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.
University of California, Berkeley, Associate Director for Exposure Assessment
Dr. Asa Bradman holds the Scientist Seat on the Organic Center Board of Trustees, keeping the center connected with the academic community and current scientific investigations affecting the organic community. He is an environmental health scientist and expert in exposure assessment and epidemiology focusing on occupational and environmental exposures to pregnant women and children. He co-founded the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) and helps direct exposure and health studies as part of the CHAMACOS partnership in the Salinas Valley, California. His research focuses on pesticides, flame retardants, metals, emerging pollutants, VOCs, and other contaminants. Dr. Bradman also leads an initiative to improve environmental health in California childcare facilities and was a recipient of the IPM Innovators award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. He participates in extensive community outreach and education and interfaces with other scientists, state and federal agencies, policy makers, and industry. He participates on several advisory bodies and was appointed by Governor Schwarzennegger, and reappointed by Governor Brown, to serve on the California Biomonitoring Scientific Guidance Panel.
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.
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.
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.
Organic Valley / CROPP Cooperative, Farm Resources Manager
Logan Peterman manages the Farm Resources Department at Organic Valley Headquarters in La Farge, WI. With a background in Ecology and Organic vegetable production he has strong experience in the biological and scientific constraints associated with organic production and research. In his position at the cooperative he advises CROPP staff and management on research proposals, solicitations, and technical issues confronting farmers throughout the US. He works closely with a staff of veterinarians and agronomic specialists to bring independent services and advice to farmer/members across the country. He brings his experience implementing and analyzing ecological data to bear on the development of new programs and projects, and advises the Farmers Advocating for Organic committee with the review of submitted agronomic grant proposals.
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.
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.