To recognize the contributions the organic food industry provides to growers, processors, and consumers across the Evergreen State, Gov. Jay Inslee has declared Sept. 7 – 14 as Washington Organic Week, or WOW!, a weeklong celebration of organic agriculture. The governor’s proclamation is posted on the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) website.
Tilth Producers of Washington will bring growers, organic agriculture advocates and consumers together for events that celebrate organic food, health and commerce during this year’s peak harvest season.
“Washington enjoys a well-deserved reputation for quality foods and beverages that includes a dynamic organic sector,” Gov. Inslee said. “I encourage Washingtonians to take part in Washington Organic Week and buy products produced by our outstanding organic farmers and certified organic businesses.”
Organically grown commodities—from forage to dairy products and tree fruit to vegetables—represent a significant sector in Washington’s $46 billion food and agriculture industry, accounting for about 4 percent of all food sales. In terms of annual sales of organic products for crops and livestock, Washington ranks second in the U.S. with sales of $284 million in 2011.
“We had less than 100 farms certified organic in Washington when WSDA launched its Organic Food Program with strong industry support 25 years ago,” said WSDA Director Bud Hover. “Now we have more than 700 organic-certified farms, 90,000 acres of certified organic farm land and Washington is the third largest organic producer in the U.S.”
WSDA’s program is entirely fee-funded and certifies some 1,100 organic growers, handlers and processors of organic products, as well as registering 750 material inputs for organic production. The staff focuses on customer service, technical assistance and ensuring strict organic standards are maintained. It is the longest-running and largest state certification agency in the U.S.
Tilth Producers of Washington and its partners are planning events ranging from an evening “blast-off party” in La Conner on Sept. 7 to an event to sample organic beer and organic chocolate in Seattle Sept. 14. For more information, visit the website for Tilth Producers.