Welcome to the 2011 edition of the WholeFoods Who’s Who of Manufacturers and Suppliers, the only reference tool of its kind in the natural products industry. On our eDirectory, you will find listings of hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals who work for these companies. Using this directory, you’ll be able to track down company names when you know the person you are looking for or vice versa.

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A new court case involving the food industry has got some people thinking we’ve got another petty lawsuit on the table. But, I’m wondering, should this one have all of us worried?

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a science whiz, a bookworm or a history buff. If you’re a retailer, you’ve got to be a math person. Or possibly even a numbers addict—no matter how much you despised algebra in high school.

Think about it. How many times per month do you make sure your books are in order? Or that your part-timers’ hours add up properly? Or that the quantities of your latest shipments are perfect?

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Whenever I hear the New Jersey Lottery slogan, “Give your dreams a chance,” I can’t help but imagine what I would do if I won the big jackpot. I have a few earmarks nailed down: the local animal rescue center, college funds for my son and nieces, and my county’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen. “Who else could really use a handout?” I always find myself asking. Recently, I surprised myself with a name that came to mind: our very own U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Enough is enough, already, with the technological advances. Let me rephrase that: Enough with the technological advances that make us lazy and blunt our mental acuity. Hear me out on this one before you throw your iPad at me. Gadgets that make life more efficient or safer or greener can be things of wonder. But, there are times when a step forward in technology means a step backward in our understanding of how things work.

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The universe enjoys a complicated intersection of different types of people. We’ve got the outdoorsy folks, the mall rats, the weekend warriors, the couch potatoes and everything in between. After all, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Perhaps one group of people to which we as an industry should pay more attention is the “all-or-nothing crowd.”

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If you’ve ever watched a kids’ dodge ball game, you’ve probably seen the following unfold before you: one unlucky guy or gal is left standing to face, say, five or six aggressive players from the other side. Hmm. Attacks from all sides? Fending for survival? Sound familiar?

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Many shoppers are striving to lead healthier lives. A trip down a crowded grocery aisle will verify that more and more consumers are reading food labels in an effort to avoid foods that are high in sodium, unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates. But what happens when the labels of not-so-great foods fight back?

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Farming is a wonderful life lesson. With a little care and patience, something that starts out as small and seemingly insignificant as a seed can flourish into a beautiful plant with the capability of nourishing others. It’s also a great example of garbage in, garbage out. Try growing a great vegetable garden next summer with nutrient-deficient soil and waste water. Not easy, right?

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Unless you’re Kreskin (or you don’t mind looking foolish), don’t go on record confidently predicting the outcome of a court case before the decision is handed down. Same thing goes for horseracing, Super Bowl match-ups or roulette. And based on recent events, Institute of Medicine decisions should be added to the list.

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