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Articles from 2008 In August

Delicious Living

Current Issue: September 2008

Sleep well

In a perfect world, you'd hit the pillow, close your eyes, and doze off into an eight-hour stretch of rejuvenating, uninterrupted slumber every night. In reality, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, just one in three Americans feels like she gets enough sleep, and 50 million to 70 million suffer from chronic sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea (see “What is Sleep Apnea?” below) and restless legs syndrome (an irresistible urge to move the legs, which jolts people awake). About 30 percent of us have occasional insomnia, meaning we have trouble falling or staying asleep. And as a nation we annually fill more than 53 million prescriptions for sleep aids.

The impact tossing and turning has on your overall health is profound, new research shows. For one thing, a lack of sleep may contribute to weight issues. It boosts levels of the hormone ghrelin, a hunger trigger, and decreases levels of the hormone leptin, which signals fullness; you end up hungrier, crave calorie-dense foods, and don't feel full as quickly. Sleep deprivation also boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can drive up blood pressure and strain the heart. In fact, studies on sleep deprivation have found a higher risk of death from cardiovascular causes in people who sleep less. All the more reason to safeguard your Z's. And that doesn't just mean turning off Leno and going to bed at a reasonable hour, say experts. “Almost everything you do during the day affects the way you sleep,” says Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep (Plume, 2008).

Did you know?

A recent University of Michigan study found that people who have personality conflicts with bosses or coworkers are nearly twice as likely to develop sleep problems. And according to the most recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll, part-time workers report the highest sleep satisfaction, while those who work multiple jobs or more than 50 hours per week sleep the worst.

Wake up at the same time every day, says Herbert Ross, DC, author of the Definitive Guide to Sleep Disorders (Celestial Arts, 2007). Yes, that includes weekends. Scientists believe your biological sleep clock is controlled by two things: your circadian rhythm (an innate 24-hour cycle orchestrated by the hypothalamus and influenced by external factors such as light) and a sleep homeostasis (a hunger for sleep that builds up throughout the day). Waking up — and going to bed — at the same time reinforces that cycle. By getting up at the same time every day, your “sleep hunger” maxes out at the same time every night.

Let in natural light. The hormone melatonin is a powerful sleep inducer, regulated largely by exposure to light. When natural light hits the optic nerve in the morning, it signals the pineal gland to slow melatonin production, allowing you to wake up faster. In contrast, when it gets dark, melatonin production ramps up. Yet studies have shown that people who aren't exposed to enough natural light during the day have trouble producing melatonin at night. Breus recommends opening the blinds first thing upon waking to take in more natural light. Or, better yet, take the dog for a morning walk.

What is sleep apnea?

Little known but widespread (an estimated 9 percent of women and 12 percent of men in the United States suffer from it), sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to stop five to 30 times per hour.

Fuel early, fuel well. A good breakfast sets the stage for sustained energy through-out the day, influencing whether or not you reach for that afternoon coffee that will keep you up at night, Ross says. Start the day with a balance of protein and slow-burning or low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as whole-grain toast and a poached egg. Sticking with that protein-carb mixture, staying away from stimulants, and eating small meals consistently throughout the day help keep energy on an even keel. And beware that caffeine has a half-life of 12 hours, Breus says. An energy drink, chocolate bar, or tea or coffee consumed at noon still has some effect at midnight.

Get outside in the early afternoon. Centuries of evolutionary programming have, for reasons not completely known, prompted your innate biological clock to make you sleepy in the afternoon (siesta anyone?). “Your body has a small temperature dip between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., which signals your brain to produce melatonin,” explains Breus. Instead of succumbing to the nap, which can exacerbate insomnia later, he suggests stepping outside into sunlight. You'll perk up, delaying that melatonin surge until you really need it.

Exercise in the late afternoon. It's true: People who get regular aerobic exercise sleep better. One Stanford University study of 29 women and 14 men age 50 to 76 found that those who did aerobics or took brisk 30- to 40-minute walks four times per week for 16 weeks fell asleep faster and slept more deeply and longer than the control group. Body temperature rises during exercise (particularly aerobic exercise) and then drops roughly five hours later, signaling drowsiness. So if your bedtime is 10 p.m., plan to work out around 5 p.m.

Dine for sleep. Breus recommends eating dinner about four hours before bedtime. Include plenty of complex carbohydrates, which enhance the transportation of L-tryptophan into the brain, where it can be made into sleep-inducing serotonin. Although a glass of wine may make you fall asleep faster, you'll sleep lighter. And if you must have a bedtime snack, limit it to less than 200 calories, no closer than one hour before bedtime. Include complex carbs and calcium, such as whole grain toast with cheese, or a bowl of cereal and milk, says Breus.

