Andrew Gunther remembered as a sustainable farming pioneer and visionary leader

Sustainable farming leader, advocate and pioneering farmer Andrew Gunther passed away on February 19, 2021 at the age of 57. Gunther was the Executive Director of the global nonprofit certifier A Greener World (AGW) for over a decade, and a long-standing advocate for sustainability and transparency in the food system.

Working with over 6,000 farms managing more than 3 million acres across the world, Gunther’s expertise and relentless hard work drove unprecedented program growth at A Greener World. Consumer Reports rated the nonprofit certifier’s flagship certification, Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, as the only “highly meaningful” food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability, while a recent report from the influential Hartman Group, a leading food and beverage market research company, acknowledged the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW label as having the highest impact on consumer purchasing behavior of any food label.

Under Gunther’s leadership, AGW expanded to offer five of the world’s most trusted and transparent food labels and services to farmers, ranchers and food businesses around the globe, with certified farming and food businesses now operating in Ireland, Europe, the United States, Canada, Central America and South Africa. Gunther’s lifelong experience and passion for supporting and empowering farmers — always striving to achieve a more transparent, sustainable and just food system — made him a true leader, expert, mentor and friend to many.

Prior to his work with AGW, Gunther and his wife Tracy, with their family, pioneered the world’s first organic poultry hatchery for chickens in the United Kingdom. He also developed extensive retail and supply chain expertise as Senior Global Animal Compassionate Product Procurement and Development Specialist for Whole Foods Market, where he led the team that designed and launched the company’s five-step welfare program in the United Kingdom.

An expert in his field, Gunther was a regular go-to for journalists on food and farming news and a frequent contributor to Zester Daily, Huffington Post and Medium. He was an eloquent and sought-after speaker and spoke at the national level on topics of food and farming, including TEDx and at countless conferences, lectures and symposiums. Gunther was also a member of the U.S. delegation for the development of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards technical specifications for animal welfare.

Most recently, Gunther led the creation and launch of AGW’s newest label, Certified Regenerative by A Greener World, a whole-farm assurance of sustainability, measuring benefits for soil, water, air, biodiversity, infrastructure, animal welfare and social responsibility. Per his wishes, Gunther is succeeded in his role at A Greener World by Emily Moose, former Director of Communications and Outreach and close colleague for over a decade.

Emily Moose, A Greener World’s acting Executive Director says,

“This sudden, tragic loss is a devasting one for the Gunther family, the AGW team, and everyone who knew and loved Andrew. While his passing leaves our hearts heavy, we know that he would want us to keep the ship sailing in the same direction and with even more speed.

Andrew was above all a friend to farmers. His leadership inspired positive and meaningful change, offering an uncompromising vision of what is possible in food and farming. He believed that we can — and must — farm in a way that doesn’t ‘cost the earth’ and was dedicated to demonstrating that every day with the farms we certify. We will celebrate his life by continuing our work to support independent farmers committed to sustainable farming and livestock production. In delivering that vision we honor his legacy.”

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