ABC Board of Trustees
Left to Right, top row - Peggy Brevoort, Neil Blomquist, Michael Balick; second row - Bernadette Marriott, Morris Shriftman, Margaret Wittenberg; third row - Bethany Davis, Holly Shimizu, Tom Newmark; bottom row - Steven Foster, Rick Kingston
Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.
Vice President and Chair, Research and Training Director and Philecology Curator, Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York
Dr. Michael J. Balick is an ethnobotanist with a specialty in medicinal and food plants and the role they play in traditional health care (ethnomedical) systems. Since the early 1970s he has worked with indigenous cultures around the world, studying how people interact with the plants in their environment and working towards conservation of biological and cultural diversity. He received his Ph.D. and A.M. in Biology from Harvard University. His undergraduate major was in horticulture and plant science, at the University of Delaware. He has worked at The New York Botanical Garden since 1980, and is currently Philecology Curator of Economic Botany and Director of the NYBG Institute of Economic Botany, and Vice President for Botanical Science. Current field projects regularly take him to the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and the island of Manhattan – where, in each of these places, he studies the use of plants by traditional cultures. He teaches ethnobotany at Columbia University and The City University of New York, and has authored, co-authored or edited 18 books and numerous scientific and popular articles. He frequently appears on television, radio and in print media, discussing the need for documenting the ancient wisdom of traditional cultures and keeping it in practice.
He has received numerous awards and honors for his scientific research and achievements. In 2009 he received the Distinguished Economic Botanist award from the Society for Economic Botany. In 2007 he received the Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Achievement from the Natural Products Association and was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation during 2005-2006. He is the recipient of the 2004 American Association for the Advancement of Science International Award for Scientific Cooperation (“For leadership in the field of ethnobotany and devotion to establishing international collaborations and institutions that work toward preserving traditional knowledge and respect for the values of local communities”). He received the Frontiers of Science Award from the Society of Cosmetics Chemists in 2001, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999, and received the E. K. Janaki Ammal Medal from the Society of Ethnobotanists in 1998 (“For his long and distinguished service to ethnobotany”). He and Dr. Hans T. Beck received the Oberly Award for bibliographic excellence in the field of agricultural sciences from the American Library Association for their book Useful Palms of The World: A Synoptic Bibliography in 1991. Dr. Balick is a former President of the Society for Economic Botany, an international organization devoted to furthering research in the study of the relationship between plants and people; has been a Visiting Fellow at Green College, Oxford University; and serves on the boards of numerous scientific and cultural organizations. In March of 2009 he was accorded the high title of Luhk En Kairoir Dolen Katau Nett, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, in recognition of his efforts in cultural and biodiversity conservation of that island.
Read the HerbalGram article about Michael.
View Michael's page on the New York Botanical Garden Web site.
Founder and President,
Sustainable Solutions Consulting Services
ABC Board Treasurer
Blomquist has over 40 years of hands-on success building brands and companies in the natural products industry. Neil has practical experience in retailing, distribution, brand marketing, product sourcing, product development and organizational management.
Founder and President of Sustainable Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in the development and marketing of sustainable business solutions for the natural products industry. (2006 to present)
Managing Director, Natural Habitats USA, Inc. – provides oversight of all business activities in the US for the Natural Habitats Group, www.natural-habitats.com.
Chief Operating Officer, Numi Tea, Inc. – oversight of Finance, Operations, IT and Customer Service for leading premium Organic and Fair Trade Tea Company based in Oakland, CA. (2009 to 2012; Senior Advisor, 2012 to 2014)
Former President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Spectrum Organic Products, Inc. (2002 to 2005) – the leading producer of natural and organic culinary and nutraceutical oils, condiments, and essential fatty acid supplement oils in North America. The company was sold to the Hain-Celestial Group in December of 2005. Blomquist oversaw the daily operation of the company and lead its double-digit annual growth in sales and profits.
Other positions held during Blomquist’s 16 year tenure at Spectrum include:
President of Consumer Brands - (2000 to 2002)
President and COO - (1994 to 2000)
Director of Sales and Marketing - (1989 to 1994)
Natural Foods Retailer and Distributor. Neil has extensive experience in natural product distribution and retailing. He served as Sales Manager of Fairhill Foods, a natural products distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before moving to California, Blomquist co-owned and operated a natural and specialty food retail store in Kalispell, Montana for 10 years.
Board of Directors, California Olive Oil Council (1995 to 2005)
Board of Directors, American Botanical Council (2006 to present)
Board of Directors, Living Harvest Conscious Nutrition (2006 to 2012)
Board of Directors, Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Social Finance (2007 to present)
Board of Directors, Nutiva, Inc. (2013 to present)
Board of Directors, Numi Tea, Inc. (2013 to present)
Neil served as Chair of the Organic Standards Subcommittee for Oils in the development of the Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Born in South Dakota, Blomquist received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management and economics from the University of South Dakota.
