April 24, 2008

2 Min Read

USDA Offers Certification Help
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will reimburse up to $500 of the cost of organic producer certification to farms in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. To qualify for the Agricultural Management Assistance Program, the organic production operation must meet USDA national organic standards and be certified by a USDA-accredited agent between Nov. 1 and Sept. 30, 2003.

Annie's Brand Stands Alone
A deal that gives New York investment bank Solera Capital control of Annie's Homegrown Inc. will allow its parent, HomeGrown Natural Foods, to focus on its high-growth Consorzio and Fantastic Foods brands. HomeGrown and Annie's management retained a minority stake in the brand that features famed Bernie the Bunny on the box. Solera will invest additional capital in Annie's, which founder Ann Withey says will help the company to push its list of 25 natural and organic pasta products further into the mainstream supermarket channel.

Put A Lid On It!
National Public Radio bad boys Tom and Ray Magliozzi are in Dutch with the home office. The Car Talk hosts enlisted organic dairy Stonyfield Farm in their anti-SUV crusade, getting the Londonderry, N.H., company to cap its yogurt cups with ads for their "Live Larger, Drive Smaller" campaign. The Car Guys expected to serve up a couple million portions of environmental awareness, driving traffic to the CarTalk section of cars.com and to stonyfield.com, where consumers can take a quiz to see if they really need an SUV. (For the record, Stonyfield Chief Executive Officer Gary Hirshberg admits he carts his three kids through New Hampshire winters in a Honda CRV.)

What they didn't count on was NPR putting the kibosh on having its name on the yogurt-cup lids. Citing rules that keep it from taking a position on a public issue, NPR asked Click and Clack to take its name off the lids. But the request came after the first batch had been printed, leaving the Tap It Brothers and their listeners to decide what to do with 3.4 million perfectly useless yogurt-cup lids.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIII/number 10/p. 30

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