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Hass Avocado Board Announces New Board Members

The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) has announced its new executive committee and slate of board members for 2017 as appointed by Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack.

The board will work to support the mission of HAB’s five-year strategic plan: being the catalyst of collective efforts toward market expansion in the U.S. The plan’s six strategic priorities include: building demand, nutrition research and affairs, supply and demand data collection, and quality as well as two new initiatives – sustainability and industry engagement. Sustainability efforts will concentrate on bringing together a healthy public, planet and profitable avocado stakeholder; while industry engagement will encourage growers, exporters, handlers, importers and industry associations that supply the U.S. to support the new vision and successfully execute the board’s strategic plan.

Executive committee positions have been assigned to: Chairman re-elect Chris Henry, importer; Vice Chairman re-elect Bob Schaar, producer; Treasurer Laurie Luschei, producer; and Secretary Javier Medina, importer.

“We are committed to advancing our priorities to meet HAB’s vision of becoming the number one consumed fruit in America,” said Chairman Chris Henry. “We are confident that we have the right people and plan in place to ensure growth goals are met.

Three members and three additional alternates were chosen to serve in the positions. Appointed board members include Keith Barnard, importer; Salvador Dominquez, producer; and Linda Mullins, producer. New alternate positions include Ohannes Karaoghlanian, producer; Patrick Lucy, importer; and Jim Swoboda, producer.

“We look forward to continuing to build on the tremendous success of our outgoing officers and board members,” said Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of the Hass Avocado Board. “With our five-year strategic plan established, we are highly motivated and excited about the future of our industry.”

HAB thanks the outgoing board members for their service and commitment to advancing the industry’s priorities. Special thanks go to Rick Greenwood, chair of corporate governance committee, which developed and implemented guidelines with the purpose of making board membership more attractive, enhancing board effectiveness and adhering to best practices; Sebastian Bulnes, nutrition liaison, who served as the link between the board and HAB on nutrition research and related affairs; and Ohannes Karaoghlanian for his unwavering contributions to the finance committee.

HAB is also grateful for the efforts of this year’s outgoing alternates that include Custodio Aguilar, producer; Faye Hall, producer; and Jimmy Lotufo, importer.

KIND Celebrates Extraordinary Individuals with Foundation Grants

The KIND Foundation – a 501(c)3 charity started by KIND Healthy Snacks – has named the winners of its philanthropic program, KIND People. Through the program, the Foundation is awarding $1.1MM to seven people who are championing inclusivity and serving as beacons of empathy in communities nationwide.

The KIND People winners are addressing a range of societal issues – from infusing humanity and healing into Ohio’s prison system to providing clean water to Michigan families. Every day, these exemplars are working to ensure that all people – even the least understood and the most vulnerable – experience touches of humanity and have the opportunity to improve their lives.

“These remarkable human beings capture the spirit we need to elevate and the values that make America great, including kindness, respect and the conviction that we can make a positive difference in each other’s lives,” says Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and CEO of KIND and President of The KIND Foundation. “Most notably, these KIND People show us how to take steps toward understanding those who seem different, but deep down share our humanity.”

Since the program’s kickoff last January, nearly 5,000 stories of unsung heroes were submitted. Dana Rosenberg, Director of The KIND Foundation, says, “The response to the program reaffirmed our belief that good work is being done every day, and the extraordinary people leading this work deserve recognition and support. By showcasing their stories, we hope to encourage people everywhere to discover the kindness inside of themselves and take action in their own lives.”

Six KIND People winners will receive a $100,000 prize, and one grand prize winner, Doniece Sandoval, will receive a $500,000 prize. Sandoval’s organization, Lava Mae, stemmed from an idea that many thought was impossible — turning retired transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels. Her pioneering approach has prompted advocates across the globe to devise innovative solutions to homelessness.