ABC Board Vice President
Peggy is the co-founder and former CEO of East Earth Herb in
Eugene, Oregon. She is the former President of the American Herbal Products Association, and has also served as a member of the boards at Biomed Comm Inc.; United Plant Savers; Bastyr University Board of Regents; the Corporate Alliance for Integrative Medicine, Inc.; and Citizens for Health. She was named 1990 Woman of the Year by the Association of Women in Natural Foods, and earned Natural Business Communication's 1999 Leadership in business Award. She was also a member of the first herbalist delegation to the People's Republic of China in 1988. Read the HerbalGram article about Peggy.
Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs for MegaFood
Bethany is the President for the Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, a group of supplement and ingredient companies that united to support a non-GMO and sustainable supply chain. In addition to her service on the Board of Trustees for the American Botanical Council, she is also a member of the American Herbal Products Association Board of Trustees.
Bethany is deeply engaged with agricultural issues including regenerative agricultural practices, sustainability, and transparency as they relate to the supplement industry.
She holds a Masters of Science in Regulatory Affairs and Health Policy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, MA and is a certified coach with the Conscious Leadership Group.
Steven Foster Group, Inc.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Steven Foster began his career, at age 17, at the Herb Department of the Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Shaker Community. He is the author of over 900 photo-illustrated articles and is well known for his photography. Steven is also the author of 15 books, including three Peterson Field Guides. He lives in the Ozarks. Foster serves as the president of the Steven Foster Group, Inc., providing consulting, editorial and stock photography services. Read the HerbalGram article about Steven.
Visit Steven Foster’s website.
Rick Kingston, PharmD
Co-founder and President, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs/Sr. Clinical Toxicologist
SafetyCall International, PLLC & Pet Poison Helpline;
Clinical Professor of Pharmacy
College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota;
National Center for Natural Product Research (NCNPR)
College of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi
ABC Board Chair
Dr. Rick Kingston is the co-founder and president of regulatory and scientific affairs at SafetyCall International, a company that specializes in providing adverse event management, regulatory compliance, postmarket surveillance and product safety support for consumer product manufacturers. He also maintains an active academic career that spans more than 35 years at the University of Minnesota and is an adjunct professor at the National Center for Natural Product Research (NCNPR), an FDA Center of Excellence at the University of Mississippi College of Pharmacy.
Kingston received his Bachelor of Sciences degree in pharmacy at the University of New Mexico and Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. He subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical toxicology and pharmacokinetics. He was the co-founder and managing director of the Minnesota Poison Control system and its regional poison control center where he served for 17 years.
He has published and presented extensively in the field of clinical toxicology and regulatory policy, and serves on numerous scientific panels, advisory boards and nonprofit professional organization scientific committees advising on issues of product stewardship, science and safety. He has become a national expert in the area of adverse event pharmacovigilance with special focus and expertise in the area of dietary supplement safety.
Bernadette M. Marriott, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine and Military Division, Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina
Dr. Marriott has over 40 years of experience in the fields of nutrition, psychology, and comparative medicine with expertise in diet, nutrition and chronic disease. Dr. Marriott has worked in scientific and administrative settings in the federal government, universities, research institutes, and foundations. She served as the Deputy Director of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), founding director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH, Vice Provost and Graduate Dean at Northern Arizona University, Vice President at RTI International, the Burroughs Welcome Fund, and the Samueli Institute and Principal Associate at Abt Associates. Bernadette’s research has focused on both human and animal nutrition and related behavior. Her most recent large-scale human nutrition clinical studies are concentrated on diet and dietary supplement use among military personnel. Dr. Marriott’s nutritional epidemiology research centers around dietary sugars. Her animal research focuses on the identification of the dietary patterns and nutrient analysis of the plants consumed by monkey troops in natural habitats in Nepal and Puerto Rico. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition, a member of the FNB, and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Nutrient Database Conference. Dr. Marriott has a B.Sc. in biochemistry/immunology from Bucknell University, a Ph.D. in psychology from King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and postgraduate training in trace mineral nutrition, comparative medicine, and advanced statistics.
Thomas M. Newmark
Owner, Finca Luna Nueva Lodge
San Isidro de Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica
Newmark brings a deep devotion to environmentalism, conservation, and organic herb production to the ABC Board of Trustees, along with more than a decade of experience within the regulatory environments of the natural products industry.
After graduating from Washington University in 1973, Newmark studied political science at Yale for one semester and then left to study Transcendental Meditation, which had a profound and lasting impact on his life and career. He then returned to Washington University for a law degree and worked as an attorney for many years, including the representation of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Natural Law Party and Ross Perot’s Reform Party bid to be included in the 1996 presidential debates.
