Who is Melody Meyer

Melody Meyer

Melody Meyer is the Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods (UNFI). She is responsible for communicating and educating all stakeholders on critical industry issues. She is likely to be found attending industry events such as: Eco- Farm Conference, MOSES,  and Organicology Conference to fulfill her goals. She is active in advocating for fair and equitable funding for organic agriculture with Congressional members and always attends OTA’s Hill Visit Days.

She has been invited to speak at international trade missions to enhance international organic agriculture with FAO, Expoa-Peru, and Banana Exporters Association of Ecuador.

Melody’s career spans several decades in the organic and natural foods industry including 9 years of international trade and development. She began her career in 1976 working in an Iowa Natural Food Cooperative.  Her early years in the retail segment of the burgeoning organic industry provided valuable experience buying from local farmers and providing fair returns in order to increase their organic acreage. This experience led to a lifelong dream of changing the way people eat and farm.

Melody founded her own business in 1995, Source Organic, which joined organic producers all over the country directly with national retailers and wholesalers. Source Organic was eventually acquired by Albert’s Organics (a division of United Natural Foods UNFI) in 2001 and it became the procurement department for all organic fresh produce purchased for the company. Her dream was being realized on a national scale!

In 2004 she began importing directly from small banana producers in Latin America. They were uniting and developing self-governed organizations enabling the small producers to export internationally for the first time. This international business provided a new level of prosperity allowing the communities to increase much need social systems and infrastructure.

She has been deeply involved in introducing Fair Trade certification to growers in Latin America with Fair Trade USA and FLO.  The Fair Trade premiums are managed by self-governed worker groups to provide education, reforestation, access to clean water and health care.

Melody is proud to be the current executive director of the UNFI Foundation, which is dedicated to funding non-profit organizations that promote organic and sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems. Priorities of the Foundation include organic research, protecting biodiversity of seeds, promoting transparent labeling, and educating consumers on healthy food choices.

She is serving her second term on the Board of Directors for the Organic Trade Association (OTA).  She also sits on the California Department of Food and Agriculture Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC).

Melody’s lifelong passion coupled with her experience and relationships supports her goal of continued involvement and influence in the organic food community. In her words, “It is an honor to serve our industry and the grower community through my continued work. Let’s strive to make organic food available to all consumers while enhancing the prosperity of our rural communities and preserving our environment.”

27 thoughts on “Who is Melody Meyer

  1. It has come to my attention that as I follow The Organic Consumers Assoc on FB they recently posted a list of companies that are subsidiaries of bigger companies that support the NON labeling of GMOs. I for one was surprised at the list which has items that I buy from Larabar,Muir Glen,Alexia,Honest Tea,Sweetleaf tea,Cascadian Farms,Knudsen,just to name a few–now I contacted several of these companies & basically got the run around & no truth out of them. NOTE when you click on the poster you get to zoom in for a closer look to see more of the culprits & also NOTE UNFI is on the right hand good guy column–I think you need to do some homework as to these accusations as for now I will no longer buy these products that are sold in the uNFI catalog–as well as many others all over the world who also have seen this list,here is the site:
    http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/11/good-bad-ugly-revisited-decoding-gmo-food-fight-washington-state I didn’t know if you were informed & thought you might like to know.
    Sincerely
    Suzy King

    • Hi Suzy,
      Yes I have seen the link and thank you for bringing this forward. It’s a complicated issue and one that I explored more deeply in my Blog Boycott that Brand. https://organicmattersblog.com/?s=Boycott&submit=Search
      Many of those companies who sell organic products were purchased by the bigger companies and some came from true organic cultures. They probably have little control on the associations the larger company chooses to be a member of. If the mother company supports the smaller organic division to have non-GMO certified products then supporting those brands can send a certain message to the mother company.

      In another Blog I elaborate on a call for shareholders of those larger companies to cease the funding activity of anti-labeling campaigns. Read “Supporting GMO labeling is bad for business” https://organicmattersblog.com/2013/10/23/opposing-gmo-labeling-is-bad-for-business/

      Each one of us has to decide which path to take in order to create change. Weather it is through writing letters, boycotting , supporting non-gmo labels or pulling money out of certain stocks.
      The path for each of us is different but we all know where we are going.
      Thanks again!

      Melody L Meyer
      VP Policy and Industry Relations UNFI
      phone 401.528.8634 ext 62225
      Fax 831/462-5718
      SKYPE melody.meyer
      Visit my Blog at http://www.organicmattersblog.com

      • Hello Melody:
        Great to have you visit Northeastern and the National Soil Project. We urgently need organic farm soil samples to analyze for sequestered carbon and compare the data with data for conventional farm soil in hand to see if organic farming leads to more sequestration. Can you help communicaye with farmers with your blog? That will be much appreciated.
        Best regards, and thanks for your work for organic!
        Geoff and Elham
        NSP Directors
        www/neu.edu/hagroup

      • That is a great idea! I can do that! Where can I find more information on the entire study for background information?
        Is there a website? Does Jessica Shade have the information?
        I love this idea!

