Cal Poly to Host the State of the Organic Industry Panel on March 2

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017

Contact: Center for Sustainability

SAN LUIS OBISPO —The Cal Poly Center for Sustainability will host a panel discussion on the evolution of the organic marketplace from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in the Advanced Technology Laboratories’ Keck Lab (No. 7, Room 2). The event is free and open to the public.

Industry leaders from Organic Produce Network, Cal-Organic Farms, Clif Bar & Co. and Taylor Farms will discuss the evolution of the organic market, including its origins, successes, challenges and trends for the future.

Sales of organic foods have more than doubled in the United States in the last decade — and the momentum continues. In 2015 organic product sales equaled more than $43.3 billion, an 11 percent increase from the prior year, according to the Organic Trade Association.

“Since the establishment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national standards for organic agriculture in 2002, the sector has experienced phenomenal growth,” said Hunter Francis, director of Cal Poly’s Center for Sustainability. “Given this momentum, we thought it would be valuable to host a panel of experts to give an overview of where the industry is today, how it got there and where it is headed.”

Panelists include:
- Tonya Antle, co-founder and executive vice president of Organic Produce Network, has been recognized as a driving force in the industry and for propelling organic produce into the mainstream marketplace.
- Bob Borda, vice president of organic sales at Cal-Organic Farms, a division of Grimmway enterprises, is a 25-year veteran in the produce industry.
- Tom Chapman, chair of the USDA’s 15-member National Organic Standards Board and senior sourcing manager of ingredients at Clif Bar, oversees sourcing and contracting for organic ingredient and is actively engaged with the organic supply chain.
- Rachel Molatore, sales manager of the West Coast region for Taylor Farms, has worked in the produce industry for 11 years. Taylor Farms is the largest supplier of salads and fresh cut vegetables in North America.

The panel discussion will conclude with time for questions from the public.

Additional upcoming events from the Center for Sustainability include:
- “Carbon Farm Planning Workshop,” where attendees will learn the principles of carbon farming and how to develop and implement a carbon farm plan. The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 12, at Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport, Calif. 
- “Healthy Foodweb, Healthy Soils,” a workshop with Elaine Ingham, a renowned investigator of food web dynamics, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21, in San Luis Obispo.

About the CAFES Center for Sustainability
The Center for Sustainability ( is a cross-disciplinary initiative in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences that is dedicated to advancing education on sustainable food and agricultural systems through curriculum, professional development and on-farm education.

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.

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