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ABC's Celebration and Botanical Awards Banquet a Huge Success
ABC’s Celebration and Botanical Awards Banquet a Huge Success

The American Botanical Council recently hosted its first Sponsor Member appreciation and awards banquet, the American Botanical Celebration, during the Nutracon Conference and just prior to Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) conference and trade show in Anaheim, California. ABC attends NPEW each year. Since it is the largest annual gathering for the natural products and herbal community, Nutracon/NPEW conferences were the ideal setting for ABC’s first Celebration.

More than 230 people from across the natural products community and the world gathered on March 23, 2006, in the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim to honor key supporters of ABC and botanical excellence. Notable presentations were delivered by ABC Board of Trustee members Peggy Brevoort, James A. Duke, PhD, and Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD.

ABC invited and honored its Sponsor Members, who provide vital support to ABC. “We were gratified by the turnout and the enthusiasm expressed by everyone who participated,” said Peggy Brevoort, President of the ABC Board of Trustees. The event also honored the seven-member Board of Trustees (the governing body of ABC) and the 61-member Advisory Board who provide editorial and peer-review support. It was the first time that many of ABC’s academic, research, and editorial supporters mixed with ABC’s market and industry supporters at an ABC-sponsored national event.

Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director, echoed Brevoort’s enthusiasm about the event and said, “Considering the important role played by ABC over its 18-year history, often a role that is played behind the scenes, we are pleased to honor these many deserving individuals at a venue with such wide exposure as Nutracon, SupplyExpo, and the Natural Products Expo West.”

The Celebration was sponsored by Indena, KGK Synergize, New Hope Natural Media, Spectrum Organic Products, and Unigen Pharmaceuticals. It provided a venue for ABC’s diverse leaders to meet, recognize accomplishments, and look toward the future. The evening began with welcoming remarks from Brevoort, Blumenthal, and Karen Raterman representing New Hope Natural Media and Nutracon. Raterman surprised Duke and Farnsworth with Lifetime Achievement awards presented by New Hope Natural Media. Loren Israelsen of the LDI Group and President of the Utah Natural Products Alliance provided his view of the impact of ABC and Blumenthal. Wayne Silverman, PhD, ABC’s Chief Administrative Officer, served as the master of ceremonies and presented a visual overview of the history, programs, headquarters, and staff of ABC.

The first annual Botanical Excellence Awards were presented. The James A. Duke Botanical Literature Award was given to Simon Mills and Kerry Bone for the publication of the book The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety (Elsevier, 2005). The Norman R. Farnsworth Botanical Research Award was presented to Joseph M. Betz, PhD, for his work in promoting and developing validated analytical methods and reference standards to help ensure the quality of botanical ingredients and finished products.

All in attendance considered the evening a great success. “ABC has now made its presence known at a major national conference. We are proud of the contribution of our Sponsor Members, Board of Trustees, and Advisory Board, and the role that ABC plays in supporting education regarding the health benefits that can be gained from the rational uses of herbs and plant-based ingredients,” said Blumenthal. “We have demonstrated to the natural products community that ABC has an historic and future role to play in determining the direction of the health of our world,” Blumenthal concluded.

In another surprise presentation, Rory Mahony, President of Nature’s Way, a company which provided the initial support that launched ABC 18 years ago, requested time at the podium and presented Blumenthal with a special award for his 30 years of work for the herbal and dietary supplement community.

In response to the overwhelmingly positive response to the Celebration, ABC is planning another similar Celebration and Awards dinner for 2007. New Hope has already expressed an interest in making this an annual event, and positive responses from the attendees in the days following the event demonstrated significant support for continuing this event and for the work of ABC. “The event provided a reunion for those who pioneered the herbal movement, and it created a clearer view of the many roles played by ABC and the need for this work to continue into the future,” concluded Silverman.

– Aileen Truax