Americans spent about $27 billion on organic food in 2012, compared with $11 billion in 2004 (Nutrition Business Journal). Organic food production in the U.S. has increased by more than 240% in the last decade (Organic Trade Association), compared with just 3% growth in the conventional food market.
But while these statistics show some promising fundamental change in the way Americans are viewing and purchasing food, it’s actually a small percentage of the population – just 18% – who account for about half of all organic food sales. These consumers tend to be “true believers” and “enlightened environmentalists,” according to two consumer research firms, Information Resources Inc. and SPINS. The organic movement has thus come to be seen as an elitist one to many Americans, and organic food as something that only rich people can afford.
Luckily, the association between organic and elitist is slowly changing. More demand equals more supply, which over time brings costs down and accessibility up.
As healthy living bloggers, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate this change. By sharing our own stories and showing readers that we too are just regular people trying to care for our families, we can help to shift existing cultural beliefs about organic food and products.
This panel will engage bloggers and brands in a thoughtful discussion about the organic movement, including:
- What organic really means and how it differs from other trendy food terminology
- Why consumers, farmers and brands choose to go organic
- How the organic movement came to be perceived as an elitist one
- What brands, bloggers and farmers are doing to shift cultural views about organic
Takeaways you can expect from this panel:
- Tips for sharing your organic knowledge or lifestyle choices in an approachable way that resonates with and influences readers
- How to promote organic products and brands in a meaningful and authentic voice
- Strategies for approaching, pitching and working with organic brands
- How you can use your blog as a platform to create social and cultural change surrounding the organic movement
Melissa Lanz – Melissa is a former internet marketing executive, wife, mom, founder of the renowned meal planning service, The Fresh 20, and author of The Fresh 20 Cookbook. She created The Fresh 20 for busy families and singles who want to eat fresh, healthy meals while saving time and money. Using just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients, Melissa’s meal plans show people exactly how to eat real food on a budget. Melissa is devoted to improving the eating habits and health of as many Americans as possible, regardless of income level, and brings a huge amount of both branding and activist experience to this panel. Read more of Melissa’s story here, or connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and The Fresh 20 Facebook page.
Amelia Winslow, MS, MPH – Amelia is a nutritionist, chef, mom and founder of Eating Made Easy, a blog that answers food questions, de-bunks nutrition myths and provides practical tips to make healthy eating easier. Amelia started Eating Made Easy to help reduce the confusion that exists about what’s truly healthy, and to help consumers make sense of massive amounts of food information so they can feel less stressed out about eating. She is extremely devoted to the organic food movement and has extensive experience working with agencies and brands in the organic sector. Connect with Amelia on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook.
Will Allen – Will Allen has many years of involvement in the field of sustainable agriculture. He was one of the pioneers of organic farming in California and helped start the certification program through the California Certified Organic Farmers Organization. In 1990, Will founded the Sustainable Cotton Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping cotton growers transition to organic production, and working with cotton companies to encourage them to purchase and use organic cotton in their manufacturing processes. Currently, he serves on the policy and advisory board of the Organic Consumers AssociationWill is a founding board member of Farms Not Arms, an organization dedicated to bringing together people from the farming community to oppose the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, Will’s book, The War on Bugs, was published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company in White River Junction, Vermont.
Alan Lewis – Mr. Lewis directs Government Affairs and Food and Agriculture Policy for Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, a 60-year-old health food store chain which operates 90 stores in fourteen Western and Mid-western states. He also oversees organic integrity, certification and compliance for the chain. Mr. Lewis is active in several national trade organizations and is a member of the Boulder County, Colorado, Food and Agriculture Policy Council. His focus is on communicating with policy makers at the federal, state and local level using frameworks that are non-confrontational and inclusive. He has lived for extended periods in Portugal, Haiti, and Dominica, where he developed a keen appreciation for the variables of agriculture within ecological, cultural and economic contexts.
Emily Martin – Emily Martin is a campaign manager with the National Resources Defense Council’s Food Team working on antibiotic stewardship in the livestock industry. She resides in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and their 2-year-old son.
Image source: Organic Valley Cooperative. Pictured: Emily Zweber and two of her children, of Zweber Family Farms in Minnesota.