Stonyfield’s co-founder and longtime so-called “CE-Yo,” Gary Hirshberg, is resigning from his post.
But he’ll retain his most important position in the organic food movement.
Hirshberg got Stonyfield up and running in an era where “organic” was far less common and less well known than it is today. He started out hawking yogurt samples in supermarkets and, dozens of years later, found himself running a several-hundred-million dollars per year business still founded upon the same principles of growing food so that it’s better for your health and the environment.
And, though Hirshberg sold his company to Group Danone, famous for its non-organic yogurt, he not only remained on board as “CE-Yo,” with greater control over the company than most “sold-out” entrepreneurs but also remained a vocal mouthpiece for organic food and environmental issues.
I recall first hearing him speak, at Expo East 2010, and finding him a refreshingly passionate and outspoken proselyte for these causes. Many organic industry insiders pull punches, seem unclear on issues, and have only foggy visions for how to change the political landscape in America to bring about a sea change in the way we grow our food and the impact it has on our bodies and the environment.
Hirshberg, however, spoke with great confidence and a definitive vision and clearly had his large audience waiting on every word.
So I was happy to hear that, upon announcing his resignation, Hirshberg also announced his plans to stay involved on the regulatory front, pushing for change in modern agriculture.
Check out his first big effort, a consumer guide to genetically modified foods, co-authored with The Organic Center’s chief scientist Charles Benbrook and Stonyfield’s head of organic and sustainable agriculture, Britt Lundgren.