5 ways to engage, encourage and enable voting across the natural products industry

The natural products industry has a long history of delivering on missions that encompass people, planet and profits, and voter participation is a natural extension of these efforts.

Corinne Shindelar, President Emeritus

September 18, 2020

3 Min Read

"Mercy, Mercy, Me" and "What’s Going On" by Marvin Gaye have been frequent go to songs for me this year, along with "The Weight" by Robbie Robertson.

It’s hard to believe that I first heard these songs when I was about 11 years old and my older siblings were protesting the Vietnam war. I never expected that I would be feeling that same level of anxiousness some 50 years later. The difference now is that I know how I need to show up, pay attention and do my part. Right now, the most important thing I do can do is cast my vote.

COVID-19, climate change and civil unrest each has required the natural products industry to take a close look at ourselves and our the supply chains, and also question the abilities we have taken for granted. 2020 has not been easy and it’s hard to keep motivated at times, yet there is so much still to be done. Starting with engaging, encouraging and enabling those around us to vote.

I have been amazed to see our industry’s ability to pivot quickly while continuing to deliver on those missions important to us during this time of uncertainty. Along with changing and adapting, I am seeing how companies are assessing values and thinking deeply about how they contribute. I am seeing that each of us can affect change and that the natural products industry is powerful when we show up for what could very well be the most consequential election of our lifetimes.

Most in this industry have already been delivering on missions that encompass people, planet and profits and feel overwhelmed by the thought of needing to do more. The hope is that we can do some fairly uncomplicated and easy actionable solutions that support the democracy that is in the fabric of who we are as and industry and as a country. Some ideas to offer support for voting across communities are:

  • Engage in discussion with your peers on what they are doing to support voting.

  • Provide paid time off for voting or working the polls.

  • Post your state guidelines for all to see on how to vote early or by absentee ballot.

  • Encourage voting through sharing link’s in your social media that help people find the answers they need, including action items they can take to engage.

  • Be inspired and inspire others to be part of the solution.

Let’s work together to exercise the power of the natural products industry and support all stakeholders in our supply chain and encourage engagement. Just think of all of the great initiates that the natural products industry has collaborated on and pushed forward.  DESHA, USDA Organic certification, Fair Trade, Gluten Free, Non-GMO Verified, Climate Collaborative and J.E.D.I. Collaborative, to name a few. These initiatives all require(d) engaging the community, government and the supply chain stakeholders in democracy.

grow-the-vote-social-button.pngAnthropologist Wade Davis speaks to the unraveling of American exceptionalism in his article published Aug. 6 in Rolling Stone Magazine.

My hope is that we in the natural products industry will not let the events of the past eight months unravel American democracy, and that we all do everything we can to help others participate in the 2020 elections.


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About the Author(s)

Corinne Shindelar

President Emeritus, Independent Natural Food Retailers Association

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