Power down. Instead of using your alarm solely to wake up, set it to go off one hour before bedtime, to remind you to settle in and prepare for tomorrow. Ross recommends journaling your thoughts “out of the brain and onto paper” so they don't race through your head as you're trying to sleep. Be sure your sleep space is as dark as possible and has no electronics nearby. Mounting research suggests that even minute amounts of light (such as from a glowing alarm clock) and exposure to electromagnetic or radio frequency fields (from laptops or cell phones) can interfere with melatonin production. One recent study of 71 people found that those exposed to wireless communication signals up to one hour before bedtime took significantly longer to fall asleep and didn't sleep as deeply. So turn off cell phones and laptops before you turn in for the night.

3 sleep supplements

  How it works Dose
Valerian Shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality. Research suggests it works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as the sedative Valium. 300-400 mg of extract or capsules, one hour before bedtime.
Kava Calms the mind to reduce anxiety-driven insomnia. Note: In 2002, the FDA issued a warning after several people suffered severe liver toxicity after taking kava. Brigitte Mars, author of the Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine (Basic Health, 2007), says those people took leaf and vine extracts instead of the safer root. Follow directions on bottle; potency may vary. Not recommended for pregnant women, children, or people with liver disorders.
Melatonin Helps regulate sleep cycles. Commonly prescribed for people whose sleep-wake cycle is out of sync due to light deprivation, such as those who suffer jet lag or work the night shift. Also recommended for those who fall asleep too early and wake up in the middle of the night. Note: Prolonged use may interfere with natural melatonin production. Amount and timing vary widely, depending on reason for use.
Consult your health care practitioner for advice before taking any sleep supplement.


A Conversation with John Mellencamp, cofounder, Farm Aid

In the early 1980s, Willie Nelson had the idea to start an organization that would raise awareness about the plight of family farmers in jeopardy of losing their farms due to financial hardship. A friend encouraged Nelson to contact John Mellencamp, whose album Scarecrow — largely about the state of family farming — had just been released. Nelson made the call, and the two forged a partnership. Neil Young joined the duo to organize the first Farm Aid concert in 1985. Dave Matthews joined the board of directors in 2001. In its 23 years, the nonprofit Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million — money that has been used to support family farmers and, more recently, as emergency relief funds for families whose farms were hit by the floods in Iowa last June. Recently, Delicious Living caught up with John Mellencamp, on tour for his new album Life Death Love and Freedom, to talk about his involvement with Farm Aid.

Delicious Living: How has the state of farming changed in the past 20 years?

John Mellencamp: When we started Farm Aid, the big industrial farming model was just coming into play, and that's why families were being forced off their farms. Factory farming is still something we've got to fight. But we're seeing farm families who survived the industrialization of agriculture come back to the land again and young families and friends working the land for the first time. People are also renting land to grow food and cultivating urban rooftops and community gardens. It's a hopeful time because a lot of people have suddenly realized, “I don't even know what's in the crap those companies are trying to sell me. I want to know what I'm eating, so I'm going to take the time to know my food and know my farmer.”

What do you choose when buying food? Local? Organic?

Where I come from in Indiana there are no fancy boutique supermarkets. A fancy boutique supermarket is the farmers' market. And lucky for me, in my town, there's a little store that only sells organic food, and it's been there for years.

Why did you feel that it was important to get involved?

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a small town. As a kid, in the fall I was able to see the crops coming in and see what time the people had to get up to go to work to bring those crops in. I saw them gathering on Main Street, talking about the problems and the successes they were having with their farms. The small family farmer was really the backbone of this country, and then all of a sudden somebody got the idea that they needed to feed the world. Well, we really got off track with that idea, and we need to feed our communities. By protecting the small family farmer, we protect our own families.

How can people get involved beyond going to the Farm Aid concerts?

I think that this country needs policy change. Everywhere you look, the regular guys are getting screwed, whether it is factory farms, the price of gas — you name it. Everywhere you look, there is a problem. I think before we can save the environment, before we can get rid of factory farming, before we can give the country back to the people, we have to have policy change — and that comes from us and the people we elect. We have to start paying attention to who we are electing into office and make them live up to their word and quit taking this corporate money over the interests of people. But above all, if you want a better world, it starts with you.

