Stonyfield, a company which grew from humble beginnings as a small organic farming school in New Hampshire 35 years ago is celebrating the return of co-founder Gary Hirshberg in the newly-created role of Chief Organic Optimist. In his new role, Hirshberg will help accelerate Stonyfield’s long-standing mission of healthy people and a healthy planet through new products, partnerships, and initiatives that embody Stonyfield’s, and Hirshberg’s, innate activist spirit.
“Although we’ve never stopped working for healthy people and a healthy planet, everyone at Stonyfield agrees that the planet needs stronger voices now more than ever,” explained Hirshberg. “Of course, just the daily act of supporting over 1,400 organic family farmers stewarding millions of chemical-free acres and helping tens of millions to enjoy delicious organic foods is meaningful, but in today’s policy and political landscape, all of that is not enough. It doesn’t matter to our children how much organic yogurt we produce, if their air, soil and water are seeing increased chemical contamination, and climate change is causing massive damage to our communities and to agriculture.
Hirshberg is officially re-engaged at Stonyfield’s New Hampshire headquarters working closely with the team to further energize the company’s longstanding mission in big and bold ways. In coming months, the company will be announcing several initiatives to empower consumers to help protect the planet and the next generation of its inhabitants, including an ambitious public awareness campaign, Make Earth Cool Again, launched at Natural Products Expo West.
At Expo West, Stonyfield armed attendees with tools and resources to get out the vote for this year’s midterm elections, with the goal of encouraging consumers to vote for candidates who will help protect the environment. Expo attendees were encouraged to visit one of five onsite Stonyfield “voting” booths, where they could select a postage paid postcard to mail to friends and family across the country that will connect them to online educational resources about the environmental issues at stake – and where the candidates stand on them — this November. Stonyfield will also be encouraging attendees to pledge onsite to vote for candidates who will protect the environment and challenge recent Environmental Protection Agency decisions such as the announcement in late February that the Trump administration is dissolving the National Center for Environmental Research, which tests the effects of chemicals exposure on people, to roll its functions into a consolidated Office of Resource Management.
“I’m incredibly optimistic that Stonyfield can help lead the way in protecting more of our air, water and topsoils as well as animals and people from toxic persistent pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical inputs as well as climate changes that harm our children and the planet,” said Hirshberg. “The upcoming midterm elections are the best possible place for us to start making an immediate impact.”
“We’re thrilled to have Gary back to his activist role in the Stonyfield family,” says Esteve Torrens, Stonyfield President and CE-Yo. “Gary brings a spirit of activism and optimism that we can create a healthy world for our families today and generations to come, and he’s already harnessed that spirit for the Make Earth Cool Again campaign. Gary has long been a believer that business can be a force for change, and we look forward to having him help lead us on the journey ahead.”