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Loren Israelsen
President, United Natural Products Alliance
January 19, 2022:

A few days ago, an old friend, Steven Foster, passed away. This was unexpected and a great personal sorrow for me. I met Steven in the early 1980s when I was at Nature's Way. Steven became a consultant to the company and a mentor to me. Through his guiding hand, I found myself warmly received by the Sabbath Day Lake Shaker community in Maine. Steven had worked among the Shakers for a number of years, which is where he was first introduced to herbs. The Shakers have an extraordinary history as skilled herbalists from the very beginnings of American history.

A visiting Chinese professional and scholar was our houseguest for three months, thanks to Steven, who had built a close relationship and was able to bring this distinguished, tall, elegant man to the U.S. as a visiting scholar for Nature's Way. He was also one of the last in a long line of pharmacists to the emperors of China.

Steven was a superb photographer. Like many, I was taken by the beauty of his botanical images, so I bought the same camera as Steven and thought I would try to give it a go. Well, realization is the ego's greatest disappointment. A camera does not make a photographer. It's a lot harder than it looks.

He spoke and wrote in a very deliberate and precise manner. It was easy to recognize his writing style in just the first few sentences of anything he wrote. He was self-taught. An autodidact of the first order.

Many of you never had the chance to meet him, but whenever you see his photographs or read one of his books or articles, you are in the presence of Steven Foster.