Think Advisory Team (Quality and Standards)
Joe Dickson is a 20-year veteran of the natural and organic products industry and a leading advocate for organic agriculture and integrity in food labeling. He is currently Co-Founder and Head of Quality Standards and Policy at Merryfield, Inc., a new company developing a tool that will make it easier for purpose-driven modern consumers to connect with better products and brands.
From 2004 to 2018, Joe served in a number of roles at Whole Foods Market, ultimately as Director of Quality Standards. He led the team responsible for developing and maintaining standards for the products sold in its stores, and steering the company’s work on food integrity and agricultural policy issues. Joe was instrumental in developing and maintaining the company’s status as the first national certified organic retailer, and in developing and launching numerous company standards programs, including Premium Body Care standard for personal care products, Eco-Scale standards for cleaning products, strict requirements for organic personal care products, and the company’s industry-leading standards for egg production. Joe led the development of the company’s GMO Labeling policy and served as a founding board member of The Non-GMO Project from 2007 to 2011.
Joe is also a leading expert in organic and sustainable agriculture systems and certification programs. From 2010-2015 he was appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to serve as the sole retail member of the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the USDA on organic agricultural standards and practices. He also served on the Texas Department of Agriculture Organic Industry Advisory Board from 2008 to 2015, and has served as a Trustee of The Organic Center since 2017.
A native New Englander, Joe first fell in love with organic and sustainable agriculture while he was an undergrad in New York State’s Hudson Valley, where he earned a BA in Cognitive Science from Vassar College. He lives on a ranch in Bastrop County, Texas where he and his husband raise goats and chickens, grow vegetables and manage the property as a songbird and wildlife sanctuary.