27. How Bob’s Red Mill helps shape the health of future generations

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Charlee and Bob Moore

Lori Sobelson

Introducing our Guest Legacy Leaders Bob and Lori with Bob’s Red Mill:

Bob Moore founded Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods in 1978 in an old abandoned flour mill with a mission to move people back to basics with healthy whole grains and minimally processed foods. The motivation to do so took root in the mid‐1960s when he was inspired by his wife Charlee, who had set out to establish a healthier lifestyle for their three young sons. Bob acquired several sets of millstones, and he and his family opened their first mill in Redding, California.

In 1978 Bob and Charlee moved to the Portland, Oregon area to retire but soon Bob’s milling enthusiasm resurfaced. Together, Bob and Charlee opened the Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods we know today.

The new Bob’s Red Mill quickly grew larger than the original. Today the company operates in over 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space and has over 400 full‐time employees. In addition, the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store & Visitors Center welcomes visitors from all over the world.

In 2010, on the occasion of his 81st birthday, Bob surprised his employees by announcing he was giving the company to them in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Bob said at the time he simply had no choice but to give the company to those who had helped build it.

Now in 2016, Bob’s Red Mill produces more than 400 products and sells them in 80 countries worldwide. Bob continues to search out new and healthy, minimally processed products so his loyal customers can continue to eat “whole grain foods for every meal of the day!”

Lori Sobelson is the Director of Corporate Outreach for Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. As Director of Corporate Outreach, Lori’s position provides her the privilege of representing Bob’s Red Mill in a number of roles:  She oversees founders, Bob & Charlee Moore’s philanthropy to insure that their wishes are fulfilled, and the commitments made by those recipients are fully acted upon.  She also works with community non-profit organizations in determining the company’s sponsorship as well as product donations.

Lori also organizes and attends a variety of events throughout the year that are viewed to be a good representation of Bob’s Red Mill’s mission which includes: public speaking, teaching, attending trade shows and health conferences.  Her passion for cooking and teaching is reflected in having the responsibility of managing Bob’s Red Mill Cooking and Baking school as well as teaching cooking classes.

In this episode:

You will get to know the people behind Bob’s Red Mill and how this company is so much more than what meets the eye. Bob and Lori share the story of how Bob and his wife Charlee created Bob’s Red Mill and why they are deeply involved with OHSU. This company does not just provide my personal favorite whole grain and gluten free natural foods, they also provide opportunities for scientists and their discoveries in my personal favorite field, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, to make an impact in the lives of those today and our future generations. Bob’s Red Mill is a company which stands for so much more than most and helps us imprint a legacy of health for our families.

Bob and Lori answer the following questions:

  1. For those tuning in and may not know of you yet, please tell them about your passion and why your position as the Director of Corporate Outreach is a way to express this passion?
  1. What is it about your work that pulls at your heart to do the work you do?
  1. For those tuning in and may not know of you yet, please tell them about your passion and why you and your wife Charlee Founded Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods as a way to express this passion?
  1. What is it about your work that pulls at your and Charlee’s hearts to do the work you do?
  1. From what I learned Charlee inspired the adventure in the “labor of love” which grew into Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. Would you share this story with all of us?
  1. As I read about you and Charlee and what you two have accomplished over the years, I can tell without a doubt that you both feel strongly about health and believe in taking care of one another.
    1. One example of this is through providing a broad range of quality products at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods.

i. Would you share with us why you chose to create products made from whole grains?

ii. Would you also share with us why you use stone grinding mills to ensure the products you make maintain their nutrition quality?

B. Another example of your strong belief in taking care of one another is on your 81st birthday you and Charlee gave your employees ownership of the company you two built. Would you share with us what inspired you and Charlee to gift your business to your employees?

C. Another example of your strong belief in taking care of one another is in the contributions you and Charlee put towards the field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. Before we talk about all that you do in partnership with this field, I would love it if you, Lori, could take us back in time and share with us a bit more how your and Charlee’s journey came to be in this field of science.i. May you share with us how you all were introduced to the field of developmental origins of health

i. May you share with us how you all were introduced to the field of developmental origins of health and disease?

ii.When you all first heard of this field do you remember what went through your minds?

iii. What was it about this field that made you and Charlee feel compelled to get involved and partner with the Oregon Health and Science University to create OHSU Bob & Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness to confront the rise in chronic disease throughout the lifespan due to poor nutrition?

 7. From the generosity of time, funding, passion about health, belief in taking care of one another, and commitment to providing people everywhere with quality food; what strides and milestones have you all been able to help OHSU reach through the OHSU Bob & Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness?

  1. In your opinion what is the impact that can take place through the knowledge gained and applied from the field of DOHaD for our families and societies globally?
  1. What changes would you all like to see come from this field?
  1. What are the current challenges that you see taking place within our food industry that you want consumers to be aware of and act on through making different choices to preserve their health across their lifespan and the health of their future generations’ lifespan?
  1. Where can people find more information about you and Charlee, the all the work that you are doing, and your Natural Foods?

Resources mentioned:

Where to find Bob’s Red Mill:

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