      • There’s a typo, or a Freudian slip, in the Nov 5, 2013 blog: it refers to an article “Supporting GMO labeling is bad for business” whereas the title of the article is “Opposing GMO labeling is bad for business”

      • A July 4th present to the CA voters:
        overturning existing labeling laws across the
        country
        And weakening current GMO labeling laws at the
        USDA level.

        The Senate’s timing was intentional,
        Everyone is enjoying summer trying to get away
        from their phones and computers-
        what a perfect time to sc___ the consumer.
        And a perfect time to help a VERY powerful
        company –Monsanto and
        their fellow chemical/pesticide producers.

        This was a clear vote for Monsanto and a vote
        against the will of the people/voters and
        families across America.

        This bill makes it illegal to force pesticide producers
        to label their GMO food products. This new federal
        GMO labeling law (if passed) uses computer codes
        instead of the English language for labeling GMO
        products. This new federal GMO Bill has
        NO enforcement
        teeth; it’s like not having a law at all but worse we
        can’t overturn it because it includes language
        that outlaws voters from changing the bill at the
        state level.

        Since when does the federal government make
        laws telling consumers they are not allowed to vote
        Into law a request for English language food
        labeling?

        GMO products from Monsanto are sprayed with
        26% more pesticides then conventional fruits
        and vegetables.

        This 26% pesticide levels does not even include
        the sticky neonicotinoid pesticides that these
        GMO seeds are dipped in.

        Monsanto makes pesticides (Round-up)
        and they also make GMO seeds dipped in pesticides
        so toxic (fresh from Monsanto’s shelves)
        You can not touch these seeds with your bare hands
        And God forbid you chew on one. They are Also
        genetically altered (not to be mistaken with hybrid)
        not even close to what Mother Nature gave us.

        They are altered to the point
        that these Round-up Ready GMO seeds create plants that
        won’t die ifarmer can spray them as much
        as as they like with Pesticides . But while spraying
        them in the field those same farmers are required
        to wear a hazmat suits.
        This means more pesticides in your food, soil and water.

        Pesticides are proven to cause Parkinson’s and
        Cancer in the human body.

        Please take two seconds to call Feinsteins office
        Just say “you support the Vermont GMO labeling bill
        not nonsensical & unreadable QR codes”
        Ask her not to overturn the Vermont GMO law
        with a new watered down bill using QR codes

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  3. Today we need your help now more than ever. You and your family’s right to honest organic food is under attack. This morning a vital meeting that will determine the future of organic standards is currently taking place in San Antonio, Texas, with organic farmers and activists facing off against USDA officials and corporate representatives seeking to permanently undermine organic standards.

    This National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting was already set to be contentious, with a strong show of force by organic farmers and consumer activists, but earlier this morning, organic activist Alexis Baden Mayer of the Organic Consumers Association was arrested after leading a spirited protest of the imminent watering down of organic standards by the USDA employees and corporate organic interests.

    That’s right, the Obama USDA called in local San Antonio police to arrest organic activists who dared to stand up for organic integrity earlier this morning.

    Even worse, USDA representative Miles McEvoy has illegally taken over the meeting by appointing himself as meeting “co-chair” in an effort to erode the authority of, and control the decisions made by allegedly independent, NOSB members as spelled out in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990.

    McEvoy has currently filibustered the meeting for the past hour, instructing the NOSB members that they are simply an “advisory board” and that the USDA controls all agenda items and decisions. That’s right, the corporate coup of organics has begun! This outrageous powergrab to destroy organics must be stopped!

    Click here to save organic integrity! Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to reject the new corporate power grab over organic standards! It’s time to reverse the NOSB’s new rules that seek to weaken organic standards forever. Every voice counts!

    http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/sign/take_stand_for_organic_integrity/?t=7&akid=1209.142829.cao3Tn

    Right now one of the biggest assaults on the integrity of organic foods is taking place at the USDA that has ever been conceived, with high-level Obama political appointees working behind the scenes with giant corporate organics to gut 20 years of precedent in the congressionally-mandated National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

    USDA Undermines Sunset Provision: Wants Synthetics Permanently Allowed in Organics

    In September 2013, Miles McEvoy, the Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program (NOP) at the USDA issued a controversial memo that overturns 2 decades of rulemaking and self-governance at the NOSB in an effort to permanently weaken organic standards.

    The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a 15-member advisory committee appointed by the USDA Secretary to make decisions about synthetic and non-organic materials allowed in certified USDA Organic food, as petitioned by Industrial Organic. For the past twenty years, the NOSB has served as the final arbitrator over sunsetting of synthetic ingredients allowed in organic foods, with each non-organic material being reviewed every 5 years in a Sunset Process.

