Board of Trustees
The Organic Trade Association, CEO/Executive Director
Laura Batcha is the current CEO/Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Originally joining the staff of OTA in 2008, she has served in multiple capacities. Hired as Marketing and Public Relations Director, she subsequently became Chief of Policy and External Relations, and later, OTA’s Executive Vice President and Interim Co-Executive Director. A seasoned organic professional, Laura has been directly involved in organic production and handling for over 20 years, and has more than 10 years of hands-on experience in the private sector of the organic industry. She currently serves as the Chair of OTA’s Political Action Committee. She also has been appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve as a representative of the organic industry on two separate Federal Advisory Committees. The first, AC21, advises USDA on issues related to coexistence of biotechnology and organic and identity-preserved agriculture. The second, APAC, is the agricultural policy advisory committee dedicated to international trade. As CEO/Executive Director of OTA, she also serves on the Board of Trustees for The Organic Center, an independent non-profit research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.
Garden of Life, LLC., General Counsel and Vice President for Science and International Business
Jeff is General Counsel, Vice President for Science & International Business for Garden of Life, LLC. (GoL). GoL is the leading supplement and nutrition brand sold in the Healthy Foods Channel and is focused on Organic and Non GMO Verified protein supplements, whole food vitamins, probiotics and Green Foods. Jeff joined the company in 2007, and oversees product formulation, research and development, science, regulatory, international sales and legal departments and advises Garden of Life’s parent company, publicly traded Atrium Innovations, LLC on similar matters.
Environmental Working Group, President and Co-Founder
Ken Cook, President and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public interest research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. Since its founding in 1993, EWG has earned renown for its innovative, headline-making investigations of environmental problems and polluters’ anti-environmental lobbying. EWG is perhaps best known in agriculture policy circles for its Farm Subsidy Database, which lists all of the nation’s farm subsidy recipients and their share of the $165 billion taxpayers have spent on the programs since 1995. Widely recognized as one of the environmental community’s most prominent and effective critics of establishment agriculture and U.S. farm policy, Cook is the author of dozens of articles, opinion pieces and reports on environmental, public health and agricultural topics and is a frequent source of perspective and commentary in national print and broadcast media. He is regularly listed as one of Washington’s Top Lobbyists by The Hill newspaper and in 2011, journalist and healthy food movement icon Michael Pollan named Cook as one of the “Seven Most Powerful Foodies In the World.”
Nature’s Path Foods Inc., Organic Program Manager
Dag Falck, educated as an Agronomist in Norway, worked as an organic inspector for 15 years, inspecting farms and complex processors. For the last decade Dag has worked with Nature’s Path Food Inc, North America’s largest organic breakfast cereal producer. As their Organic Program Manager, he interfaces with all aspects of the company’s organic supplies, policies and consumer communications. With his unique insights and perspective of the organic sector, and as the organic ambassador for Nature’s Path, Dag is actively involved with the organic movement and takes a keen interest in the health and strength of the industry.
Horizon Organic, President
Mike Ferry is President of the Horizon™ brand, responsible for managing the brand’s marketing, research and development, operations, sales and international business units. Over the course of his 18 year marketing career, Ferry has held positions of increasing responsibility at Abbott Nutrition, leading the company’s Healthy Living Nutrition Business, the Campbell Soup Company, Segway LLC and Procter & Gamble and has been responsible for driving strong business results and developing strategies that have grown the revenue, profit and market shares for a number of popular brands.
MegHirshberg.com, Author, columnist, contributing editor for Inc. Magazine
Meg grew up outside New York City and graduated from Brown University with a degree in Comparative Literature. After college she moved to California to work on an organic farm. For three years she ran a science education garden for elementary school children. Her interest in organic growing led her to get a Master’s degree in Integrated Pest Management from Cornell Agriculture School, after which she was hired to manage a large organic vegetable operation in New Jersey. Eventually Meg moved to New Hampshire and married Gary Hirshberg, Cofounder and Chairman of Stonyfield Yogurt. Gary was the company’s CEO for 28 years. Meg worked in the business for several years, in sales and yogurt production. Stonyfield took nine painful years to reach profitability, and now, with about $370 million in sales, it is the largest organic yogurt company in the world. After Meg stopped working in the business, she wrote two yogurt cookbooks, and launched a career in freelance nonfiction feature writing for several magazines. Currently Meg is a contributing editor and regular columnist for Inc. Magazine.
Annie's Inc., Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Research and Development
Bob Kaake is Chief Innovation Officer at Annie’s and leads the team responsible for helping Annie create new products and flavors. Bob has over 25 years of experience in the food industry in product development and quality. He is a Certified Food Scientist and has a B.S. in Food Science from Purdue University. He lives in San Francisco, which is a perfect place for his science brain and foodie spirit to coexist.
Grimmway Farms /Cal-Organic Farms, Vice President of Organic Sales
A 25 year veteran of the Organic Produce Industry, Mr. Linsky started his produce career as a produce clerk/manager in a local San Diego natural foods store. From there he moved to one of the pioneering natural foods store in Southern California to run the produce departments. He began his journey in buying and shipping organic produce with S&S produce in Los Angeles. The company created the very first grower/shipper operation for organic produce, Ocean Organic, located in Moss Landing California. In 1988 Cal-Organic Farms was a part of the Ocean Organic family and Mr. Linsky moved to the farm in Lamont, CA to begin managing and developing a sales program. Cal-Organic broke away in 1989 from Ocean, and until 2001 ran their own sales company. In May of 2001 Cal-Organic became a part of the Grimmway Family of companies. At that time, Mr. Linsky was elevated to his current position of V.P. of Organic Sales.
