Friends and family of natural products pioneer and plant-based visionary Greg Steltenpohl are launching an annual $100,000 grant for early-stage ventures in the food space.
The founder of Odwalla and Califia Farms, Steltenpohl died in March 2021 after dedicating his life to changing the food system through business.
Eli Steltenpohl announced the award Thursday during New Hope Network's Community Purpose and Impact Awards at Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California.
"The Natural Products industry lost one of our most visionary, creative and passionate advocates when Greg died, and it is essential that we keep his mission and work on track," said Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield and a 30-year friend. "Greg believed in the ability to create positive change through business and in the impact the plant-based movement could have on the health of people and the planet. He left us far too early, but also in a far better and more hopeful place thanks to his powerful vision, dedication and inventive spirit."
The Greg Steltenpohl Pragmatic Visionary Award seeks to encourage and support innovators, entrepreneurs and change makers building a more positive, plant-centric food system. The award celebrates vision in action and values manifested through businesses that generate personal, community and planetary health.
Each year, an early stage venture will receive a $100,000 grant to enable or expand the accomplishments, reach and impact of the recipient's work. Innovations in any capacity of the food system from "soil to soul" will be considered. For information on the award and how to apply, visit PragmaticVisionaryAward.org.
The award, which will be presented annually in March at Natural Products Expo West, is hosted in collaboration with the Plant Futures Initiative, Greg Steltenpohl's last entrepreneurial collaboration before his death. The Plant Futures Initiative is a non-profit social venture that connects college and graduate students with experiential learning opportunities with a network of innovative food and agricultural enterprises. It is dedicated to accelerating transitions to sustainable and healthy food systems and growing the future leadership needed to guide the way.
The initiative is organized and advised by friends and family of Greg Steltenpohl and his colleagues in the natural food community. The Steltenpohl Family Foundation and Califia Farms provided anchor funding while the advisors and co-founders are industry veterans:
- Mike Burbank—Managing director, Morgan Stanley
- John Foraker—CEO, Once Upon a Farm; former CEO, Annie's Homegrown
- Kiff Gallagher—Former VP corporate affairs, Califia; strategic communications, Odwalla
- Nina Gheihman—Author; co-founder, Plant Futures Initiative
- Amy Goldsmith—CMO, Halo Healthy Tribes; former president, GK Communications
- Sonia Hendricks—SVP sales, Califia Farms
- Gary Hirshberg—Co-founder and former CE-Yo, Stonyfield Organic
- Will Rosenzweig—Founder, Republic of Tea; director, Sustainable Food Initiative, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; co-founder, Plant Futures Initiative
- Kenneth Sadowsky—Director, Hint, Vita Coco, LIFEAID; Sr. advisor, Verlinvest; "Beverage Whisperer"
- Eli Steltenpohl—Steltenpohl Family Foundation; Board of Directors, Califia Farms
- Jessica Vitale—Co-founder, Crafted Communications; PR for Califia Farms
For information on the award, visit PragmaticVisionaryAward.org and PlantFuturesInitiative.org.
Source: Plant Futures Initiative