Gary Hirshberg is the husband of freelance writer Meg Hirshberg and the father of three yogurt eaters. He is Chairman, President, and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer and the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion Books, 2008). Gary is a frequent speaker on topics including sustainability, climate change, the profitability of green and socially responsible business, organic agriculture, and sustainable economic development.
Since 1983, Gary has overseen Stonyfield’s phenomenal growth, from its infancy as a seven-cow organic farming school to its current $330 million in annual sales. Stonyfield has enjoyed a compounded annual growth rate of over 24% for more than eighteen years, by consistently producing great-tasting products and using innovative marketing techniques that blend the company’s social, environmental, and financial missions. In 2001, Stonyfield Farm entered into a partnership with Groupe Danone, and in 2005, Gary was named managing director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between the two firms with brands in Canada, Ireland, and France.
Previously, he directed the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. Before that, Gary had served as executive director of The New Alchemy Institute- a research and education center dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture, and renewable energy. Prior positions include serving as a water-pumping windmill specialist and an environmental education director with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He also authored books on wind-power and organic gardening.
A New Hampshire native, Gary was one of the first graduates of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and has received eight honorary doctorates and was named a Gordon Grand Fellow at Yale University.
Gary has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership, including Global Green USA’s “1999 Green Cross Millennium Award for Corporate Environmental Leadership.“He was named “Business Leader of the Year” by Business NH Magazine and “New Hampshire’s 1998 Small Business Person of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration. More recently, 2009 was a year of big wins as Gary was named one of “America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” by Business Week magazine, Stonyfield was chosen “Business of the Year -Manufacturing “by Business NH magazine and Stonyfield won an EPA Clean Air Excellence award. Gary also is featured in 2009’s most successful documentary,“Food, Inc.”
Gary serves on several corporate and non-profit boards including Applegate Farms, the Dannon Company, Honest Tea, Peak Organic Brewing Company, The Full Yield, Climate Counts, Stonyfield Europe, Ltd, Glenisk, Ltd and the Danone Communities Fund. He is the chairman and co-founder of O’Naturals, a natural fast food restaurant company. He served on the advisory panel for Newsweek magazine’s Global Environmental Leadership Conference and as an Advisor to Renewal Partners LLC, Solera Capital, the Heinz Center Leadership Summit and the Corporate Ecoforum.
He is the head coach of a Girls U17 travel soccer team and the Assistant Coach of the Concord (NH) High School girls varsity tennis team, both of which keep him humble and certain that he still has much to learn.