394: Tonya Antle on the Organic Grower Summit.

Propelling organic produce from fringe to mainstream.

Tonya grew up on her family’s table grape and citrus farm in Delāaaano, California. From being a vice president of organic sales to consulting about organic ag investments, she has been a driving force in organic farming for more than 30 years, and has received several awards recognizing her work in the ag industry.

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Currently, she is an adjunct professor of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Marketing at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a guest lecturer at both Hartnell Junior College and California State University Monterey Bay, and she is the Co-founder and Executive Vice President of the Organic Produce Network (OPN), which launched in January 2017.  

In This Podcast:

The story of how organic produce and food became mainstream in our grocery stores is shared by Tonya Antle who was actively driving this change before most of us even knew we needed it.  She found her passion in the early stages of the organic movement and helped propel it across the nation.  Now there is a new focus with the Organic Grower Summit happening in December, and she shares some very useful tips as a highlight of what will be available then.


Listen in and learn about:

    • Was a farmer’s daughter and grew up on a grape vineyard
    • Went away to get her communication degree expecting to come back
    • Started working for Frieda’s specialty produce
    • Began introducing organic produce to North America
    • Some of the early clients that opened their stores to organic
    • An amazing history of how organic produce gained traction in mainstream grocery stores
    • How Earthbound Farms started as a 2.5-acre berry farm with two young novice farmers
    • Taking some time off to be a volunteer
    • Starting the Organic Produce Network to help inspire on the value of organics
    • Taking the opportunity to fill a need in the ag industry
    • More about the 2nd Annual Organic Growers Summit and who needs to go
    • A full course of topics that will be covered to help organic growers in their sessions
    • A tip on how to get your small farm produce right into local grocery stores and markets
    • Several great suggestions on how to start CSA and marketing your produce

As well as:

Her failure – Taking on so much and managing career and family

Her success – Her children! And helping make organics be available to everyone

Her drive – Her passion for the organic movement – she truly loves what she does

Her advice – look outwardly to the ultimate consumer of your products, AND there is no story more powerful than the story of the farmer

Tonya’s Book recommendations: 

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner

How to reach Tonya:          

Websites: www.organicgrowersummit.com and



Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a small business.

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