The Organic Center's 2011 science initiatives, new board members

The Organic Center's 2011 science initiatives, new board members

The Organic Center launches major science initiatives for 2011, welcomes new board members and hosts 8th annual benefit dinner at Natural Products Expo West.

The Organic Center, a leading research institute focused on the science of organic food and farming, announced plans for three major science initiatives for 2011. Each is designed to provide consumers with credible, evidence-based education on the benefits of organic to human health and the environment.

The first Organic Center initiative for 2011 is an updated analysis of foods posing relatively high and typically low risks from pesticides in specific foods, highlighting the often major differences in residues and risk in domestically grown food versus imported food. The Organic Center will develop these standards using the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, coupled with EPA dietary risk assessment methods.

Additionally, two new Organic Center studies focusing on comparisons of organic and conventional foods are underway. The first is a grain and grain-based products research program which will examine the benefits of organic grains versus conventional varieties. The study will compare the nutritional quality and safety of a range of organic, conventional, and natural grains and grain-based products and will assess both modern varieties of wheat, oats, and rice and ancient grains such as spelt, Kamut, and quinoa. The second is a milk quality study, which will evaluate and measure the benefits and differences of organic, natural, and conventional milk.

The Organic Center also announced a comprehensive research project conducted in partnership with the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), designed to provide a clear understanding of how organics fit into the way consumers eat, shop and live. The study will help to increase consumer understanding of the difference between organic and conventionally grown foods.

The study will commence in June 2011 and conclude with sponsor reports and workshops in January 2012. The methodology plan includes four robust phases: trended, syndicated data analysis; in-home and shop-along ethnographic research; eight-week online organic community qualitative research; and organic messaging plus 15 category surveys with 4,000 U.S. adults. The Organic Center and NMI will host a presentation on the study and preview consumer data and market needs at Natural Products Expo West on Friday, March 11th at 9-10am PST, open to all Expo West attendees. Please register for this meeting with NMI at [email protected].

The Organic Center also announced the appointment of four new members to its board of directors. They are: Michael Funk, chairman and co-founder of UNFI; Anna Getty, holistic lifestyle expert, author and founder, Pregnancy Awareness Month; David Karr, co-founder and director of Guayaki Yerba Mate; and Susan Shields, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Jamba Juice.

Funk, Getty, Karr and Shields will join current Organic Center board members Mark Retzloff, chairman of Aurora Organic Dairy; Ryan Black, CEO and co-founder, Sambazon; Ken Cook, president, Environmental Working Group; Timothy Escamilla, vice president procurement/supply chain Ready Pac; Michelle Goolsby, attorney, mediator, business consultant and former EVP of Dean Foods; Dr. Alan Greene, clinical professor of pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine; Blaine McPeak, president, WhiteWave Foods; George Siemon, CEO, Organic Valley; Alex Petrov, general manager consumer brands, Safeway; Sara Snow, green living expert and TV host; and Margaret Wittenberg, global vice president for quality standards and public affairs, Whole Foods Markets.

“We are pleased to add distinguished new members to our board of directors, and each one of them has energy and passion for our mission,” says Mark Retzloff, chair of The Organic Center board. “The diverse skills and talents these folks bring to the table will be a boon to the Center’s growth.”

“As strong supporters of our past work, these individuals already have made significant contributions to the organic movement,” said Joan Boykin, executive director of The Organic Center. “Now, as they engage with the board, the sky’s the limit in terms of what we can accomplish in advancing and communicating the science behind the benefits of organic.”

The Organic Center will hold its 8th Annual Benefit Dinner during Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Hilton’s Pacific Ballroom on March 11, 2011. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, will be the keynote speaker. Green living expert and TV host, Sara Snow, will premier an original video and serve as master of ceremonies. Dr. Chuck Benbrook, chief scientist for The Organic Center, will present science awards to John P. Reganold, Ph.D., Regents Professor of Soil Science at Washington State University and Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director, Technical Policy, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports. Tickets can be purchased on the Center’s website at: To host a table for 10 guests, become an event sponsor or make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Annie Brown at [email protected] or (303) 499-1840.

About The Organic Center

The Organic Center's unique mission is to advance credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming and to communicate them to the public. As an independent nonprofit 501(c) (3) research and education organization, we envision improved health for the earth and its inhabitants through the conversion of agriculture to organic methods. All of The Organic Center's research reports, publications, consumer guides and videos are available free of charge:

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