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September 24, 2008

Science Nature Art People!—an exclusive gathering of Natural Products Tycoons.

Snap! This is where I was last night—I popped in just to say hello (we’re still on deadline, so I didn’t have time to hang out) to a few pals and wound up hanging out for 4 hours, schmoozing and hollering and getting amazing advice and having fun with the likes of John Mackey (who didn’t remember me after our sit down at his Boulder home a few years back), Steve Demos (I’d been editing his interview in our upcomin’, last issue all afternoon, so it was refreshing to see him in the flesh), Mark Retzloff (who came up and said he was happy to help out with the class I’m teaching at Naropa), Hass Assan, John Perkins (who didn’t remember me after our way-back-when feature interview, until I reminded him that we’d sat behind an historic cafe with 150 folks…he still hadn’t seen the interview in print, web or video), Dan Montgomery (we discussed Naropa’s recent challenges), Daniel Pinchbeck, Justin of Justin’s Nut Butter (his eco nut butter is going into Starbucks, which is huge for him after years of making the stuff himself with almost no staff or money…but a bit of a dilemma bc the one-time use packets are non-recyclable; I advised that he put a line on the packets asking folks for suggestions on what to do with ’em, as does Clif and Larabar; he said cool idea but peanut butter packages are kinda ruined ’cause it’s hard to get the oil off of ’em) a Guayaki founder, the founders of Sambazon, Jurriaan Kamp (ed-in-chief of ODE magazine, who said I shouldn’t quit publishing the growing magazine and switch to web 100%, but rather get investment), Stephanie Bernstein (who thought our transition to web was good, that elephant was launching me, I’d found my voice…all very sweet coming from her), Joshua Onysko…four hours worth of old friends and new contacts. I’ll be video interviewing folks today with the Organic Center. Check out the list of speakers here.

At one point I was talking with Alton Johnson of Bossa Nova Acai, who I recently interviewed at LOHAS, and he intro’d me to his bidness partner, Palo, an unassuming cool veteran of past SNAP!s. I asked him what he thought of SNAP! this year as opposed to years past, and in comparison with LOHAS, and he happened to mention that his father’d nearly come that year. Oh yeah, what’s your father do? Oh, he founded this company back in the day, Erewhon…

Erewhon, Erewhon…sounds familiar. Suddenly it hit me. Boston. I looked down to Palo’s $2,000 (or whatever; it costs a lot to go to SNAP! for non-press) name tag for the first time. And his last name was Hawken. As in son of…Paul Hawken. I laughed, and told him to be sure to not view my conversation with Hawken, where I mentioned looking forward to meeting Paul’s model/green mover/shaker daughter.

Referenced above, this was a Natural Products Tycoons panel from one of elephant journal’s first public ‘elevision’ talk shows—I was (and still am, I’m sure) rough around the edges, but the principals have some great stuff to say:

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