ABC's Board of Trustees
(Left to Right: Fredi Kronenberg, PhD, Mark Blumenthal, Morris Shriftman, Peggy Brevoort, Michael Balick, PhD,
Tom Newmark, Neil Blomquist, Margaret Wittenberg, Steven Foster, and Bernadette Marriott, PhD)
Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chair, Research and Training Director and Philecology Curator, Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
Dr. Michael J. Balick is an ethnobotanist with a specialty in medicinal and food plants and the role they play in traditional health care (ethnomedical) systems. Since the early 1970s he has worked with indigenous cultures around the world, studying how people interact with the plants in their environment and working towards conservation of biological and cultural diversity. He received his Ph.D. and A.M. in Biology from Harvard University. His undergraduate major was in horticulture and plant science, at the University of Delaware. He has worked at The New York Botanical Garden since 1980, and is currently Philecology Curator of Economic Botany and Director of the NYBG Institute of Economic Botany, and Vice President for Botanical Science. Current field projects regularly take him to the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and the island of Manhattan – where, in each of these places, he studies the use of plants by traditional cultures. He teaches ethnobotany at Columbia University and The City University of New York, and has authored, co-authored or edited 18 books and numerous scientific and popular articles. He frequently appears on television, radio and in print media, discussing the need for documenting the ancient wisdom of traditional cultures and keeping it in practice.
He has received numerous awards and honors for his scientific research and achievements. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Economic Botanist award from the Society for Economic Botany. In 2007 he received the Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Achievement from the Natural Products Association and was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation during 2005-2006. He is the recipient of the 2004 American Association for the Advancement of Science International Award for Scientific Cooperation (“For leadership in the field of ethnobotany and devotion to establishing international collaborations and institutions that work toward preserving traditional knowledge and respect for the values of local communities”). He received the Frontiers of Science Award from the Society of Cosmetics Chemists in 2001, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999, and received the E. K. Janaki Ammal Medal from the Society of Ethnobotanists in 1998 (“For his long and distinguished service to ethnobotany”). He and Dr. Hans T. Beck received the Oberly Award for bibliographic excellence in the field of agricultural sciences from the American Library Association for their book Useful Palms of The World: A Synoptic Bibliography in 1991. Dr. Balick is a former President of the Society for Economic Botany, an international organization devoted to furthering research in the study of the relationship between plants and people; has been a Visiting Fellow at Green College, Oxford University; and serves on the boards of numerous scientific and cultural organizations. In March of 2009 he was accorded the high title of Luhk En Kairoir Dolen Katau Nett, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, in recognition of his efforts in cultural and biodiversity conservation of that island.
Read the HerbalGram article about Michael.
View Michael's page on the New York Botanical Garden Web site.
Founder and President,
Sustainable Solutions Consulting Services
ABC Board Treasurer
Blomquist has over 40 years of hands-on success building brands and companies in the natural products industry. Neil has practical experience in retailing, distribution, brand marketing, product sourcing, product development and organizational management.
Founder and President of Sustainable Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in the development and marketing of sustainable business solutions for the natural products industry. (2006 to present)
Managing Director, Natural Habitats USA, Inc. – provides oversight of all business activities in the US for the Natural Habitats Group, www.natural-habitats.com.
Chief Operating Officer, Numi Tea, Inc. – oversight of Finance, Operations, IT and Customer Service for leading premium Organic and Fair Trade Tea Company based in Oakland, CA. (2009 to 2012; Senior Advisor, 2012 to 2014)
Former President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Spectrum Organic Products, Inc. (2002 to 2005) – the leading producer of natural and organic culinary and nutraceutical oils, condiments, and essential fatty acid supplement oils in North America. The company was sold to the Hain-Celestial Group in December of 2005. Blomquist oversaw the daily operation of the company and lead its double-digit annual growth in sales and profits.
Other positions held during Blomquist’s 16 year tenure at Spectrum include:
President of Consumer Brands - (2000 to 2002)
President and COO - (1994 to 2000)
Director of Sales and Marketing - (1989 to 1994)
Natural Foods Retailer and Distributor. Neil has extensive experience in natural product distribution and retailing. He served as Sales Manager of Fairhill Foods, a natural products distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before moving to California, Blomquist co-owned and operated a natural and specialty food retail store in Kalispell, Montana for 10 years.