To learn more about Farm Aid, go to Then find out how the 2008 Farm Bill will affect organics at; type organics and the farm bill into the search box.

Read our related article, Organics and the Farm Bill

What is sleep apnea?

Little known but widespread (an estimated 9 percent of women and 12 percent of men in the United States suffer from it), sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to stop five to 30 times per hour during the night. For some, it's caused by mixed signals from the brain to the breathing muscles, known as central sleep apnea. But in most cases, the cause is obstructive sleep apnea, which makes the throat muscles relax and close up. The patient often doesn't wake up but is robbed of deep sleep, leading to morning headaches and daytime sleepiness. The resulting lack of oxygen in the blood and stress on the heart can lead to high blood pressure, boosting stroke and heart attack risk.

Experts believe that the nation's soaring obesity rates mean that more people are suffering from sleep apnea. (An obese neck is more likely to collapse in on itself during slumber.) But the majority of sufferers don't know they have it. A sleep-lab analysis is often needed to verify the condition. Treatments include sleeping on your side, surgery to remove oversized tonsils, or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, which gently blows air into the throat, keeping airways open. But sleep specialists stress that staying at a reasonable weight and avoiding alcohol can easily prevent, and even reverse, sleep apnea.

For gentle, effective nighttime remedies read our related article on natural sleep aids.

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Store of the Month: Ethics underscore success of Santa Rosa market

by Allie Johnson

The Community Market in Santa Rosa, Calif., is grounded in activist roots—a point that has been good for business and has helped the nonprofit, worker-run vegetarian store withstand decades of rivalry from larger competitors.

Started in 1975 as part of the "food for people, not for profit" movement in the San Francisco area, Community Market originally operated under an umbrella nonprofit, the Red Clover Worker's Brigade, which also included a natural foods warehouse and a women's trucking collective. Though most of the brigade's other businesses didn't survive, the small Community Market has thrived, succeeding in some areas that few retailers have, including providing a living wage for employees.

The store's core values? Healthy food, a healthy environment and a healthy community,

according to general manager Melissa Minton. The store uses an unusual business model in which employees with more than 1,000 work hours sit on the board of directors. The store tries to sell only ethically produced items, and bans meat, alcoholic beverages, bleached flour, eggs from caged hens and irradiated food.

Minton says the store's willingness to take a strict stand on certain issues differentiates it from many other stores in the area, which include two Whole Foods Markets, two Trader Joe's, a few independents and some crossover stores.

"People trust us," Minton says. "If you polled our customers, which I do, one of the reasons they shop here is that they don't have to read the labels—we've done all the research on the products they're purchasing. We promote organics, we promote local. Our produce department is 100 percent organic or in-transition. Probably 40 percent to 50 percent of our customers are vegetarian, and even people who aren't like the fact that we are."

In the past, when those strong values have been compromised, Minton has seen the store take a turn for the worse. When she took a break from working as general manager so she could attend classes, staying on as a store employee, a new general manager decided to try to make the store more more upscale, like Whole Foods.

"He made policies so the business had to be less political; we had to get rid of political bumper stickers and pins that we would sell. We could still talk about [genetically modified] stuff, but we couldn't be political on who was running for city council or on [creating] bike paths, and certain petitions couldn't be here and people had to act a certain way," Minton says. "It was all about not offending."

The results weren't good. "During the course of a two-year period, we went from a stable, thriving business to being within a month of closing—we had one month's worth of operating capital left."

In 2004, Minton returned to her former post as general manager, and began taking the store back toward its beginnings, which has been good for the bottom line.

"It definitely drove it home for me that this is what we do, this is what we are, this is who we serve and we're going to do that the best we can," Minton says. "Whole Foods does their thing, Trader Joe's does their thing. And there's no way to compete; we're just one little store."

But that one little store recently achieved something big, as far as it's concerned: a living wage for all employees.

Minton explains: "For a long time, we had a goal of providing a living wage to workers, but hadn't been in a financial situation to do that. But in the past few years, things were starting to turn around and our business was growing and staying profitable, so I decided to start working on the goal." She believed the living wage would not just be good for line employees but also would help the store attract employees with management experience. Coming up with a salary amount meant researching the cost of living in the expensive Bay Area, including working with the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County. Factoring in benefits provided to employees—medical, dental and vision insurance, a 401(k) and a 20 percent food discount—Minton determined the lowest starting-level living wage would be $10.56 per hour, a significant increase from the $8 they had been paying. Minton crunched numbers and put together sales goals that would allow the market to afford the increase. The staff formed a living wage committee that met weekly and brainstormed ideas for achieving the sales goals. The committee and other staff members got excited and came up with ideas to make the business more efficient and profitable, from tweaking schedules and improving signage, displays, marketing and advertising, to educating staff on products.

