“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
This quote has always inspired me and I think it truly speaks to the
spirit of organic. We still may be a small part of the market, but I have
never seen a group of businesses so committed to changing the world.
While researching this cover article on social responsibility, the second
part of our “Building Businesses for a Better World” series, I wrote to
many of you to find examples of companies that were making a positive
impact in their communities and around the world—and
I was flooded with emails. These stories inspired me and
made me so proud to be a part of the organic communi-
ty. I hope that as you are reading this issue you will be
inspired as well.
Sometimes having an example to follow is one of the
greatest forms of inspiration. Through creating a worker-
owned co-op in Nicaragua, the founder of Maggie’s, Bená
Burda, was able form a mutually beneficial partnership—
creating jobs for hurricane victims as well as a higher
quality product. In Dialogue, Burda discusses her success with this model
and offers key advice to others who might want to pursue alternatives.
Another way of supporting social responsibility, which many business
owners might not think of at first, is through your employees’ benefits
package. In our Managing column, Rob Thomas, the founder of
Social(k), provides insight on socially responsible retirement funds and
how incorporating these can help you attract employees that share your
On a completely different note, we here at OP are also really excited
about our Processing column in which two brave certifiers, Jessica Walden
and Emily Brown Rosen, take on one of the most complicated and controversial topics in organic regulation—processing aids and food contact
substances. This is an issue that confuses many in the industry, and while
there is still no black and white answer, these certifiers provide key
insight that can help you avoid certification headaches.
Avoiding allergens is yet another hot topic that we cover in this issue,
and we are honored to share expertise from one of the top authorities in
this subject, Steve L. Taylor, director of the Food Allergy Research and
Resource Program at the University of Nebraska. As he discusses in our
Ingredients column, more organic shoppers are seeking out foods that are
free from allergens such as gluten and dairy—but entering the “free-from
zone,” takes a level of understanding, quality control and commitment.
Overall, commitment is not something the organic industry seems to
shy away from though, whether it’s dedication to quality and organic
integrity, or a commitment to being a driving force of social responsibili-
ty. The next step in commitment, is always action, so I’ll leave you with
one last quote from Gandhi that has always spoken to me, and one that I
end the cover story with. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Looking forward to hearing more inspiring stories from all of you!
Chief Executive Officer Don Meeker
Publisher Stacy Atchison
Advertising Manager Bobby Meeker
Editorial Director Kathryn Schuett
Art Director Craig Van Wechel
Circulation Manager Andrea Karges
Sales Assistant Allison Demmert
Office Manager Vicki Martin
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