The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014 AHPA Awards for individuals and companies making substantive, positive contributions to the herbal products industry.
The 2014 AHPA Awards will be presented during AHPA's annual Member Meeting and Breakfast on March 6 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.
"AHPA honors and thanks these herbal industry leaders for their significant contributions that have elevated and strengthened the industry," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "These individuals and companies have demonstrated their dedication to excellence and their collective actions exemplify the herbal products industry's commitment to meeting the growing demand for high-quality products and accurate information."
Daniel Gagnon, owner of Herbs, Etc., was awarded the AHPA Herbal Hero Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to AHPA committees and initiatives.
A practicing herbalist since 1976, Gagnon's passion for helping others was born out of his own childhood health problems, which ultimately put him on the path to becoming an herbalist. He is an active AHPA member who serves on the AHPA Board of Trustees and several AHPA committees. His work as a member of the Expert Advisory Council for the AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition is another example of his special efforts. Throughout his career, Gagnon has continually worked to educate the public and the medical profession about the practical, healing applications of herbal medicine.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps was awarded the AHPA Herbal Industry Leader Award for taking steps above and beyond normal business practices to advance the herbal products industry. Dr. Bonner's is a pioneer of certified organic personal care products and socially responsible business practices. The company strives to honor its heritage of progressive business practices and devotes a significant portion of profits to worthwhile causes and charities worldwide.
Also known as the "fighting soap company," Dr. Bonner's regularly puts its money where its mouth is to advocate causes that are important to the industry. The company has been a vocal proponent of organic integrity in personal care, re-commercialization of industrial hemp in the U.S. and consumers' right to know what's in their food by advocating for the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Lyle Craker, PhD, was awarded the AHPA Herbal Insight Award in recognition of his efforts to significantly increase and further knowledge and understanding of botanicals and their uses.
Dr. Craker has been a researcher in the field of medicinal plants for more than 30 years and is currently a professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and executive editor of the Journal of Medicinally Active Plants. He serves on the board of the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals and is also a member of the Expert Advisory Council for the AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition where he has made significant contributions to strengthen this publication. Dr. Craker is also well known for proposing that medical grade marijuana be available for scientific studies into its possible health benefits. Since 2005, he has been trying to obtain a permit from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to grow marijuana for research purposes.
Six members of the VIRGO executive team were awarded a special AHPA Visionary Award for supporting and promoting the industry's responsible growth through education. For more than 15 years, these industry stalwarts have created forums for the industry and provided a platform for emerging issues. VIRGO also regularly partners with industry trade associations to provide guidance and leadership. The VIRGO awardees are Heather Granato (vice president of content for VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network); Dana Hicks (senior vice president and director of SupplySide); Natasha Weaver, J.D. (event manager and education manager in VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network); Sandy Almendarez (editor in chief of Natural Products INSIDER); John Siefert (CEO); and Jon Benninger (vice president of VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network).