Green Providers. UNFI has achieved LEED® Silver Certification for its Providence headquarters and LEED® Gold Certification for distribution centers in Texas, Washington and Pennsylvania.

SunOpta Inc. (Toronto, ON, Canada) is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods products. The company specializes in sourcing, processing and packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through packaged products, with a focus on strategically vertically integrated business models. Its core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit-based product offerings, supported by a global infrastructure.

Stonyfield (Londonderry, NH), celebrating its 30th year, is the world’s leading organic yogurt company. Its certified organic yogurt, smoothies, milk, cultured soy, frozen yogurt and ice cream are distributed nationally. The company advocates that healthy food can only come from a healthy planet. Its use of organic ingredients helps keep over 200,000 farm acres free of toxic, persistent pesticides and chemical fertilizers known to contaminate soil, drinking water and food.

Small Planet Foods/Cascadian Farm/Muir Glen (Sedro-Woolley, WA) produces a variety of organic foodsfrom frozen fruits and vegetables and canned tomato products to cereals and granola barsunder the Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen brands.

R.W. Knudsen Family/Santa Cruz Organic (Chico, CA) offer premium natural and organic products that include fruit juice, applesauce, fruit spreads, peanut butters, and dessert toppings, to name a few. These brands have been innovators in the natural and organic industry for many years, offering consumers high-quality food and beverages that meet their flavor needs.

Organic Valley and Organic Prairie (La Farge, WI) make up an organic, farmer-owned cooperative (CROPP Cooperative), with more than 1,814farmer-owners in 35 states and 3 Canadian provinces.In 2013, the co-op celebrates 25 years of stable, farmer-determined pay pricing and certified organic products. It looksforwardto continuing its mission to save family farming through organicagriculture for another 25 years.

Natures Path Organic Foods (Richmond, BC, Canada) is the number one organic cereal manufacturer in North America, and has a wide portfolio of high-quality, organic, Non-GMO Project Verified products including hot and cold cereals, premium granola, bars, Envirokidz cereals and bars and newly acquired Que Pasa, brand of organic, non-GMO tortilla chips in Canada. A leader in the non-GMO movement, this privately run, family company is fiercely independent and has been a trusted name in quality organic food for more than 25 years. It operates on the triple bottom line: socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and financially viable.

Natural Flavors Inc./Elan Vanilla/Flavorganics (Newark, NJ) is a family of companies with a deep commitment to the organic industry. Breaking ground in 1997 as the first flavor supplier to achieve organic certification, it continues to be a market leader in certified organic flavors. Elan Vanilla and Natural Flavors also offer certified Fair Trade Organic Vanilla Extract and Flavors.

MOM’s Organic Market (Rockville, MD), founded in 1987, is a family-owned and operated organic grocer with ten stores in the Washington-Baltimore region. MOMs is dedicated to supporting organic and furthering its purpose to protect and restore the environment. MOMs stocks 100 percent certified organic produce, only sells sustainable seafood, and has been fully wind powered since 2005.

Kashi (La Jolla, CA), founded in 1984, dreams of a world where everyone embraces natural health.Kashi is passionate about and committed to improving the health of people and our planet.The brand has significantly increased use of organic ingredients since 2002, now sourcing about 28 million pounds of organic ingredients each year, and supporting over 10,000 acres of organic cropland. Kashis organic cereals are widely distributed in grocery stores nationwide.

Horizon®and Silk®(Broomfield, CO) are leaders in the organic industry. Silk Soymilk was the nation’s first refrigerated soymilk, and all of its beverages are enrolled or verified by the Non-GMO Project. Horizon Organic was the first company to supply organic milk nationally, and is still the leading certified organic dairy brand.

Honest Tea(Bethesda, MD) was born in 1998 with a mission to expand the reach of great tasting, healthy, organic beverages. Honest Tea became the first company to introduce organic bottled tea in 1999, and now its entire lines of teas and juice drinks are certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO). Honest Tea can be found in more than 100,000 outlets nationwide. In 2012, Honest Tea purchased 4.9 million pounds of organic ingredients. Honest Tea is a founding sponsor of Bethesda Green, a local sustainability non-profit.

Earthbound Farm (San Juan Bautista, CA) is the nations largest grower of organic produce, with 29 years of organic farming heritage. With more than 200 dedicated organic farmers working on 50,000 acres, Earthbound Farms organic farming brings delicious organic food to markets and tables across the country while also keeping more than 19 million pounds of synthetic agricultural chemicals out of our air, water, and food supply each year.

Driscolls (Watsonville, CA) is the worlds largest distributor of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. It is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company, and uses only natural breeding methods to create its plant varieties. The companys mission is to continually delight berry consumers. Driscolls is the market leader in organic berries, offering a complete line of organic strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Clif Bar & Company (Emeryville, CA) is a leading maker of nutritious and organic foods and drinks, including CLIF® Bar energy bar, LUNA®, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women®; and CLIF Kid®, Nourishing Kids in Motion®. Focused on sports nutrition and snacks for adventure, the family- and employee-owned company is committed to sustaining its people, brands, business, community and planet.

CCOF Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA) has been widely recognized as one of the nations top organic certifiers since 1973. Today, CCOF is the only full-service organic certification and trade association supporting the growth of organic food and agriculture through its mission: certifying, educating, advocating and promoting organic. CCOF provides premier organic certification programs and trade association benefits to farms, processors, private labelers, retailers, restaurants, brokers, and supporting members including individuals, suppliers and service providers.

BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. (Westborough, MA) operates 200 warehouse clubs and 113 gas stations in 15 eastern U.S. states. It is dedicated to providing members with high-quality, brand-name food and merchandise at prices significantly lower than supermarkets, supercenters, department stores, drug stores and specialty retail stores. BJ’s carries the most product variety of any wholesale club with more than 7,000 items, including supermarket-sized staples, USDA Choice meats, certified organic products and stock-up items.

Annies (Berkeley, CA) is a natural and organic food company offering products in large packaged food categories made without artificial flavors, synthetic colors, and preservatives regularly used in many conventional packaged foods.Annies sources ingredients that avoid synthetic growth hormones and genetically modified food ingredients. Today, Annies offers over 135 products, and is present in over 26,500 retail locations in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1989, Annies is committed to operating in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner.

Led by campaign chair Jeff Rakity, the volunteer 2013 Annual Fund Host Committee members included Carmela Beck (Driscoll Strawberry Associates), Tony Bedard (Frontier Natural Products Co-op), Ryan Benn (Alive Publishing Group Inc.), Jason Cumming (Organic Valley), Calvin Daily (Organic Valley), Mike Fata (Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils), David Gagnon (OTA), Julie Hafer (MOMs Organic Market), Margaret Hughes (Best Cooking Pulses), Dale Kamibayashi (Alfalfas Market), Grant Lundberg (Lundberg Family Farms), Sandra Marquardt (On the Mark Public Relations), Matt McLean (Uncle Matts Organic), Rick Moller (UNFI), Loren Morr (SunOpta), Cheryl Newman (Honest Tea), Michael Renkosiak (KeHE), Michael Sencer (Hidden Villa Ranch), Jyoti Stephens (Natures Path Foods), Gunta Vitins (Vitins Consulting), and Marci Zaroff (Under The Canopy/ Portico Brands). OTAs Leadership Circle companies and other top donors will be recognized at OTAs Annual Awards Celebration on Sept. 25 in Baltimore, MD, during OTAs Member Days at Natural Products Expo East. View a list of all OTA 2013 Annual Fund investors.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTAs Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.