"They were really thinking about it on a different level," Minton says. To help employees follow their progress, she put a sales chart with colorful bar graphs in the break room. In the first month, the staff reached its goal of increasing sales by 6 percent.

After four months of sustained higher sales, Minton implemented the first stage of the program, increasing the starting wage to $9.75 an hour in late 2007. After another three months, in February, she increased it to the pre-determined living wage. And existing staff members got raises of about $2.50 per hour.

As a result, turnover plummeted by at least 50 percent, a big savings for the store since it costs $2,000 to hire and fully train a new employee. And, because of increased efficiency, the store was able to leave four positions vacant, decreasing the number of employees to 31. Employee involvement and feedback were vital to the success of the project, according to Minton. "They had a common goal that was going to benefit them pretty greatly, and the key, I think, was involving the staff, getting people from different departments. The other thing was that it was important for me to act on their suggestions quickly and to implement them so they saw I was really listening and that I cared and trusted their judgment. If you're going to ask for input and suggestions, then you need to follow through."

Community Market

1899 Mendocino Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Annual sales: $4.45 million gross/ $4.3 million net

Retail space: 7,300 total square feet/5,500 square feet of selling space

Grocery: $1.175 million, 27.5 percent
Perishables: $958,500, 22.3 percent
Produce: $717,500,
16.7 percent
Bulk: $511,000,11.5 percent
Wellness: (supplements, herbs, body care) $1.09 million, 25.5 percent

Number of members: 29 (Employees are members after orientation period)
Number of employees: 31

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 58

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Find out what's so special about vitamin K

by Jack Challem

Long recognized for its role in blood clotting, conventional physicians view vitamin K with caution. That's because excess vitamin K interferes with the activity of Coumadin and related anti-coagulant drugs, which are often prescribed after a heart attack, stroke or heart surgery.

But research shows that vitamin K has other roles in health, such as maintaining bone mass and reversing osteoporosis. Recent research also demonstrates that vitamin K may indirectly influence glucose tolerance, a finding that could shift dietary management of diabetes. But, there's more than one type of vitamin K—and the varieties may actually have different roles in the body.

Several types of vitamin K
Vitamin K1 refers to a single compound, phylloquinone, found in leafy green vegetables. In contrast, vitamin K2 refers to a family of related nutrients known as menaquinones, which are found in meats, dairy, eggs and other foods. One of the most researched members of the K2 family is MK-4.

The research
Most recent research has focused on MK-4. • Bone health. The body needs Vitamin K to synthesize osteocalcin, a protein secreted by bone cells. In turn, osteocalcin helps regulates calcium activity in bone.

In separate studies, Dutch and Japanese researchers used relatively large amounts of vitamin K2—45 milligrams daily—to treat and reverse osteoporosis in women (Osteoporosis International, 2007; Gynecological Endocrinology, 2006). A meta-analysis of seven studies, published in the 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine, found that high-dose vitamin K2 supplements reduced bone fractures in women by more than 60 percent.

  • Heart disease. Vitamin K2, but not K1, blocks the calcification of arteries, which helps maintain more youthful and flexible blood vessels (Journal of Vascular Research, 2003). Theoretically, Coumadin and other anti-coagulant drugs could increase arterial calcification.
  • Cancer. Researchers used either 45 milligrams of vitamin K2 with conventional medical modalities, or conventional modalities alone, to treat 40 women with viral cirrhosis of the liver for eight years. During the study, only two of the 21 women receiving vitamin K2 developed liver cancer, in contrast to nine of 19 women who did not receive the vitamin (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004).
  • Diabetes. A 2006 study published in Cell reported that osteocalcin also functions as a hormone that regulates the number of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, the secretion of insulin, sensitivity to insulin and the size of fat cells. Because osteocalcin production depends on vitamin K, this study suggests the vitamin may play an important role in preventing and treating diabetes. More research is under way.

    How to use vitamin K
    Although some research shows benefits in bone health from vitamin K1 supplements, vitamin K2 seems to be far more biologically active and effective in preventing and reversing osteoporosis and other health problems. Consider 5 milligrams daily of vitamin K2 a preventive dose and 45 milligrams daily a therapeutic dose.