Board of Directors, California Olive Oil Council (1995 to 2005)
Board of Directors, American Botanical Council (2006 to present)
Board of Directors, Living Harvest Conscious Nutrition (2006 to 2012)
Board of Directors, Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Social Finance (2007 to present)
Board of Directors, Nutiva, Inc. (2013 to present)
Board of Directors, Numi Tea, Inc. (2013 to present)
Neil served as Chair of the Organic Standards Subcommittee for Oils in the development of the Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Born in South Dakota, Blomquist received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management and economics from the University of South Dakota.
ABC Board Vice President
Peggy is the co-founder and former CEO of East Earth Herb in
Eugene, Oregon. She is the former President of the American Herbal Products Association, and has also served as a member of the boards at Biomed Comm Inc.; United Plant Savers; Bastyr University Board of Regents; the Corporate Alliance for Integrative Medicine, Inc.; and Citizens for Health. She was named 1990 Woman of the Year by the Association of Women in Natural Foods, and earned Natural Business Communication's 1999 Leadership in business Award. She was also a member of the frist herbalist delegation to the People's Republic of China in 1988. Read the HerbalGram article about Peggy.
James A. Duke, Ph.D.,
Economic Botanist (USDA, ret.), Author
ABC Board Member Emeritus
Dr. James Duke formerly with the US Department of Agriculture, is a renowned senior botanist and who is currently involved with The Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research, and the American Botanical Council. He has written more than a dozen texts, including the Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, The CRC Handbook of Alternative Cash Crops for the Tropics, Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary, CRC's Handbook of Medicinal Plants of the Bible, Duke's Handbook of Medicinal Plants of the Bible, and The Green Pharmacy. He has constructed powerful databases on the ecology, photochemistry and utility of thousands of economic plants. Advocating conservation in the Amazon as well as respect for efficacy of herbs over molecular drugs, Dr. Duke has been an all-important figure in the advancement of alternative therapies based on botanicals. Read the HerbalGram article about Jim.
Norman R. Farnsworth, Ph.D. (Deceased)
Research Professor of Pharmacognosy
Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Illinois at Chicago
Norman Farnsworth is a world-renowned pharmacognosist and director of the Program for Collaborative Research in the Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), a multidisciplinary program he established in 1982. He is also a UIC distinguished professor, research professor of pharmacognosy, and senior research scholar at UIC. Dr. Farnsworth invented NAPRALERT, the world's largest database on natural products, featuring information on the ethnomedical or traditional uses, chemistry, and pharmacology of medicinal plants, microbes, marine organisms, and fungi. Prof. Farnsworth is also co-founding editor of the journal Phytomedicine. Read the HerbalGram article about Norman. Read Norman's obituary.
Steven Foster Group, Inc.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Steven Foster began his career 30 years ago at the Herb Department of the Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Shaker Community. He is the author of over 700 popular, articles and is well known for his photography. Steven is also the author of 14 books, including three Peterson Field Guides. He lives in the Ozarks. Foster serves as the president of the Steven Foster Group, Inc., providing consulting, editorial and stock photography services. Read the HerbalGram article about Steven.
View Steven's page on the ABC Web site.
Fredi Kronenberg, Ph.D.
Consulting Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
ABC Board Secretary
Dr. Fredi Kronenberg is a physiologist and international leader in women’s health and research in complementary and alternative approaches for menopausal women. She is a leading expert in menopausal hot flashes, and alternative therapies to treat them. Dr. Kronenberg was founding director of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and, as Professor of Clinical Physiology, was director of one of the first ten Centers funded by the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine – the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research in Aging and Women's Health at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. Current affiliations include Stanford University School of Medicine, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and the New York Botanical Garden.
Dr. Kronenberg’s research has examined women’s health across the life-cycle. Work on alternative treatments has included studies of herbal and dietary approaches to maintaining optimal health in menopausal women. She collaborates with institutions in China to study Traditional Chinese Medicine and with ethnobotanists at the New York Botanical Garden to study herbal medicines of various ethnic traditions in New York City.
