The other night I watched Food, Inc., the documentary that explores our nation’s food system. I was excited to watch this for a couple of reasons. One, because the director, Robert Kenner, is our opening featured speaker at Natural Products Expo West 2010…and he will be followed by a screening of the movie. Second, I was really excited because Food, Inc. has footage of Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm founder and CE-Yo, walking the floor at Expo West and commenting on the growth of our industry and the incredible consolidation, mergers and acquisitions that have been made.
I also really enjoyed two previous Natural Product Expo keynotes, Michael Pollan, and Eric Schlosser, as the other voices making commentaries about the state of our nation’s food system and (lack of) food safety. Just as reading Omnivore’s Dilemna did, watching this movie made me want to know the source of everything that I consider eating. This year’s Expo West keynote, Bill McKibben, will make you think about food supply and our impact in a different way: climate change. The founder of 350.org, McKibben recently held the very well publicized “International Day of Climate Action”, a day of environmental action to raise awareness of a call to action on climate change. Both speakers, Kenner and McKibben, respectively will do their part to alarm you with their facts and the reality of the current situation. But they will also guide you to a place of hope, as I felt in the end of Food, Inc. and at the end of McKibben’s book, Deep Economy, that we can restructure the way our food and economic systems work, and it comes from changing our daily purchases and habits. One of the reasons I started working in the natural foods industry was because I was eating the products of my first employer, and once an employee, I was struck by the larger mission of the entire industry, which in 2010 will gather in Anaheim, CA for the 30 th time to celebrate natural products in all categories and to work together on how we can continue to change our world, one natural, organic and climate friendly step at a time. www.expowest.com