Organic and produce industry veteran Tonya Antle to retire
by | July 20, 2010
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, CA -- Earthbound Farm has announced that Tonya Antle
is retiring from the company at the end of 2010.
An organic trailblazer with nearly 30 years dedicated to selling organic
produce, Ms. Ante has devoted the last 13 years of her career to helping build
the "Earthbound Farm" brand through marketing and sales.
The company recently hired Craig Hope in the newly established position of
chief customer officer. With extensive executive experience developing and
leading strategic customer teams in well-established and highly
entrepreneurial environments, Mr. Hope will lead the Earthbound Farm
produce sales team. He is also charged with developing new sales teams to
execute go-to-market strategies in categories outside the produce aisle.
In addition to her sales and marketing achievements, Ms. Ante has been a
popular mentor to young people in the organic produce world. Recently she's
expanded this role, becoming an adjunct professor in the College of
Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,
teaching a senior-level course in fresh fruit and vegetable marketing. To
honor Ms. Ante's career, Earthbound Farm will award a $5,000 scholarship to
a young woman studying at the college who is pursuing studies in some
aspect of organic agriculture.
"It has been such an amazing journey here at Earthbound Farm," Ms. Antle
said in a July 21 press release. "I am so proud to have been a part of the
collaboration of truly talented and innovative people, all with a commitment to
bring the benefits of organic food to as many people as possible. It's now time
to pay forward all my great experiences by teaching, coaching and mentoring
the next generation of produce talent. That's the inspiration for my next
Ms. Ante joined Earthbound Farm, the country's leading producer of organic
salads, fruits and vegetables, as vice president of organic sales in 1998 and
played a key role in providing education about the organic category and its
shoppers to retail and foodservice customers at a time when organic produce
was seen as a niche item.
An active leader in the organic movement since 1983, she has been a
respected spokesperson and effective advocate for the organic industry, the
release noted. Her extensive experience and insight have made her a sought-
after speaker, and she has been featured in education programs throughout
In 2003, in recognition of her pioneering spirit and dedication to the
development of the organic produce category, Ms. Antle was presented with
the prestigious Women in Produce Award of Excellence by the United Fresh
Fruit & Vegetable Association. She also served as a member of the executive
committee of the U.S. Department of Agricultre's Advisory Board on Research,
Education & Economics, the board of the Produce Marketing Association, and
the board of the Organic Trade Association.
"Tonya was instrumental in convincing retailers that organic produce
belonged on the shelf beside conventional during a time when there was
much skepticism regarding the benefits of organic," Earthbound Farm co-
founder Drew Goodman said in the release. "She worked tirelessly with the
rest of the early Earthbound team to prove the benefits of organic. The
category would be nowhere near what it is today without the efforts of Tonya
and the other early trailblazers and advocates in the organic category."
Charles Sweat, the company’s president and chief executive officer, added in
the release, "I am grateful to Tonya for her important contributions to
Earthbound Farm's success. Having helped us get where we are, she is leaving
our sales group in good hands with our new chief customer officer, Craig
Hope. I wish Tonya continued success."