    Retailer tips
    When advising customers, remember two more points about vitamin K2 and anti-coagulant drugs such as Coumadin:

  • Always ask your customer whether he or she is taking an anti-coagulant. Vitamin K supplements will reduce the drug's effectiveness and may result in life-threatening blood clots.
  • A recent study found that vitamin K provides greater anti-coagulant stability, as long as the Coumadin dose is adjusted upward accordingly. This adjustment is best left to a knowledgeable physician (Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 2007). Jack Challem is a personal nutrition coach in Tucson, Ariz. His latest book is The Food-Mood Solution (Wiley, 2008).

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 38

  • Natural Foods Merchandiser

    Expo East 2008 Buzz

    Thought leaders share intelligence on trends

    Wondering what the future holds for naturals retailing? The folks at Natural Products Expo East don't have a crystal ball, but they may have the closest thing to it. Nutrition Business Journal's State of the Industry seminar will offer a summary of the intelligence gleaned from NBJ's Newport Summit in July, which attracted more than 250 CEOs from natural products companies, and from the journal's recent Market Overview issue.

    "We're trying to bring together some of the top industry thought leaders and observers," said Patrick Rea, publisher and editorial director of NBJ. Rea noted that the observers are often those most aware of emerging trends in the industry, and can provide valuable insight about where to next invest time and money. "We want to provide a real business overview for the industry," he said. "Lots of seminars zoom in on one thing. We want to draw in the CEOs of the companies that are exhibiting, as well as the retailers. Our goal is to cut through the [hype] and distill down what they need to know."

    Seminar panelists will include Rea; Bob Burke, principal of Natural Products Consulting Institute; John Grubb, managing partner of the Sterling-Rice Group; and Thomas Aarts, principal of Nutrition Capital Network, managing director of Nutrition Business Advisors and co-founder of NBJ, which is owned by The Natural Foods Merchandiser's corporate parent, Penton Media. The seminar will be held Thursday, Oct. 16, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 253.

    Retailers can relax, munch and mingle

    Don't miss a chance to sit down and have a tête-à-tête with your fellow independent retailers while enjoying a relaxing nosh, instead of soy on a stick, at the Retailer to Retailer lunches. You can hear about the successes they're having as well as the challenges they're facing, and learn from one another's experiences. On Thursday and Friday, light fare will be served at no additional cost, while Natural Products Association East board members Denise de la Montaigne and Sue Bennett moderate guided discussions. On Saturday, enjoy morning tea while dishing with your colleagues and moderator Jay Jacobowitz. Thursday and Friday, lunches are held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Retail Resource Center in the front of Hall A. Saturday's tea is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the same location.


    Natural Foods Merchandiser

    Speeding up sales in slow times

    by Shara Rutberg

    Some things are better slow: Food. A gondola ride through Venice. Barry White. The economy, however, is not. But for now, the nation is mired in a pokey economy. Natural Products Expo East offers two sessions specifically designed to help retailers shine a light through the gloomy market.

    "Selling Organics in a Slow Economy" will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. "Retailers and manufacturers both have been requesting sessions about keeping the momentum going, especially in this economy," says Courtney Hathaway, program manager for Expo East. For this seminar, Hathaway enlists the expertise of Mark Mulcahy and Cynthia Barstow. Mulcahy, owner of consulting firm Organic Options and The Natural Foods Merchandiser's produce columnist, offers advice from the marketing and merchandising perspective he's garnered from decades in the industry. Mulcahy travels the country speaking for the voiceless: the quiet onions, the silent sprouts and the millions of mute mushrooms who can't cheer for themselves. He shows retailers how to get customers enthusiastic about produce, how to get the message "Eat me! Buy me! I'm delicious!" across in novel and effective ways.

    Cynthia Barstow, president of Seed to Shelf: Marketing for Sustainability, will discuss marketing trends that could help arm savvy retailers. Barstow is the author of The Eco-Foods Guide (New Society Publishers, 2002) and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, where she teaches food and natural products marketing. Seed to Shelf is a marketing business committed to companies that want to turn a sustainable "seed" into a product ready for the shelves. In addition to branded-product companies, Barstow and her colleagues work with sustainable agriculture projects and certification programs that they believe will benefit the food system in a significant way.

    The second session aimed at overcoming a disappointing economy is "Selling Gourmet and Specialty Foods as a Staple to the Natural Foods Customer," on Friday, Oct. 17, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Industry insiders will discuss how gourmet and specialty items can help boost the bottom line. "They're great options for retailers to supplement sales that are lagging as a result of the economy," Hathaway says. Experts will offer strategies "for selling someone who knows they're looking for, say, all-natural or organic olive oil, a single-barrel, cold-pressed olive oil that costs $30 instead of $10," she explains. Gourmet and specialty foods are opportunities "to bring whole other product cate­gories into the store."