Lundberg Family Farms, Vice President of People, Planet and Process
Jessica Lundberg is Vice President of People, Planet and Process as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Lundberg Family Farms, the United State’s leading producer of organic rice and rice products. 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 the seed nursery, overseeing the maintenance, purity and development of proprietary rice varieties such as Wehani®, Black Japonica and California Arborio.
CROPP Cooperative / Organic Valley, Mission Executive
Theresa Marquez, Mission Executive for Organic Valley, is one of the co-founders of The Organic Center. Marquez has been a passionate advocate for organic farming and organic foods since 1978. “More research and support for food produced without the 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides used annually is long overdue.”
Florida Organic Growers, Executive Director
Marty first started growing organically in 1972. His passion led to forming a co-op that same year. Since then, Marty has been named as one of the top 25 people who have greatly influenced the development of the organic industry. As an organic farmer, Marty helped start Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers (FOG) in 1989 and currently serves as the non-profit’s Executive Director. Aside from FOG’s policy work to further organic agriculture, FOG’s organic certification program, Quality Certification Services (QCS), provides services in 12 countries for more than one thousand farm and handling operations.
United Natural Foods, VP Policy and Industry Relations
Ms. Meyer is the Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI). Her role is to help strengthen and promote healthy, sustainable and organic food production and consumption through education and advocacy. She is also the Executive Director for the UNFI Foundation. Melody serves on the Board of Directors for the Organic Trade Association and serves on the Organic Advisory Committee for the CA Department of Food and Agriculture.
President, Kamut International
Quinn, a fourth generation Montana farmer, has been a leader in organics in his state and in the nation. Bob Quinn and his family joined his parents in running the 2,400-acre family farm near Big Sandy in 1978. In 1983, Bob started a wheat buying/brokering company, Montana Flour & Grains, Inc., and soon he was buying and marketing wheat from his neighbors as well. Then, as customers began requesting organic grains, Bob became an active researcher, experimenting with organic methods on his farm. The work suited him well, with his curious and entrepreneurial spirit – and PhD in plant biochemistry. Within three years the Quinn farm was converted to organic production, and by 1991 it was one of the first 100% organically certified farms in Montana. In 1988 he introduced to the organic market an ancient wheat under his trademark, Kamut. Currently, he is President of Kamut International, farming in the summer and coordinating research on ancient wheat and promoting the Kamut trademark at food shows in the winter.
Alfalfa's Market, Chairman & Co-founder
Mark Retzloff, Chairman & Co-founder of Alfalfa’s Market, is a true organic industry pioneer. He has devoted his life and 44-year career to furthering the organic movement through establishing, running, turning around and advising organic companies across multiple categories, including Alfalfa’s Market, Horizon Organic Dairy, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Aurora Organic Dairy and many more. As head lobbyist for the Organic Food Alliance, Mark was instrumental in the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and continues to positively influence the industry through his personal and professional support of initiatives that strengthen organic. As such, he was a founding Board member of The Organic Center starting in 2002, and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.
Jamba Juice, Inc., Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer
Susan has been Jamba’s Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer since January 2012. Prior to this role, Ms. Shields served as Jamba’s Chief Marketing Office from November 2009 through 2011. Ms. Shields is responsible for helping to drive comprehensive growth of the Jamba brand through leadership of all product innovation initiatives. Ms. Shields has over 25 years of strategic leadership experience in marketing, brand and product development, innovation, and business development within the retail and CPG food industry with an emphasis on the development of better-for-you food offerings.
SaraSnow.com, Green Lifestyle Expert, TV Host, Author
Seven years into a career as an Emmy Award-winning television producer and news anchor, Sara returned to her roots to become creator and host of a TV series with practical advice on living green. She soon hosted two series for the Discovery Networks: Living Fresh and Get Fresh with Sara Snow, both of which have helped Sara reach millions of viewers across the globe with a message of simple, attainable natural living. Sara is an author, a blogger, a television host, and public speaker. She has been featured on the pages and airwaves of recognized mediums such as Good Morning America, the CBS Early Show, Fox & Friends, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Better Homes and Gardens, Lucky Magazine, Natural Health, Harper’s Bazaar, and Woman’s Day.
Whole Foods Market, Vice President of Quality Standards
Margaret Wittenberg is Vice President of Global Quality Standards at Whole Foods Market, the leading natural and organic foods retailer. With over 35 years of experience in the natural and organic foods industry, Margaret joined Whole Foods Market in 1981 as one of the company’s original team members. She was a pioneer of the company’s legendary quality standards and developmental work, and, in her role as Global Vice President of Quality Standards since 1998, implemented the multi-stakeholder collaboration model that has become the company’s signature approach. Throughout the years, Margaret has served on advisory panels for many key domestic and international organizations related to seafood sustainability, farm animal welfare, agricultural genetic engineering, and sustainable and organic agriculture, including the USDA National Organic Standards Board. She is a member of the Marine Stewardship Council’s Stakeholder Council and currently serves on the board of directors for The Organic Center, the American Botanical Council, and the Whole Kids Foundation. In 2005, she was honored by the National Audubon Society with the Rachel Carson Award for her more than 30 years of work championing organic agriculture, sustainability and the environment. Margaret has also authored several books on the topics of exploring, preparing, and enjoying the spectrum of nutritious, great tasting foods, her most current being, “The Essential Good Food Guide” published in 2013 by Ten Speed Press.