148662-INFOA mom shared a picture of her toddler watering their organic vegetable garden, a college student asked about the stringency of organic standards, a diabetic adhering to a gluten-free diet appreciated the organic recipes and an influential Capitol Hill reporter tweeted to her thousands of followers about Organic Palooza. That's just a smattering of the reaction and buzz created by the Organic Trade Association's first-ever social media festival.

The Organic Trade Association's (OTA) recent 10-day "Organic-Palooza" social media festival reached more than 15 million individual social media users, likely making it one of the largest-ever, short-term social campaigns in the organic industry.

"Organic is always a lively topic on social media, but we wanted to spark an open, two-way and substantive conversation about the wide array of organic benefits and answer the tough questions," said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of OTA. "We sought to reach as many people as possible—not just loyal organic consumers and members, but also new-to-organic consumers, non-organic consumers, media, thought leaders and bloggers. We're incredibly pleased and in awe that this reached well over 15 million individuals. It shows the consumer marketplace was ready and enthusiastic for in-depth learning and serious dialogue."

Organized by OTA with support from members and organic thought leaders, the Sept. 8 – 17 campaign presented on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and leveraging the #OrganicFestival hashtag featured daily themes aimed at inspiring real learning, real discussion and ongoing conversation among social audiences, with experts sharing scientific facts. Topics explored organic's health, taste, economic and environmental benefits – as well as organic standards, definition, certification and regulation.

Organic has become a part of everyday life for millions of consumers. Eighty percent of American families buy organic sometimes; many of those families try to buy almost exclusively organic. As the presence of organic products has increased in our daily lives, so have consumers' questions and general interest in organic.

Each day throughout the campaign and under the #OrganicFestival hashtag, social media users shared information and photos on where they see organic in their lives, ways to feed their kids more organic, news about the booming organic fiber industry, and how they make organic affordable—all the while posting recipes and tips, asking members and experts questions, and interacting with other consumers on the day's topics.

Participants wanted to get to the bottom of how and why organic is healthier for humans and the environment. The day of the one of the most serious topics – Is Organic Trustworthy? – was the day that saw the most people participating. That day's Twitter Party, one of five during the festival, drew over 50 questions in one hour, and every single question was answered by OTA and its partners.

All told, more than 2,500 individuals used the campaign hashtags, creating more than 16,250 posts, and OTA's "Organic-Palooza" content and graphics were shared more than 4,300 times.

The festival's five afternoon Twitter Parties were co-hosted by industry leaders who are experts on the day's topics. Co-presenters included: Clif Bar Family Foundation's Mathew Dillon, Only Organic, Environmental Working Group, Dr. Alan Greene, Rodale Institute's "Coach" Mark Smallwood, The Organic Center's Dr. Jessica Shade, and ECO-lifestyle pioneer Marci Zaroff.

Approximately 100 OTA members shared the "Organic-Palooza" social media content—which included educational graphics created by OTA for social sharing. And, 25 organic brands offered 45 prizes (values ranging from $25 - $500) to randomly selected social media users who engaged in the "Organic-Palooza" content.

"We're also encouraged that so many organic brands took part in sharing the campaign's messages to speak in a unified voice in the midst of their own social media outreach," Batcha added. "Their support and generous donation of organic gifts truly made this a festival worth celebrating and staying engaged in the conversation via social media outlets where eaters and thinkers gather."

OTA is keeping its "Organic-Palooza" campaign daily graphics archived at:http://www.organicitsworthit.org/learn/organicfestival for individuals and organizations who would like to continue sharing them online.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

WASHINGTONSept. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 

SOURCE Organic Trade Association

CONTACT: Maggie McNeil, 202-403-8514; 202-615-7997, mmcneil@ota.com


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