Michael E. Menes, Ph.D.
VP Food Safety & Technology, True Organic Products, Inc.
For over 12 years, Mike Menes has been on a mission to manufacture fertilizers that makes a difference in the way food is grown that improves the plant, the people and the planet. With a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Louisville, Mike’s formative years after graduate school were spent synthesizing anti-cancer drugs. When he moved to Fresno, California, Mike transitioned to food safety and quality lab work. A childhood spent with his hands in the dirt in his family’s small Chicago backyard garden, Mike’s passion for growing food and organic agriculture sprung to life.
Mike is driven by his pursuit of technological improvements that help prevent the introduction of human pathogens while also maintaining the organic integrity in organic fertilizers – one of the reasons his company is a worldwide leader in organic, pathogen-free soil amendments for commercial farms, and now, home gardens. He is inspired by his predecessors in the organic movement who went against the grain of the agricultural industry, its suppliers and policy makers. To Mike, the history of organic farming, the adversity it has faced and the continuous push back against the status quo is a testament to the human spirit. The husband and father of three is not only moved by his daily work at True Organic, but believes it has the power to affect far more than the average consumer may expect from a fertilizer.
“What we do could help with climate change, prevent food safety outbreaks, improve the soil, improve the environment and protect the organic consumer,” Mike says.
During his time as vice president of Food Safety and Technology at True Organic, Mike has directed the implementation of their ISO 22000 accredited food safety system for organic fertilizers. He has been an advocate for the organic trade with a goal of protecting the USDA Organic Seal. Mike is a dedicated board member of the Organic Trade Association and holds a seat on the Center for Produce Safety’s technical committee. Also, he has occupied the technical seat on California’s Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC) and participated on numerous industry task forces and expert panels. In addition to his career, the California resident loves woodworking, barbecue, paddle boarding and – above all else – family.