Organic Farming Pioneers Receive SVN Award
Note: In honor of Social Venture Network’s 25-year anniversary, the network is inducting 25 of its most innovative and influential leaders into its hall of fame Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall in New York City. To recognize these sustainable business pioneers, SVN’s news program, ‘Sustainable Solutions,’ is interviewing the hall-of-famers to celebrate their accomplishments and learn what more needs to be done. Read the whole series here.
Myra and Drew Goodman are being recognized for their environmental leadership through co-founding Earthbound Farm, known for revolutionizing the salad industry with its organic produce that saves millions of pounds of synthetic fertilizers annually.
The Goodmans are among five Social Venture Network (SVN) members being inducted in its Hall of Fame as environmental evangelists.
“It feels very gratifying to be acknowledged by a group of people that are so committed to being agents of change in this world through business,” Myra says.
Myra says she looks forward to the SVN Hall of Fame celebration in New York City Nov. 13.
Other SVN environmental evangelist inductees include co-founder of Stonyfield Farm Gary Hirshberg, founding farmer of Organic Valley George Siemon, and co-founder of Seventh Generation Jeffrey Hollender.
“I’m a big fan of a lot of the other people being honored and just the thought of being in the same room as so many people that are so committed to turning this world in a good direction just feels very exciting,” says Myra.
Earthbound Farm, now headquartered in San Juan Bautista, California, was founded 28 years ago as a 2.5-acre backyard garden.
Myra says like other SVN members, they were motivated by a level of commitment beyond the bottom line to make an impact on the world.
At the time, only a small percentage of businesses had that level of motivation, she notes.
“Companies that intend to be successful financially now are becoming aware that they need to be more environmentally and socially sustainable in order to be successful,” she says, adding this is also due to consumers becoming more aware of issues and the realization of the need to better care for resources.
While there is a level of enlightenment, a lot of the change is from consumer pressure forcing companies to become more sustainable, says Myra.
She says “organic was a consumer revolution,” as retailers didn’t want to have organic produce next to conventional produce. It was the consumers who refused to shop at the stores without organic produce that caused the retailers to sell it.
“When we started nobody took organic farming seriously and we showed that it will sell in the supermarket,” says Myra.
In 1986, Earthbound Farm was the first company to successfully launch pre-washed salad packaged for retail sale.
“I think that we have proven that organic farming is really viable and that it’s possible on a large scale,” adds Myra.
SVN is celebrating 25 years of being at the forefront of the socially-responsible business movement bringing together innovative entrepreneurs dedicated to “profit with a purpose.”
Myra says she hopes the socially-responsible business sector continues to be the leaders and pioneers in developing solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems, and through applying those solutions inspire other companies and individuals to follow suit.