Dr. Kronenberg initiated groundbreaking CME courses including “Botanical Medicine in Modern Clinical Practice” with Dr. Andrew Weil, “Integrative Pain Medicine,” and is co-director with Dr. Andrew Weil of “Nutrition and Health: State of the Science and Clinical Applications.”
Dr. Kronenberg was a founding editor of the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine: Research on Paradigm, Practice and Policy. She is on the editorial board of the journals Menopause, Journal of Tropical and Medicinal Plants, EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, and the Journal of Women’s Health. She was co-founder of the North American Menopause Society, which has become the premier professional society in the field. Her most recent co-edited book is Botanical Medicine: From Bench to Bedside.
Bernadette Marriott, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Medicine
MUSC College of Medicine
Div. of Gastroenterology & Hepatology & Department. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Military Division Charleston, SC
Bernadette M. Marriott, PhD, splits her time between positions as Principal Associate and Senior Scientist at Abt Associates, and Vice President for Science and Education at the Samueli Institute. Bernadette has 38 years of experience in the fields of nutrition, psychology, and comparative medicine with expertise in diet, nutrition and chronic disease. Dr. Marriott has worked in scientific settings in the federal government, universities, and foundations. Her research has focused on nutrition and related behavioral studies, specifically diet and health research, and food labeling. Other positions include Vice President for Science Integration, RTI International, Founding Director of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Deputy Director of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (IOM), Vice Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies at Northern Arizona University, Vice President for Programs and Communications for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and Associate Director of the Caribbean Primate Research Center, University of Puerto Rico. She is currently leading or has recently led an ASPE-funded project on barriers to meeting the dietary guidelines, two corporate-funded projects on infant feeding, an EPA project on lifestyle factors in the elderly, two US Army diet and nutrition projects, two ILSI NA projects: one on fructose intake and one on added sugar intake and micronutrient adequacy, NIH-funded projects on adult and child intake, TMA-funded Weight Management Demonstration Project: Healthy Eating and Active Living in TRICARE Households (HEALTH), an obesity study supported by OSTP, and was the scientific lead for diet, exercise, weight management, and related health indicators on the 2005 Department of Defense (DoD) Survey of Health-Related Behaviors among Military Personnel, and the Office of Dietary Supplements-funded project on the feasibility of creating a Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD). Bernadette Marriott has a BSc in biology/immunology from Bucknell University, a PhD in psychology from King’s College, Aberdeen, Scotland, and postgraduate training in trace mineral nutrition, comparative medicine, and advanced statistics. She has published extensively, is on a number of national committees and university scientific advisory boards, and is a frequent speaker on diet, dietary supplements and health.
Thomas M. Newmark
Owner, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge
San Isidro de Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica
ABC Board Chair
Newmark brings a deep devotion to environmentalism, conservation, and organic herb production to the ABC Board of Trustees, along with more than a decade of experience within the regulatory environments of the natural products industry.
After graduating from Washington University in 1973, Newmark studied political science at Yale for one semester and then left to study Transcendental Meditation, which had a profound and lasting impact on his life and career. He then returned to Washington University for a law degree and worked as an attorney for many years, including the representation of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Natural Law Party and Ross Perot’s Reform Party bid to be included in the 1996 presidential debates.
A self-described “recovering attorney,” Newmark came to New Chapter in 1999 after serving as a legal consultant to his college friend and New Chapter co-founder Paul Schulick. Newmark started off at the company as president, and, over the next 13 years, held several additional titles including co-CEO, CEO, and chairman. Newmark describes Schulick as his “first and most important teacher with respect to herbal medicine.” Together they co-authored Beyond Aspirin (Holm Press, 2000) and The Life Bridge (Herbal Free Press, 2002), and created the current top-selling combination dietary supplement in the United States, Zyflamend®, a multi-herbal extract formulation to promote healthy inflammation response that has been researched in laboratory studies and a Phase I clinical trial.
