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Big Fish Eat Little Fish: Organic Survival in an Evolving Supplier Market

Very few first-generation organic processors, retailers, and wholesalers have escaped the American food system's "law of the jungle." Most of them ultimately succumb to mergers or acquisitions. Are alternative ownership models needed to safeguard businesses that embrace “beyond the bottom line” missions and ethics? The cooperative grocery seems to be one such model, so why don't coops thrive in every community? Some companies are "buying themselves out" before sharks arrive, cashing out aging owners and equity employees, while securing the organization's independent future. This workshop will explore new pathways of business ownership and operation that might better secure and build upon our organic movement's long-held core ideals and ethical foundations. To go more in depth, reserve your spot for the all-day pre-conference Wednesday. 

Track and Session Info

Track: 
Marketing, Retail, Wholesale
Session: 
B | 10:30 am

Date and Location

Day: 
Thursday
Presenter(s): 

Brenna Davis

Title: 
Brenna Davis
Presenter Affiliation: 
PCC Community Markets
Bio: 
Brenna Davis is an accomplished sustainability innovator and strategist. As VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility at PCC Community Markets, the largest community-owned food market in the nation, she leads one of the most cutting-edge sustainability efforts in grocery. Her accomplishments at PCC to date include developing the organizations first social and environmental responsibility strategy, which has resulted in achievement of 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral store operations; and developing the organization’s first set of sustainability goals, which includes eliminating petroleum-based plastic from PCC’s deli. Davis started her career in the energy sector, working with major fortune 500 companies to identify and reduce their environmental impact. Prior to PCC, she was the sustainability director at Virginia Mason Health System and also held roles in sustainability at Puget Sound Energy and AT&T. Davis is dedicated to mobilizing business to urgently address the climate crisis while building the local economy.

Elizabeth Nardi

Title: 
Elizabeth Nardi
Presenter Affiliation: 
Organically Grown Company
Bio: 
Elizabeth Nardi is the CEO of Organically Grown Company, the largest distributor of organic produce in the Pacific Northwest. For the past 40+years, the company’s progressive and entrepreneurial spirit has fueled its mission and growth, meeting the demand for organics in the marketplace while supporting its community of farmers, and most recently becoming owned by the Sustainable Food & Agriculture Perpetual Purpose Trust. Prior to OGC, Elizabeth held retail leadership positions at Guido's Fresh Marketplace and New Seasons Market. In her early career Elizabeth worked with the Northeast Organic Farming Association and the Pure Food Campaign, and at Center for Food Safety where she lobbied as a grassroots organizer on issues ranging from labeling milk from cows treated with growth hormone (rBGH) to the regulation of genetically engineered foods. She also worked for Senator Patrick Leahy, cosponsor of the historic National Organic Foods Production Act.

Bob Quinn

Title: 
Bob Quinn
Bio: 
Bob Quinn is passionate about organic farming and the need to provide a sustainable, nutritional food source for the United States. A deep-rooted belief that rural communities should be valued and nurtured has always been a driving force of this passion. Bob has been farming organic Kamut ancient grain since 1983. He is the founder of Kamut International which allows him to promote organic agriculture and the KAMUT® brand ancient wheat. He is the author of "Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food."

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Thank you to our EcoFarm 2020 sponsors!