Community is at the heart of natural. Working together toward a common purpose is what drives us. Our stories need to educate and inspire consumers to vote with their dollars – helping brands get on retailer’s shelves and into the hands of more shoppers.
Today’s story is about inspiration and education. I have the privilege of interviewing Gary Hirshberg, one of the leading thought leaders in our industry. Gary shares with us the story about how he and his partner started Stonyfield Yogurt. The struggles that they had and how their dedication, and attention to detail, turned it into one of the leading brands in the category. Gary shares how his commitment to his friends, family, shareholders, employees, the community that he serves and the farmers that support him, helped him remain true to his passion. His dream was to develop a healthy yogurt brand and more importantly to prove that organic farming was sustainable. This was an opportunity for organic farms to prove themselves, to be a viable solution, to help solve many of the food problems that we have today.
We discussed the need for education. The opportunity for brands to help educate consumers and retailers about the sustainability and the viability of organic. We talked about how consumers vote with their dollars and why it’s imperative that we speak up and stand up for those farmers that are committed to organic, that are committed to giving back to our healthy way of life and are committed to healthy sustainable farming practices. Gary also talked about how entrepreneurs are pathological optimists and he emphasizes that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. This mantra helped Gary continually do whatever it took to succeed and to find ways to persevere when everything was going against him.
I want to thank Gary for openly sharing his story and his inspiration to help young healthy organic brands get their start and to stay focused on their core mission and to guard and protect their values. Never compromising or giving into adversity, which causes so many brands to cut corners.