Newmark remains a tireless activist for organic and non-GMO causes, authoring editorial articles and participating in public-speaking events. He is co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva, a biodynamic and organic herb farm in Costa Rica that provides tropical-grown botanicals for some of New Chapter’s products, and he also co-founded Semillas Sagradas, a botanical sanctuary that preserves traditional and medicinal plants and the knowledge surrounding their important uses. Semillas Sagradas, which is on the Luna Nueva farm, was the first installment in what has grown into a worldwide network of approximately 16 similar projects under the nonprofit organization Sacred Seeds, of which Newmark is president and chair of the board.
In addition to his new position on ABC’s Board of Trustees, Newmark recently joined the natural products merchant banker 6Pacific as chairman, a position in which he hopes to assist natural products companies in achieving greater commercial success. He also serves on the boards of Greenpeace, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center, and Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Read the HerbalGram article about Tom.
CEO, Mozart, LLC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Morris has been active in the growth and development of the Natural and Organic Products industry and the Alternative Medicine Industry since 1970. He’s had a hand in growing many of the industry’s leading companies, as their marketing and branding agency, strategic consultant, executive or Board Member.
In 2004 Morris was recruited by North Castle Partners to reposition and build Avalon Natural Products. As Senior VP of Marketing and Product Development, Morris and his team created “Consciousness in Cosmetics,” a new paradigm for safety and efficacy in natural and organic personal care, and reformulated nearly all of Avalon’s products. Sales have grown over 25% every year since 2004 and in January 2007 Avalon was sold to Hain Celestial for $120,000,000.
Prior to joining Avalon Natural Products, Morris was CEO of Mozart, Inc., a marketing communications and interactive design firm that specializes in the creation, branding and marketing of natural and organic products and complementary medicine. He has resumed his CEO status.
Mozart’s work includes strategy and positioning, branding and packaging, advertising and sales promotion, development of differentiating value- added marketing programs and creation of video and interactive web-based marketing.
Mozart has developed successful, award winning marketing solutions for the industry’s leading distributors: Tree of Life and United Natural Foods; for its largest retailers: Whole Foods, Bread & Circus and Mrs. Gooch’s, and for the industry’s leading food and supplement manufacturers: Horizon Organic Dairy, Smucker Quality Beverages, Woodstock Farms, Spectrum Organic, Organic Classics, Traditional Medicinals, KAL, Sundown-Rexall, Functional Products and others.
Morris has served on the Boards of Foods for Health, Traditional Medicinals and others and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Botanical Council.
A speaker or panelist at Natural Product Expos, OTA’s “ All Things Organic,” LOHAS and BioFach, he authored ” Creating Marketing Success For Natural and Organic Products in America” for Penton Media.
Morris has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Masters Degree in British and American Literature from NYU. He has been a Visiting Professor of Marketing at the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University.
Read the HerbalGram article about Morris.
Global VP of Quality Standards, Whole Foods Market
With over 35 years of experience in the natural and organic foods industry, Margaret Wittenberg joined Whole Foods Market in 1981 as one of the company's original team members. She was a pioneer of the company's legendary quality standards and developmental work, and, in her role as Global Vice President of Quality Standards since 1998, implemented the multi-stakeholder collaboration model that has become the company’s signature approach.
Throughout the years, Margaret has served on advisory panels for many key domestic and international organizations related to seafood sustainability, farm animal welfare, agricultural genetic engineering, and sustainable and organic agriculture, including the USDA National Organic Standards Board.
She currently serves on the board of directors for the American Botanical Council, The Organic Center, and the Whole Kids Foundation and is a member of the Marine Stewardship Council’s Stakeholder Council.
In 2005, Margaret received the Rachel Carson Award by the National Audubon Society for her 30+ years of work championing organic agriculture, sustainability and the environment. Likewise, she was inducted into the 2014 class of New Hope’s The Hall of Legends for her lifelong contributions advancing sustainability and global health. And in 2013 she was honored as one of the “9 Wonder Women of the Natural Industry.”
Margaret has also authored several books on the topics of exploring, preparing, and enjoying the spectrum of nutritious, great tasting foods, her most current being The Essential Good Food Guide, published by Ten Speed Press, released July 2013.
Founder and Executive Director,
American Botanical Council
(ex officio member)