Whole Foods COO Urges Organic Leaders to 'Re-soul' Movement

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Whole Foods COO Urges Organic Leaders to 'Re-soul' Movement

BOULDER, Colo. -- Organic Summit keynote speaker Walter Robb, co-president and c.o.o. of Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Markets, challenged the audience of organic leaders here to reclaim its idealism, as an industry and a movement.

"Let's re-seed, re-soil, and re-soul the organic industry and mentor the next generation of organic leaders," said Robb in his closing address at the inaugural Organic Summit, held June 20 to 22.

The event attracted more than 200 organic activists, representing the full spectrum of the booming organic industry. The charter conference theme, "Renewing The Organic Conversation," spurred critical exchange between attending farmers, certifiers, manufacturers, retailers, academics, and advocates. The conference was produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, in partnership with the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

A top issue discussed throughout the conference was the importance of continued growth in organic, which is now expanding 14 percent annually, with $15.7 billion in consumer sales in 2006, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Many thought leaders called for greater industry unity and continued vigilance of organic regulation. Other attendees appealed for significant increases in funding organic research, both at the farm and the university level, and for focused consumer educational campaigns.

Industry leaders will continue their discussion of key issues facing the industry on the Organic Summit blog (http://lainie.typepad.com/organicsummit/).

Charter sponsors of the conference include Premier Sponsors Horizon Organic and Silk, as well as Gold Sponsors Aurora Organic Dairy and Applegate Farms and Silver Sponsors, Allegro Coffee, Cascadian Farms, Clif Bar & Co, Clover Organic Farms, Coleman Natural Foods, Green & Black's, Jacob's Farm, New Chapter Organic, RSF Social Finance, Sterling-Rice Group, Stonyfield Farm, Under the Canopy, The Fresh Ideas Group, The Hain Celestial Group and Whole Foods Market - Rocky Mountain Region.