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Five To Receive OTA’s 2013 Organic Leadership Awards

Arran and Ratana Stephens

by Barbara Haumann/Organic Trade Association

Special to The Shelby Report

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) 2013 Organic Leadership Awards will be presented to a passionate couple who have dedicated their lives to organic for nearly three decades, a professional farmer who has advanced practices for growing organic tree fruit, and two emerging leaders on a mission to create meaningful opportunities for military veterans in organic.

Those who will be recognized Sept. 25 at OTA’s annual awards celebration are Arran and Ratana Stephens, Kyle Mathison, and Karen and Colin Archipley.

Growing Organic Industry Award

Arran Stephens and his wife and partner Ratana Stephens have fearlessly and passionately devoted their lives to the growth and success of the organic food movement. In 1985, they founded Nature’s Path Foods Inc. based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. In 1990, the company became one of the first third-party certified organic processors in North America. Nature’s Path employs more than 500 team members across the U.S. and Canada and is helping to grow green jobs in the organic industry.

Organic Farmer of the Year Award

Kyle Mathison
Kyle Mathison

Kyle Mathison, a fourth-generation farmer and co-owner of Stemilt Growers LLC of Wenatchee, Wash., comes from a multi-generation tree fruit-growing family. He began experimenting with organic production in the late 1980s. He subsequently became a certified organic grower and currently farms with his two sons, growing apples, pears and cherries. Mathison was one of the first to use an integrated organic program in his orchards. He also established a compost facility, which provides organic compost to other organic growers.

Rising Star Award

Karen and Colin Archipley founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training (VSAT) program in 2007 at their organic hydroponic farm, Archi’s Acres, in Escondido, Calif. Archi’s Acres and the VSAT program offer training

Karen and Colin Archipley
Karen and Colin Archipley

and employment opportunities in the organic farming sector for military veterans who otherwise face an unemployment rate twice the national average. The program at Archi’s Acres has trained more than 200 active duty military members and veterans for careers in sustainable and organic agriculture and other sectors in the food supply chain.

In the feature photo at top: Husband and wife team Arran and Ratana Stephens, founders of Nature’s Path Foods, will receive OTA’s Growing Organic Industry Award next month.


Featured Photos

Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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