Natural Foods Merchandiser

NNFA Honors Industry Heavyweights

On Saturday evening, June 28, in Las Vegas at its annual trade show and convention, MarketPlace, the NNFA will again host the President's Reception and Awards Ceremony. Awards will be presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the natural products industry.

This year's Burton Kallman Scientific Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant scientific contributions to the natural products industry, will be presented to Walter Willett, M.D. Willett is chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and professor of epidemiology and nutrition, and is recognized as one of the leading epidemiologists in the country. He was a co-investigator of the Nurses' Health Study I and was principal investigator of the Nurses' Health Study II, designed to examine the association between lifestyle and nutritional factors and the occurrence of breast cancer and other major illnesses. In 1986, Willett initiated the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a parallel prospective study of diet in relation to cancer and cardiovascular disease among men. He has published more than 650 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and he also wrote the textbook Nutritional Epidemiology, now in its second edition. More recently, he wrote Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, in which he challenges the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid with a new dietary guideline.

Loren D. Israelsen, head of LDI Group Inc., a strategic consulting firm for the natural products industry, is the recipient of this year's President's Award, presented to an individual who has made longtime contributions to the natural products industry or has made a one-time, uniquely significant impact on the industry. Israelsen has 20 years of experience in the supplements, phytomedicine and functional foods fields. He has served as president of Nature's Way, as dietary supplement issue manager to the Trans Atlantic Business Dialogue and as an adviser to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements on botanical research priorities. His work as executive director of the Utah Natural Products Alliance was instrumental in the introduction and passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on policy and commercial issues affecting dietary supplements and has published many articles in the field.

This year's Rachel Carson Environmental Award, which was created to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment, will be awarded to Frances Moore Lappé. Diet for a Small Planet, Lappé's 1976 book, was instrumental in opening eyes all over the world to the wasteful practice of harvesting edible grains for livestock consumption. She recently published its sequel, Hope's Edge, which she co-authored with her daughter Anna. Lappé is the author of 13 books and co-founder of two national organizations concerning food and the roots of democracy, California-based Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) and the Center for Living Democracy. Her continuing educational efforts regarding worldwide famine, genetically engineered foods and obesity health concerns have gone far beyond creating international awareness. In traveling the world to speak with citizens, not governments, about sustainable food supplies, she has paved the way toward global environmental responsibility at the community level.

The 2003 NNFA Crusader Awards winners are Max Huberman, John Mackey, Joseph Pizzorno and Travis Tabor. The awards recognize individuals who have made notable contributions to the natural products industry above and beyond commercial success.

Max Huberman was NNFA president from 1972-77, and played a seminal role in the organization gaining a political foothold in Washington. Huberman actively rallied for the Proxmire Bill prohibiting the Food and Drug Administration from regulating vitamins and minerals as prescription drugs, which Congress passed in 1976. Huberman now serves on the NNFA Past Presidents Committee.

As Whole Foods Market chief executive and co-founder, John Mackey built the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods through innovative marketing and store management. He opened his first Whole Foods in 1980, and the company now employs 23,000 people and has 140 stores located across the country. In 2002, for the fifth year in a row, Fortune magazine recognized Whole Foods Market as one of the top 100 companies to work for.

Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., is co-founder and founding president of Bastyr University, the first fully accredited university for naturopathic medicine in the United States. He is the author and co-author of several books, including Total Wellness, A Textbook of Natural Medicine and The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. In December 2000, Pizzorno was appointed to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, and in 2002 he became the founding editor of Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal.

Travis Tabor is president and CEO of Advantage Sunbelt Marketing. He has held many positions in the natural products industry, first at Kennedy Natural Foods and then at Tree of Life. In 1987 Sunbelt was established to bring a fresh approach to natural products sales and marketing, including procedure manuals and a United Parcel Service shipping program for retailers. In July 2001, Sunbelt merged with Advantage Sales and Marketing.

Bryce Edmonds is a Boulder, Colo.-based freelance writer.

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