Unlike other programs, each KIND People awardee is given full discretion on how to deploy the funds, meaning they could use some or all for personal needs or interests. Sandoval, however, is allocating 100 percent of her prize to scaling Lava Mae’s services, launching an open source toolkit so that other communities can follow suit, and innovating new pilot programs. She says, “Since Lava Mae began, we’ve received more than 1,200 requests to replicate our services from across the U.S. and around the world. Now, with The KIND Foundation’s support, we’ll be able to help cities everywhere deliver hygiene and dignity for their homeless neighbors.”

In addition to Sandoval, the Foundation will award the following people:

Jo Dee Davis

When Davis started volunteering at an Ohio prison 16 years ago, she never imagined it would become her community. Her organization, Healing Broken Circles, helps bring the voice of those affected into the conversation about incarceration, and its programs create a place for learning and self-discovery so that inmates can start life anew – inside and outside of prison.

Lam Ho

An advocate for the underserved, Ho has dedicated his life to ensuring that people understand their rights and gain access to the legal services they deserve.  He works 100 hours per week at Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA), bringing energy, purpose, and personal experience to his clients’ cases so that he can fight alongside them and make their voices heard.

Monica Lewis-Patrick

Lewis-Patrick’s sense of justice and belief in her ability to enact change has united a community in the fight for water rights. It started after she learned that Detroit had cut off the water of a building occupied by mothers and senior citizens. She co-founded We the People of Detroit, a grassroots organization that gives low-income families access to water; provides education on water issues; and mobilizes people to take action.

Sandra Goldberg

After beating breast cancer, Goldberg started A Silver Lining Foundation to help others access the resources once at her disposal.  Today, she provides funding for the entire spectrum of breast health testing (screenings through biopsy) as well as educational workshops to uninsured and underinsured women. Her ability to merge humanity with healthcare puts thousands of patients at ease.

Phyllis Shaughnessy

75-year-old Shaughnessy, nicknamed “the lunch lady,” is an unstoppable force, feeding and uniting a community. Her tireless energy and generous spirit will help deliver an estimated 20,000 food packages this year to families in Copalis Beach, Washington, and surrounding areas. She not only delivers nutrition, but also gives hundreds of families something – and someone – to rely on every week.

Jodi Rae Ingstad

Known as a “joyologist,” Ingstad’s commitment to kindness extends past her day job at an elderly home. Whether materially or emotionally, she selflessly serves North Dakota’s most vulnerable – including the homeless, elderly, and families in need. Those whose lives she has touched describe her heart as one of action.

Largest Winter Fancy Food Show Ever Opens Registration

The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco is shaping up to be the largest in its 42-year history, with more of the latest specialty foods and beverages to discover than ever before. The show takes place January 22-24, 2017 at Moscone Center.

218,000 square feet – almost four football fields – of exhibit halls will overflow with thousands of new products from across the country – California to Texas to Maine – as well as from 30 countries. California will boast the biggest show presence with over 330 companies represented.

Registration is now open at

As the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty foods and beverages on the West Coast, the show is the place to be for buyers from top names in retailing and restaurants. Attendees spot trends, find new foods, and make new connections.

“Specialty food sales are exploding right now,” says Phil Kafarakis, President of the Specialty Food Association, which owns and produces the Winter Fancy Food Show. “We’re seeing millennials and men emerging as key consumer groups, foodservice sales are experiencing impressive increases, while online shopping and retail serve as key consumer sales channels. People are very interested in high quality, great tasting food and specialty foods offer both.”

Show highlights include a full range of educational programming focused on smart growth and innovation targeted to all levels of the specialty food industry from newcomers to established manufacturers.

Other show highlights include:

  • Specialty Food Association’s fifth annual Leadership Awards Ceremony
    Sunday, January 22, 2017, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
  • What’s New, What’s Hot showcase with hundreds of on-trend products
  • “New Brands on the Shelf” area featuring up-and-coming producers who are Specialty Food Association Member Candidates.
  • Incubator Alley where new specialty food stars will display their products at the earliest stage.
  • Major food donation at show’s end to Feed the Hungry.

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