Looking for a new way to bring organic to your college campus? Have a younger sibling whose school could benefit from having greater access to organic food? The Organic Trade Association (OTA) can help! This spring, OTA is helping schools access and offer students more organic food with a national contest to award a winning school with an organically grown garden or an organic vending machine.
With its “Organic. Its Worth it in Schools.” initiative, OTA – which represents more than 1,400 organic food and product companies – is calling on teachers, parents, students, educators and others to vote for their favorite school to win an organic garden complete with seeds, soil and expert gardening support; or a fully stocked vending machine, which can feature organic items like milk, fruit, cheese, yogurt and snacks.
Through May 1, 2010, individuals can visit www.OrganicItsWorthIt.org and enter their school name and address while at the same time “voting” by signing up for an electronic newsletter featuring organic tips, recipes, news and more. A school must receive a minimum 1,000 votes (or newsletter sign-ups) to win. (Full details on rules and regulations are at www.organicitsworthit.org/join/current-campaigns.) The winning school selects the garden or vending machine for installation in the 2010-11 school year.
“Organic food is the only food certified by the USDA to have no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, irradiation and genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). And, organically grown gardens use no harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on the soil,” said Christine Bushway, executive director of OTA. “We know schools in large cities and small towns work hard to promote healthy food and environmental stewardship. With ‘Organic. It’s Worth it in Schools.,’ we want to provide them with one more tool to help them along.”
The Organic. It’s Worth It site also features tools and information for schools, parents and students to advocate for more organic food in schools, as well as information about the healthful, economic and social benefits of organic food and gardening.
OTA is conducting the initiative as an extension of its first-ever national consumer education and awareness campaign, which launched in March 2009. “Organic. It’s worth it.” is an online outreach effort highlighting the benefits of organic food, farming and home products.