Lizzie Vann

Home to the Spirit of Woodstock

A biologist and later an analyst, she created the Organix food company at the age of 32, growing it to a $50m company 16 years later, in 2008.  Driven by a passion for the environment and organic farming, the company produced nutritious wholesome foods for children from weaning through to age 5, and changed the face of the UK babyfood scene. 

From total transparency about her foods through to strong campaigning on behalf of parents and the organic food movement, Lizzie’s company campaigned on and contributed to success in

Changing UK regulations about the way that food is labeled, improving quality and ingredient information.

Changing European regulations reducing the number of dubious food additives allowed in foods that children eat.

Setting tougher regulatory standards for pesticide residues on fresh produce.

Government funding for $1bn reinvested in school kitchens to kick-start a food quality revolution in school dinners covering nutrition, quality of food preparation and direct links to where the food is grown.  This program has now been extended to foods served in nurseries, hospitals and care homes.

In 2008, Lizzie sold Organix to the Hero Group. The proceeds from the sale have been invested in The Anna Maria Historic Green Village in Florida: a village comprising both old buildings, compassionately restored and in some cases relocated, and new buildings, all powered by renewable energy, to create what was Florida’s first LEED Platinum – the highest level of certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) – and Zero Net Energy Retail Park.

Built over 18 months in 2011, The Village covers 5 lots on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City and contains 7 commercial buildings and 2 residential apartments.  The Village preserves the historic charm and scale of Old Florida, with a portfolio of technologies that demonstrates state-of-the-art in sustainable design and development.  The Village generates more energy than it consumes (Zero Net Energy), harvests rainwater and storm water and encourages a range of sustainable transportation choices (bicycling, electric carts and cars, Segways). 

When the lots were purchased in 2009 there were just two neglected houses  – the Rosedale Cottage (one of the first settler’s homes) and the Pilsbury home – plus some run-down garages on the site.  Through association with the Anna Maria Preservation Society, Lizzie, was given two other historic buildings, designated for demolition – Thelma by the Sea (a lodge for fishermen), and the Sears Cottage, bought from the Sears Catalogue in 1935 and latterly used as the home for the church parson.   Not on site, these two buildings were picked up and moved to the Green Village in 2010 and 2012 – the ultimate in recycling.

The Angler’s Lodge was a derelict, 98 year old, 2,000 square foot house, weighing 300,000 lbs, It took months of preparation and 3 days of heavy work to move. Initially, it was lifted and rotated by 90 degrees and then pulled across 55 ft of water, over a canal, on a bridge that was constructed from iron bars. It was then pulled slowly along 1/2 mile of road, to its new home on Pine Avenue.

The Historic Green Village is now home to the Anna Maria General Store, and a bakery, as well as retail stores, offices and homes.  A 3,000 sq foot warehouse next door serves as the ‘Power Station’ to the village, using solar panels and 450ft wells to create power and drive AC cooling.   The warehouse also houses another form of recycling – a co-operative artist space showcasing antique, vintage and re-purposed collections.

The Anna Maria Historic Green Village demonstrates that a well-thought through plan covering energy, water and transportation can work well, supporting broader efforts to combat climate change and thoughtless building redevelopment.

It also showcases how we can preserve history in a modern way, bringing real value to people and their communities.  Bringing these beautiful buildings back to their former glory was one of the most rewarding and welcomed aspects of this project.

Organix Brands has won many food quality and entrepreneurial awards over  years. Lizzie’s personal achievements include:

European Woman of Achievement 1995

The Caroline Walker Award for Campaigning Work in the Food Industry, 1999

The Queens Award for Services to Children’s Health in 2002 (A UK MBE medal)

LEED Platinum – the highest level of certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) for the Historic Green Village in Anna Maria

Honorary Doctorate from her home university of Bournemouth, UK

Lizzie has lived in Woodstock with her partner David McGough and their two dogs Simon and Keith since 2014. Their house was featured in an issue of Chronogram. View the full published article here (page 40-46).

David also has music and rock & roll running through his veins. Whilst studying art and photography at Pratt Institute, he documented the punk rock scene in lower Manhattan, Merging his love for photography and Rock & Roll, David started DMI Photo (David McGough Inc) in 1980, and quickly became one of New York’s most important photojournalists. Hired by The New York Post,David covered the daily celebrity scene and garnered over 100 page one photographs on the cover of virtually every major publication in the world including: Life, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, People, Esquire, Us, Paris Match, Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek as well as in books, television, and film.

David and DMI became synonymous with ‘House Photographer’ and helped define the position that is now used at every major event in the industry. Over the years, DMI worked, and at times traveled with: Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Andy Warhol, Brooke Shields, Donald Trump, Andre Agassi, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby, David Bowie, Van Halen, Loretta Lynn, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, and many others as well as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Victoria’s Secret, and AMFAR.

In 2018 David released his first book titled Fame, showcasing beautifully reproduced photographs, and the stories behind the pictures.


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