Oregon Tilth co-founder recognized with Growing Organic Community award
Oregon Tilth co-founder, Lynn Coody, has been a crucial voice on the organic front since the 1970s. In recognition of her important work at the local, national and international levels, we’re pleased to share that Coody will receive the Organic Trade Association’s Growing Organic Community Award.
First serving as general manager of an organic farm, Coody has provided invaluable technical assistance over the years to growers, certifiers, producers and regulatory agencies throughout the country and around the world.
Coody was there in the early days of today’s organic sector, and helped spearhead legislation on both the state and federal level that has made today’s flourishing organic industry a reality. She was one of a three-person team who guided the development of the Oregon Food Law, Senate Bill, in the late 1980s. She served as technical advisor to Kathleen Merrigan (aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont) during the drafting of the federal Organic Foods Production Act and to Oregon’s Rep. Peter DeFazio’s staff on the House version.
Rep. DeFazio praised Coody’s long leadership in organic and said he still turns to her for advice:
Lynn and I have worked together for over 30 years. It was her leadership that made Oregon the first state in the nation to have an organic labeling law. Witnessing Oregon’s success by providing consumers a standard they could trust, I made passing a federal labeling law one of my first priorities when I came to Congress. I depended on Lynn for her advice, expertise, and hard work when drafting the Organic Foods Production Act which became law in 1990. Thirty years later, I still seek Lynn’s advice as we work to strengthen and support the nation’s organic sector. I can think of no one more deserving of the Growing Organic Community Award.
Coody has been principal consultant at Organic Agsystems Consulting — her own technical assistance firm — since 1982, focusing primarily on education, standards development, advocacy and research. Described by peers as possessing vision, courage and know-how as a deft facilitator and leader, she is regarded as a core expert who provides careful thought based on values of integrity and transparency, as well as good science, while always advocating for organic family farmers.
“Being honored by the Organic Trade Association is extremely meaningful to me—particularly because the process begins with nomination by a person’s peers,” said Coody. “Recognition for work in ‘Growing the Organic Community’ is a special joy, which reflects my personal goal of supporting the work of others through development of infrastructure such as standards, certification systems, and materials review.”
Coody added: “Although that work is not very glamorous, these tools were needed for a small group of organic pioneers to evolve into a significant sector of the agricultural economy. I am proud to have devoted my career to the organic world.”
The Organic Trade Association’s Annual Organic Leadership Award was established in 1997. Awardees are nominated by their peers and chosen unanimously by the association’s Board of Directors.
To learn more about Lynn Coody’s history with Oregon Tilth, please see our 2016 membership spotlight.