NEW YORK (June 1, 2005) Whole Foods Market's vice president of marketing and public affairs, Margaret Wittenberg, was honored by the National Audubon Society with a prestigious Rachel Carson Award for her more than 30 years of work championing organic agriculture, sustainability and the environment.

  A nationally recognized natural and organic foods expert who embodies the very soul of Whole Foods Market, she joined the company in 1981 and has played an integral role as a member of the National Organic Standards Board in developing industry standards for the production of organic food. Throughout the years, Ms. Wittenberg has served on many other public, industry, and government advisory boards to raise awareness of organic and integrated pest management agricultural methods as viable and sustainable alternatives to the genetic engineering our of food.

“It is a wonderful honor to receive this award for carrying out our mission at Whole Foods Market and what I believe in, which focuses on the health of the environment, sustainability, and organic agriculture,” said Wittenberg. “I hope the changes I have helped effect and continue to make will empower others to take responsibility for our planet's health so that future generations of people and animals are able to live a healthier life in a more sustainable place in the future.”

This year Wittenberg helped launch the Animal Compassion Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that will provide education and research services to assist and inspire ranchers and meat producers around the world to achieve a higher standard of animal welfare in livestock production.

“Ms. Wittenberg's pioneering commitment to the well being and responsible treatment of animals strongly resonates and supports Audubon's mission to preserve birds and also support environmental health for all forms of life,” said John Flicker, president of the National Audubon Society. “She has incredible integrity and passion within Whole Foods Market and the industry, and we salute her.”

Wittenberg remains committed to helping decrease over-fishing and increasing the number of certified sustainable fisheries through her work on the Marine Stewardship Council Board of Trustees where she also serves as co-chair of the commercial sector of the Marine Stewardship Council's Stakeholder Council.

Wittenberg will be honored along with three distinguished women at the National Audubon Society's second annual Women in Conservation Luncheon on June 1, in Manhattan. Audubon established the award last year to honor visionary women whose contributions, talent, and energy have advanced conservation and environmental education.