GREENFIELD, Mass. (Oct. 6, 1999) – The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will honor Frank Ford, founder of Arrowhead Mills, as its 1999 Leadership Award recipient at the 9th Annual Organic Industry Dinner Oct. 21 in Baltimore, MD. The organic industry dinner, slated in conjunction with Natural Products Expo East Oct. 20-24, will take place at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
OTA’s Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have furthered the organic industry. Ford was selected for his pioneering work in developing the infant organic industry and for countless hours spent crusading for organic agriculture.
"OTA is delighted to give this award to Frank, who served as a true role model for the organic industry and who helped open many doors leading to its growth," said Mark Retzloff, OTA’s president. "Frank was a mentor for many of the current leaders in the industry."
"It was an overwhelming desire to create a larger market for organically grown wheat that caused me to start Arrowhead Mills in 1960," Ford recalls. Noting that the early years were difficult ones, Ford explains, "I would work 18-hour days, dividing my time between an old LA Case tractor and a $400 pickup truck which I used to haul cases of organic stone-ground wheat and cornmeal to local food stores. Local, in this case, meant traveling up to 150 miles to make a delivery."
Today, Arrowhead Mills, now part of The Hain Group Inc., purchases certified organic crops and processes them into more than 100 products which are distributed across the United States, in Canada, and to several other countries. Ford retired from the company in the Spring of 1996.
During the time he was active in the organic industry, Ford--and Arrowhead Mills--helped develop a grassroots network of farmers, distributors and retailers to handle organic products.
As the 1999 recipient of OTA’s Leadership Award, Ford will receive a hand-blown glass planet by well-known artist Josh Simpson. Because of health considerations, Ford will be unable to attend the dinner. However, the event will include a presentation in his honor sponsored by Horizon Organic Dairy.
October 6, 1999
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