April Message from the Board: Jackson Bagley-Bonner

April 6th 2021

Greetings fellow Provenderites,

Spring has Sprung (at least in the southern Willamette valley) and a new period of transition is upon all of us, one way or another. These times of change and renewal often come with introspection and looking for the “why” both personally and professionally for me.  When thinking about what I wanted to cover in my “message from the board” I went back and forth on topics and how many nuts and bolts to include about our work. I kept ending up at why we tighten nuts and bolts for Provender and our beautiful PNW natural products machine. We all generally agree on several ideals and concepts that bind us as an industry and organization, but each journey here was unique.

Anyone who loves and lives their craft has had perfect moments where a million moving parts come together at the right time and place. These rare moments are what call us to work in the industry and be a part of Provender. When the well occasionally runs dry from the monotony of bolt turning, these moments are the precious drips at the bottom that can keep us motivated and (mostly) happy to keep turning away.

My first time walking into a food co-op in rural Ohio, a summer working at a permaculture farm in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains and my first Provender conference are my archetype “why” moments. They ultimately led me to be writing this very message. These are the moments I turn to like the North star when I don’t see a way to proceed or find myself looking for answers regarding my work.

Provender has been that moment for so many of us in the natural products industry. It’s an opportunity to recreate those special moments every year. It’s something I could go on about forever…but also something hard to put into words. Good food, good people and good intentions coming together have a way of making that happen.

I’d like to challenge all of you to think about your “ah hah” moments and consider them when the monotony of your work becomes a challenge. I’d also love to hear about every “ah-hah” moment of Provender members please reach out and share if you’re inclined.

Jackson Bagley-Bonner
Board of Directors member, Provender Alliance

Jackson’s first time in a natural food store was as a kid at the tiny co-op his parents were members of in rural Ohio. The spicy, earthy, unique smell captivated him, as it was unlike any other store he’d experienced. Years later, Jackson found himself at the very beginning of the organic supply chain, living on a small farm in North Carolina planting seeds and igniting his passion for responsibly cultivated foods. During the past 10 years, he’s moved through the supply chain much like a product. From farms and fertilizer to warehouses and retailers. Now he’s selling delicious ingredients that end up in CPG’s, bulk bins, and dishes at James Beard-nominated restaurants. At his first Provender conference in 2018, he felt the same spark of joy from the first natural food store and knew he was home. Today he’s honored to be working with such a great organization full of amazing people.