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OTA fills All Things Organic convention with fresh ideas

Attendees at this year's All Things Organic convention and trade show will have an opportunity to gain insights into the dynamically growing organic field and find out how to stay on top of their game.

These special events and seminars, arranged by the Organic Trade Association, focus on a multitude of important topics for OTA members and non-members alike.

Things kick into high gear Saturday, May 5. Two special seminars will be offered to OTA members as part of OTA Member Day. "Crisis Planning for Marketing and PR Professionals" will help companies learn how to deal with the media during times of crisis.

"Techniques for Financing Growth" will help businesses learn how to finance company growth and provide resource tips. "What's Your Exit Strategy" will focus on long-term business planning.

Sunday, May 6, former Vice President Al Gore will deliver the conference's opening keynote address. Mr. Gore, who also served in both houses of Congress, has toured internationally to talk about the effects of global warming and the importance of a global information infrastructure. Mr. Gore is the author of the best-selling book, "An Inconvenient Truth: the planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it," which also served as the basis for his recent documentary film.

A powerful lineup of seminars begins the same day. Growing business in the Northern Hemisphere is the focus of "Organic 101: State of the Organic Industry in North America." Regulatory changes and market conditions will be discussed.

"Making Global Local: Thinking Locally, Acting Globally" will give participants an opportunity to find out how overseas initiatives are helping communities globally.

Find out what the experts have to say about creating exciting and dynamic marketing campaigns in "Merchandising Organic Products for Retailers."

Businesses dealing with foodservice will find out how organic breakfast products can be marketed and included in school food programs, restaurants and fast food chains by attending "Organic for Breakfast."

"Supplementing Your Health: Food, Herbs and More" will give insights into the ways organic food choices can help people maintain healthy lifestyles.

"Organic 101: U.S. Organic Regulations in Plain English" will demystify complicated regulatory language and put things in perspective.

The organic arena is showing dynamic growth, and "Balancing Supply & Demand: Transitioning farms and securing future success for organic" will provide information about where and how organic crops are being converted most easily.

By the end of 2007, the United States will implement a once-in-every-five- years farm bill governing agricultural funding, research and rural development. Get the details in "Organic, the Farm Bill and You."

"Personifying the Organic Consumer" will give attendees a more detailed look at organic consumers and how they make purchasing choices.

As demand for organic product continues to exceed supply, companies are increasing looking abroad to fill the gap. "Shopping the Global Marketplace: Importing Organic" is designed as a how-to session to help companies keep pace.

Sunday's seminars conclude with a presentation from retailers who will share their successful strategies to increase profit in "Ten Creative Ways to Market and Merchandise Organic Specialty Foods."

Monday, May 7, activities begin with a keynote panel discussion with "The Next Generation of Organic Leaders."

This will be followed by "Organic 101: Category Management for the Organic Food Retailer." Speakers will present management tools to help business meet and keep pace with organic customer demand.

"The Ethnic Organic Consumer: Marketing Opportunities and Complimentary Certifications" will discuss the unique values that different ethnic groups bring to the marketplace.

Attendees can learn more about strategies to increase organic food offerings in public schools by attending "The Organic Lunchbox: Bringing Organic to Schools."

"Organic 101: Communicating the Organic Benefit" explores the intricacies of organic labeling, standards and benefits to consumers.

Organic wine, beer and spirits are among the fastest growing market segments, and "Expanding Your Offerings" Organic Wine, Beer and Liquors" will provide some insights to the challenges and rewards of these products.

"News and Views from USDA: Washington Update" will provide a synopsis of rules, regulations and services affecting the organic marketplace.

Retailers continue to roll out new products through private labeling, and "Private Label Product Development for Retailers" will explore business relationships, certification and product development.

Tuesday, May 8, award-winning author Claire Raines will provide the closing keynote address. Ms. Raines will talk about successful work cultures and how different generations can work side by side.

"Organic 101: Organic Certification for Processors and Handlers" will help businesses learn how to simplify the first-time certification process.

"The Farm-Retail Relationship: Building Access to Farmers" is designed to help retailers establish relationships with local growers to keep product in the pipeline.

"Local and Organic: Competing or Complimentary Movements?" explores the difference between organic food supplies and products grown locally. Issues such as farmer health and environmental stewardship will also be discussed.

Rounding out the day's sessions will be "What Your Regional Government Can Do for You." During the presentation, information will be provided as to how regional governments can help organic and transitioning farmers achieve their goals.