A self-described “recovering attorney,” Newmark came to New Chapter in 1999 after serving as a legal consultant to his college friend and New Chapter co-founder Paul Schulick. Newmark started off at the company as president, and, over the next 13 years, held several additional titles including co-CEO, CEO, and chairman. Newmark describes Schulick as his “first and most important teacher with respect to herbal medicine.” Together they co-authored Beyond Aspirin (Holm Press, 2000) and The Life Bridge (Herbal Free Press, 2002), and created the current top-selling combination dietary supplement in the United States, Zyflamend®, a multi-herbal extract formulation to promote healthy inflammation response that has been researched in laboratory studies and a Phase I clinical trial.
Newmark remains a tireless activist for organic and non-GMO causes, authoring editorial articles and participating in public-speaking events. He is co-owner of Finca Luna Nueva, a biodynamic and organic herb farm in Costa Rica that provides tropical-grown botanicals for some of New Chapter’s products, and he also co-founded Semillas Sagradas, a botanical sanctuary that preserves traditional and medicinal plants and the knowledge surrounding their important uses. Semillas Sagradas, which is on the Luna Nueva farm, was the first installment in what has grown into a worldwide network of approximately 16 similar projects under the nonprofit organization Sacred Seeds, of which Newmark is president and chair of the board.
In addition to his new position on ABC’s Board of Trustees, Newmark recently joined the natural products merchant banker 6Pacific as chairman, a position in which he hopes to assist natural products companies in achieving greater commercial success. He also serves on the boards of Greenpeace, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center, and Friends of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Read the HerbalGram article about Tom.
Consultant, Writer, and Lecturer
Former Executive Director, US Botanic Garden
First Curator, The National Herb Garden
Glen Echo, Maryland
Holly H. Shimizu is a nationally recognized horticulturist with a rich background in public gardens, herbs, and plant conservation. After working in numerous gardens in England, Germany, Holland, and Belgium, Holly was the first Curator of the National Herb Garden at the US National Arboretum in Washington, DC. Most recently, Holly was the Executive Director of the US Botanic Garden, on the National Mall, where she was responsible for all aspects of running the Garden which experienced a renaissance during her leadership.
She has degrees in horticulture from Temple University, Ambler Campus, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Maryland where she conducted research in the area of plant roots. In 2009, Holly received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland. Throughout her career, Holly has received many awards including the prestigious Thomas Roland Medal for outstanding contributions to horticultural education from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, as well as the Professional Award for Outstanding Public Garden Director from the American Horticultural Society. She has written for numerous publications, books, and has been an international flower show judge. Holly is an Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America and has served with a range of organizations including Longwood Gardens, American Public Garden Association, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and many more — she is dedicated to heightening an awareness and love of plants through her work.
Currently, Holly is on the Advisory Council for Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Garden, part of the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica, is on the Advisory Board of the Southern Delaware Botanical Garden, and is lecturing, writing, and leading horticultural trips internationally. Her husband Osamu is a Garden Designer that she met while working in Europe. They live in Glen Echo, Maryland with their naughty dog where they enjoy their sanctuary garden near the Potomac River. In addition, they are creating a series of herb gardens around their 1730 house in Lewes, Delaware.
Retired, Natural & Organic Foods Industry
Margaret’s career in the natural and organic foods industry began in 1977 with Sunseed Natural Foods in Wisconsin, co-owned with her husband, Terry. She was hired by Whole Foods Market in 1981 as one of the Company’s original team members and retired in 2016 after many years in her position as Global Vice President of Quality Standards.
Currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Botanical Council, Margaret also served on advisory panels and boards of trustees throughout her career for many key domestic and international organizations related to seafood sustainability, farm animal welfare, agricultural genetic engineering, and both sustainable and organic agriculture, including the USDA National Organic Standards Board.
In 2005, Margaret received the Rachel Carson Award by the National Audubon Society for her 30+ years of work championing organic agriculture, sustainability and the environment. In 2014 she was inducted into New Hope Natural Media’s Hall of, Legends for her lifelong contributions advancing sustainability and global health. Honored in 2013 by Women in Naturals as one of the “9 Wonder Women of the Natural Industry”, she was also hailed in 2014 as one of “The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink” by Fortune and Food & Wine.
Margaret also authored many comprehensive cooking reference books incorporating natural foods, sustainability, and wellness. Her most current, published by Ten Speed Press in 2013, is The Essential Good Food Guide: The Complete Resource for Buying and Using Whole Grains and Specialty Flours, Heirloom Fruit and Vegetables, Meat and Poultry, Seafood, and More.
Founder and Executive Director,
American Botanical Council
(ex officio member)