The Organic Center has named 15 persons to its new Board of Trustees, and formally introduced them at its sold-out fundraiser dinner March 9 held in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.
Since September 2012 when it began operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), The Organic Center has been governed by an Interim Board of Directors, charged with seating a new Board of Trustees to guide the organization going forward. Members of the new Board possess the wide range of experience and skills necessary to develop a new research organization that can meet the numerous and rapidly changing needs of the organic community.
The Trustees will work closely with Jessica Shade, Ph.D., the organization’s new Director of Science Programs, to facilitate The Center’s mission to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate the findings to the public. Dr. Shade began working for The Center on February 19. She is an environmental scientist with experience in developing, conducting, monitoring and supervising conservation research, a record of successful science communication, and outreach program development knowledge. A short-term priority for the Board and Dr. Shade is to convene a Scientific Advisory Board for scientific undertakings.
“This is a new beginning for The Organic Center. While its structure may have changed, its mission to bring credible science to the organic industry has not. We are very fortunate to have assembled a Board that has the passion and a vision to propel us all forward. The addition of Dr. Shade only makes our jobs that much more exciting,” said Todd Linsky, who has been selected as chairman of The Center’s new Board.
The following lists the members of the new Board of Trustees named in early March:
- Selected as chairman, Todd Linsky is Vice President of Organic Sales for Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic Farms. A 25-year veteran of the organic produce industry, he previously served on OTA’s Board of Directors, and was the OTA Representative on an earlier Board of Directors for The Center.*
- Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, is widely recognized as one of the environmental community’s most prominent and effective critics of establishment agriculture and U.S. farm policy, and a leading voice on federal chemicals and pesticides law. Cook also serves on the board of Organic Voices and the Amazon Conservation Team.
- Marty Mesh helped form the Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers in 1989, and has served as its executive director since 1995. He is a past member of OTA’s Board of Directors.
- Bob Quinn, president of Kamut® International, is a fourth generation Montana farmer, certified for 26 years, and a member of OTA since 1987. A member of the first National Organic Standards Board, he has a Ph.D. in plant biochemistry from UC Davis. In 2010, he received an OTA Organic Leadership Award.
- Susan Shields has been Jamba Juice’s Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation officer since January 2012. She has over 20 years of strategic leadership experience in marketing health & wellness brands, product development, innovation, and business development.*
- Sara Snow, whose parents were pioneers in the natural foods movement, is known as a green lifestyle expert, TV host, and author. Among her many achievements have been hosting shows and TV series offering practical advice to consumers on “living green.” *
- effrey Brams is General Counsel and Vice President for Science and International Business for Garden of Life LLC. There, he oversees product formulation, R & D, science, regulatory, international sales and legal departments.
Dag Falck has served as the Organic Program Manager at Nature’s Path Organic Foods since 2002. He is active in the development of the organic sector, currently serving as a board member of the Canada Organic Trade Association. He received The Organic Center’s Science and Technology Award in 2012.
- Bob Kaake is Chief Innovation Officer for Annie’s Inc. A food professional with over 29 years of experience in a variety of technical roles, he is a food science and engineering expert in the organic and natural foods industry.
- Theresa Marquez is now Mission Executive for CROPP Cooperative, the nation’s largest organic farmer cooperative and the largest farmer-owned organic brand, Organic Valley. A pioneer of the natural foods movement, she received an OTA Organic Leadership Award in 2010.*
- Melody Meyer is Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods (UNFI). She is also the Executive Director of the UNFI Foundation, which is dedicated to funding non-profit organizations that promote organic and sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems. She is a member of OTA’s Board of Directors.
- Mike Ferry is President of Horizon Organic, responsible for leading all aspects of the business. He is a passionate advocate for the organic industry, and the health and environmental benefits it provides.
- Meg Hirshberg is a professional writer, speaker, and currently contributing editor and regular columnist for Inc. magazine. Meg worked on and ran several organic vegetable operations in the 1970s and 80s, and founded NOFA New Jersey. She received a Master’s degree in in IPM from Cornell Ag School. In the past, she worked in the family business—Stonyfield Farm, co-founded by husband Gary Hirshberg.</lii>
- Jessica Lundberg is Vice President of People, Planet and Process as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Lundberg Family Farms. A member of the Lundberg family’s third generation, she oversees the quality, human resources, safety and environmental initiatives at the company as well as its seed nursery.
- Margaret Wittenberg joined Whole Foods Market in 1981 as one of the company’s original team members. Since 1998, she has been its Vice President of Quality Standards. She served on OTA’s Board of Directors from 2001-2004, and on The Organic Center Board of Directors from 2008-2011.*
- Also on the Board, OTA’s CEO and Executive Director Christine Bushway leads the organic industry’s trade association representing over 6,500 organic businesses, and sets strategic direction for OTA and The Organic Center.
- Mark Retzloff, ex officio and outgoing chairman of The Organic Center, is a pioneer in the organic and natural foods industry, with a 40-year career starting and managing successful companies. Most recently, he co-founded Aurora Organic Dairy and serves as its Chairman of the Board. He is a founding partner at Greenmont Capital.*
The Organic Center's mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming and to communicate the findings to the public. As an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association, The Center envisions improved health for the earth and its inhabitants through the conversion of agriculture to organic methods.