Krysten “Hits The Hill” With The Organic Trade Association for Organic Week D.C. 2019
It’s true! If you were watching my social media then you saw that I went to Capitol Hill! Can I add "lobbyist" to my resume or Instagram bio now? Politics has never been my thing, and getting involved this way was never on my radar. I didn’t even think it was anything tangible but, “LOOK MA! I went to D.C.” and lobbied with The Organic Trade Association (OTA) for the future of the Organic industry and more specifically the Farm Bill. I had a blast and cannot even begin to explain the feeling of being there with so many brands, business owners, influencers and supporters of the ORGANIC industry.
The Farm Bill (The Agriculture Improvement Act) was signed into law in December 2018, and it includes policies that promote a healthy organic marketplace, ensure that organic farmers continue to be successful and that organic expands production.
“The 2018 Farm Bill includes a robust and stable funding for federal research on organic production methods, development of new organic crop varieties and sustainable solutions to combat pests, weeds, and disease pressure. This will help organic farmers to continue to meet the unit challenges they face.” You can learn more about the Farm Bill, here.
I have wanted to go to Washington D.C. for as long as I can remember. I have always loved history and have wanted to visit D.C. to see so all of the U.S. History, beautiful monuments, White House and Smithsonian Museums. I visited the traveling Smithsonian when it came to San Jose, CA, when I was 8 years old and remember loving it so much and wanting to see more. I honestly never knew when I would make it out to our capitol, but thanks to The Organic Trade Association (OTA), my dream became a reality, and a dream that I never knew I had became real life, too. I can honestly say that working with the OTA during Organic Week D.C. to lobby on Capitol Hill is one of the coolest — if not the coolest - things that I have ever done and the highlight of my blogging career.
Organic Week D.C. is an amazing week organized by the OTA. Organic businesses travel to D.C. to hit The Hill and meet with key members of Congress! The Organic Industry is growing and is a $52.Billion dollar industry! Many households across the country are supporting the organic industry, whether they are buying just a few organic products or they are full-on organic. But there’s more that needs to be done.
This year, the OTA invited 7 influencers to be a part of Organic Week D.C.! I am so grateful that I was able to participate in Organic Week & represent the OTA on the Hill! Organic Week D.C. consists of 3 days: Member Day, Advocacy Day and Conference Day. Member Day is for members of the OTA to discuss industry issues, task force meetings and special activities. Advocacy Day is where the fun begins. Between the almost 200 people that were there for Organic Week, we split into small groups and met with 186 congressional offices, including 100 Democrats, 85 Republicans and 1 Independent, representing 43 different states. Educating Members of Congress and their staff on the importance of organic is key to our success in Washington, and this year we met with 36 newly elected Members of Congress! I personally had 4 meetings that day and partnered with different members of the OTA. There was always a leader of the group who introduced our mission and why we were there, but they also made sure that our information was presented in a positive way that made sense and that included everyone else in the room. The last day is Conference Day, where we’re gathered together to hear keynote speakers, important updates and news in the industry and even breakout into mini sessions throughout the day.
(See photos from the 4 meetings that we had with a few congressmen and women and their aides.)
This was the first year that the OTA has ever invited influencers to participate in Organic Week, and I really think it was powerful! Many OTA Members expressed their gratitude to us for being there and speaking up and representing the OTA. I had a blast meeting with different members of Congress and their legislative aides. I never thought that I would enjoy something like that so much, but it was amazing. Lobbying was one of the coolest feelings ever. It’s hard to explain, but it was exciting!
I found a new side of me. I realized that I love this side of politics, love that I have a voice and that you have a voice, too! You can vote with your dollars. When you support the ORGANIC industry, you are supporting an organic brand and organic farmers that believe in the health and wellness of your family. Did you know that there are 700 chemicals that are prohibited in organic farming, yet 3000 chemicals are allowed in conventional farming as opposed to 67 that are allowed in organic. Organic producers, farmers and brands are committed to making healthy food safe and available to all Americans!
At The Smithsonian Museum of American History