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 14

    Natural Foods Merchandiser

    Workshops add advanced training to Expo East

    by Chris O'Brien

    For retailers who want to go home from Natural Products Expo East with more than just a bag—and stomach—full of product samples, more than a dozen Retailer Workshops will offer a chance to pick experts' brains and learn from successful veterans of the naturals industry.

    On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the day before the show floor opens, retailers will have access to a full day of workshops focused on key aspects of running a store, including the latest on organics, expansion, dealing with distributors, in-store merchandising and demos.

    "The premise of the Retailer Workshops is to offer a valuable education series with comprehensive information and tools that retailers can take back to their store and staff," says Courtney Hathaway, program manager for Expo East. "There really isn't any other kind of training, schooling or degree that one can get for independent [naturals] retailing."

    Participation in any or all of the workshops is available for a single fee of $95, or $75 for Natural Products Association East members. Included in the workshop pass are a networking breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and a midday organic lunch.

    "We will have sessions for just about every department manager in the store," Hathaway says. "Sales and merchandising, operations, core management, staffing—and this year an expanded track for industry veterans—all of the essential retailing elements that a store owner may want to learn more about."

    Monumental management

    To kick off the day, opening keynote speaker Victoria Halsey, Ph.D., vice president of applied learning at the Ken Blanchard Companies, a management training and consulting firm, will speak about techniques from Ken Blanchard's The One Minute Manager (Blanchard Family, 1981) that can help retailers increase productivity, job satisfaction and prosperity. Halsey, a trainer, inspirational speaker and co-author of Hamster Revolution: Stop Info Glut and Reclaim Your Life (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), specializes in increasing learning and leadership potential. She has designed large-scale leadership and customer-service programs for numerous Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Toyota, Gap, Sony and Wells Fargo.

    Advanced training

    New this year to the Retailer Workshops is the Advanced Training Track, a series of workshops that delve deeper into the technicalities of running a store. First up in the Advanced Track is "Marketing and the Interactive Arena: Extracting Real Value From Your Web Site." This workshop takes retailers step-by-step through best practices for design, navigation and back-end engineering of Web sites. It's hosted by Jeffrey Spear, president of Studio Spear and former Consumer Products Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association, along with Rob Ierubino, president of M Prime Systems, a leading software developer and systems integrator.

    Also in the Advanced Track, retailers can attend an interactive discussion with Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs at NFM's parent company, New Hope Natural Media, titled "Double Vision? Keeping Your Focus on Both the Present and the Future," and learn how to grow business by focusing on future opportunities while attending to the details necessary for today's success. Crawford is a natural products industry retail veteran and adjunct professor at three Oklahoma colleges, with three degrees in management and a history of working with retailers in purchasing, marketing, business strategy and leadership development.

    Throughout the day, retail experts will also bring their fresh ideas and experience to topics such as store layout, back-room organics, sales, financing, suppliers and human resources.

    Growing giants

    Closing out the day, Maggie Bayless, managing partner and founder of Zingerman's Training Inc., or ZingTrain—named "the coolest small company in America" by Inc. magazine—will present "Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big," looking at how smaller retailers can find real success without continuously expanding.

    For more information on the Retailer Workshops or to sign up, visit

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 14

    Natural Foods Merchandiser

    Rusty Seedig, 1953-2008

    Rusty Seedig, 1953-2008

    Rusty Seedig, executive vice president of strategic projects for North American Bison Cooperative and North Dakota Natural Beef, died July 25 after a 12-year battle with leukemia. He was 55 years old.

    For the past 18 years, he was instrumental in the growth of the NABC and in the launch of North Dakota Natural Beef. He also served as secretary and treasurer of the National Bison Association and as international director of the Canadian Bison Association.

    Mr. Seedig "helped shape the modern bison industry," said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. "He helped establish a significant part of the modern processing, distribution and marketing infrastructure. He also helped develop the sound financial footing for the National Bison Association. Rusty was a great guy and a quiet leader in the industry."

    "Without his knowledge and dedication we would not be where we are today," said Dieter Pape, chief executive of NABC and NDNB.

    Mr. Seedig is survived by his wife Janice, sons Joshua and Jason, mother "Jerry," brother Rex, and mother-in-law Marilyn Grider. Memorial donations may be made to the National Bison Association or the Boy Scouts of America.

    Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 9/p. 10