Stonyfield Farm Co-Founder Comes to Keene

Stonyfield Farm co-founder and CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg has written a new book titled Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World. Antioch New England’s Green MBA students invited Gary to visit Keene and speak about the role he feels business needs to play in saving the planet.

Nearly 150 people came to Keene Public Library’s Heberton Hall to hear Gary speak on Saturday March 8th. He discussed the damage “business-as-usual” is causing to the planet and his inspiration to become an entrepreneur and show that businesses can be financially successful while operating in a manner that is less detrimental to the natural resources on which we all depend. Stonyfield Farm has won many national awards for it its practices in promoting sustainable, organic farming; minimizing solid waste; fighting climate change; reducing packaging; conserving energy and giving back to schools and communities. Gary happily noted that all of these activities have a positive effect on the economic bottom line, supporting the premise that environmental stewardship and financial success are not mutually exclusive.

Gary did acknowledge that even responsible companies like Stonyfield pollute and cause some amount of environmental degradation. But it’s the responsible companies that make the effort to reduce their social and environmental footprint and continually strive to decrease their resource use. While some are discouraged by their perception of slow action on the part of business, Gary suggested that business is an important option for creating the change that is needed, because business can respond quickly to challenges and has the power to influence policy direction.

Prior to the public event Gary sat for dinner at the Library with over 30 Antioch O&M students and instructors, giving them an exciting opportunity to have a conversation with a leader in the sustainable business movement.

At the end of the evening the charismatic Hirshberg stayed to chat and sign copies of Stirring it Up. The books were available for sale at the event by ANE’s O&M student group Net Impact, thanks to a generous donation from Toadstool Bookshop.

The event was co-sponsored by Antioch New England University, The Keene Public Library, Toadstool Bookshop, The Keene Sentinel and Net Impact-Antioch New England.

by David Morrill and Anne Nordstrom, current Green MBA students