    But last fall, USDA Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy unilaterally announced a set of new rules, violating due process without consulting the NOSB board members in an illegal power grab that is in direct violation of Congressional mandate given to the NOSB under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990.

    Under the new proposed policy, exempt synthetic materials would be permitted indefinitely unless a two-thirds super majority of the NOSB votes to remove an exempted (synthetic) substance from the list. Incredibly, the new policy allows USDA to relist exemptions for synthetic materials without the recommendation of the independent board and outside of public view in direct violation of current law.

    In addition, McEvoy violated due process by disbanding NOSB’s Policy Development Subcommittee without public discussion or consultation and indicated in private meetings that he will personally usurp NOSB’s meeting by taking over the meeting and by promoting himself “co-chair” in order to micromanaged the NOSB agenda to fit the USDA and Big Organic’s ulterior motives in destroying organic standards.

    Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to Save Organic Standards! It’s time to Reverse the NOSB’s new rules that seek to weaken organic standards forever.

    3 Former NOSB Board Chairs Outraged Over Vilsack’s Corporate Coup of Organics

    McEvoy’s actions are so outrageous and beyond the pale of 20 years of NOSB operating procedure that 3 former past NOSB board chairs have written a public letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to protest these intentional violations.

    The letter was published by the Wisconsin-based organic consumer watchdog group Cornucopia Institute, and details the list of concerns that are shared by millions of organic consumers who rely on organic as an essential part of their daily diet. The letter was signed by Minnesota organic farmer Jim Riddle, former NOSB board chair, 2005; expert in organic crop production systems Jeff Moyer, former NOSB board chair, 2009; and Barry Flamm, former NOSB board chair 2012, first certified organic sweet cherry grower in Montana.

    According to the letter, the 3 former NOSB board chairs expressed their “grave concerns” regarding the recent changes enacted by the USDA, which they claim will “significantly erode the authority, independence and input of the NOSB.”

    In addition, the letter stated that the USDA’s new policies where “a radical shift away from the collaborative governance of the organic industry that Congress had clearly intended” in the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.

    Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to Save Organic Standards! It’s time to Reverse the NOSB’s new rules that seek to weaken organic standards forever. Every voice counts!

    While significant differences exist in our current food system, corporate lobbyists should not be allowed to weaken organic standards simply so they can sell more food at the grocery store.

    As a national movement of farmers and consumers, we are united in our desire for strong, meaningful standards that will allow families to always trust the USDA Organic seal. Tragically, rather than protect the integrity of organic standards for future generations of farmers and consumers, the National Organic Program (NOP) is in the process of permanently undermining consumer confidence by weakening organic standards to appease industry pressure.

    The Organic label is more than just a label to many Americans. It is a way for those wanting to avoid pesticides, synthetics and GMOs to do so by eating organic. Therefore, it is important that the integrity of organic standards be maintained and protected.

    Take a stand for organic integrity! Tell Secretary Vilsack not to allow organic standards to be destroyed by corporate lobbyists. It means too much for mothers and farmers to allow our strong organic standards to be destroyed. Every voice counts.

  4. Hi Melody

    We are growers of organic quinoa and we want to export our product to USA, if you know some customers to our product we will be eternally grateful.

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  7. Pingback: An Interview with Betsy Rakola: A focus on transitioning farmers and organic acreage. Part 1 | Organic and Sustainable Ag Law

  8. Pingback: An Interview with Betsy Rakola: A focus on transitioning farmers and organic acreage. Part 2 | Organic and Sustainable Ag Law

  9. Melody, What a pleasant surprise to read about your interest and work for Organic. I started in 1950 on my Dairy Farm in Vermont. I did three years of my own experimenting and found that organic was superior to the chemicals. I won many awards over the chemical user in 1958 and beyond. I am going to send some of my articles I have written that keeps the chemical promoters at bay. I like your comment about soil and dirt. I have written that many times. My theme: “Fertile Soil is the Lifeblood of the Earth and all Food comes from the Soil— Food— and Health in this Order. Kept up the good work.

  10. Noticed your work with Eco Farm conference and I realize I may have interacted with you at some point as I worked with audio recording for many years.
    I’m writing regarding the Bellingham Community Food Co-op parking lot / loading dock project. I am part of an effort to preserve the Yew tree and green space as well as to ask that the coop take some positive steps toward dealing with the coming dilemmas of climate change. There is a Facebook page called Keep It Green Bellingham.
    The elephant in the room is the loading dock conundrum, which I need to understand more fully. I would like to talk with someone within UNFI who is familiar with the Bellingham site. Is there someone you might suggest?
    I would like to be able to share information with others to help shed some light on this topic. I would be happy to send a copy of what I write to someone for review.

    Thank you for your help.

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