John Foraker, leader of trailblazing East Bay organic foods company Annie’s Homegrown for 17 years and now co-founder of the children’s food startup Once Upon a Farm, is set to be the keynote speaker at the rescheduled 2017 North Coast Specialty Food and Beverage Industry Conference in Santa Rosa on Jan. 31.
The conference, originally scheduled just days after the North Bay wildfires, is co-hosted by the Business Journal and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Also keynoting the 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. conference at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park is Carlotta Mast, executive director of content and insights for New Hope Natural Media in Boulder, Colo. Mast is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on natural and organic food trends.
Mast is also the board president of the highly successful natural products industry group, Naturally Boulder.
Other speakers include:
• Xavier Unkovic, recently named global president of family owned Amy’s Kitchen, Petaluma
• Cathryn Couch, executive director, Ceres Community Project, Sebastopol, a nonprofit that provides healthy meals to the critically ill and empowers youth to cook them
Foraker led Berkeley-based Annie’s through the 2014 acquisition by General Mills for $820 million and was president until stepping down in the middle of this year. At Once Upon a Farm, Foraker says he and his fellow co-founders Jennifer Garner, Ari Raz, and Cassandra Curtis, are building “a purpose-driven organic food business focused on providing improved nutrition to kids everywhere.
“Our mission is to nurture our children, each other, and the earth in order to pass along a healthier and happier world for the next generation,” he wrote.
Registration is $70 a person or $715 for a table of 10. To register, call 707-521-5264 or register online starting in mid-December.