Drew D. Goodman: Organic farming innovator

February 22, 2011

By Andrea Cohen 

Drew Goodman
Drew and Myra Goodman, founders of Earthbound Farm. (Photograph by r.r. jones)

Starting in 1984 with a 2.5-acre raspberry farm in Carmel Valley, Drew Goodman and his wife, Myra, have built their pioneering company, Earthbound Farm, into the world's largest grower of organic produce. Goodman, a '83 College Eight, environmental studies/environmental design graduate, is co-founder of this innovative company.

Undaunted by those who said it couldn't be done, in 1986 they became the first company to successfully market prewashed, packaged greens for retail sale, starting a salad revolution and introducing organic produce to big-name retailers including Costco, Walmart, Safeway, and Albertsons. Earthbound Farm now produces more than 100 varieties of certified organic salads, fruits, and vegetables with 150 growers farming 35,000 acres. Their organic growing methods avoid the use of more than 11 million pounds of synthetic chemicals annually.

Goodman, who worked in the field every day until the mid-1990s, says, "We never intended to have a business on this scale—it just evolved, and we grew with it. Our success shows that organic farming is viable on a large scale."

He adds that UCSC provided the ideal education for an innovator because it offered so many opportunities to try new things. "You can't be afraid to fail—you learn by experimenting and succeeding and/or failing. Education is about being taught how to think, rather than how to do something."

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