Mr. Besancon brings more than 40 years of hands-on experience in the natural/organic food and grocery sector, two decades of which he spent at the global level of Whole Foods Market (WFM). “The importance of a fair wage and safe working conditions for farm workers has been part of my personal mission for over 40 years,” said Mr. Besancon. “I am pleased that in this new stage of life I will be able to further that mission as a Board Member of Fair Trade USA.”
Throughout his career, Mr. Besancon worked with vendors across the globe to dramatically shift traditional retail approaches to selling food. By supporting the purchase of high quality products, he was able to encourage customers to connect not just to the food they buy, but also the people who produce it, and the land it’s grown on. In the grocery sector, Michael helped fuel the unprecedented mainstream expansion of the national and worldwide organic food movements that have changed the way millions of people eat, how food is grown, and how the entire grocery industry sells natural, non-GMO and organic food.
Besancon also co-founded a number of companies, including: Follow Your Heart Natural Foods Store, one of the very first and longest continuously operated natural food retail stores in the United States; Naturally Fast, a chain of Natural Food fast food restaurants in Southern California; and B & W Natural Food Brokerage, a national food brokerage group growing that represented many of the leading vendors in the natural and organic food industry.
“The insights and integrity of our distinguished Board of Directors are essential for developing an effective strategic vision and maintaining accountability to our mission,” said Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA.”Michael’s pioneering experience in bringing traceability and sustainability to the forefront of grocery shelves will be invaluable in our journey to dramatically increase the impact and scale of our model.”