Califia Farms, Los Angeles, announced the passing of its founder and executive director, Greg Steltenpohl.

“It is with a heavy heart we share the news of the passing of our company’s founder, Greg Steltenpohl. He built the Califia Farms brand from the ground up with a passion for nourishing people and the planet. Greg touched so many lives on his plant-fueled journey to make the world a healthier place. He will be profoundly missed. We tip our hats to our visionary founder,” the statement said.

In 2010, Steltenpohl founded Califia Farms, a high growth California-based health and wellness company with the leading premium brand of plant-based beverages in the United States, and a rapidly growing global presence.

Steltenpohl first entered the natural food industry in 1980 when he ignited the fresh juice revolution by co-founding the Odwalla Juice Co. in Santa Cruz, Calif., and selling juice out of the back of a van. In growing his small start-up to a publicly held corporation with an average growth rate exceeding 50 percent a year, Steltenpohl also was a pioneer in applying environmental sustainability, employee empowerment, creative corporate culture and community-based marketing as core drivers of business success.

His career also included a founding member of the Slow Money Institute, co-founder of Adina for Life, and co-founder and chairman of The Interra Project.

Steltenpohl’s holistic approach to vertically integrating operations and building shareholder value animates Califia Farms’ “something different, something better” culture and earned him numerous leadership awards, including Specialty Foods’ Hall of Fame, BEVNET “Best New Product” Awards 2015, 2016, and 2018, and Goldman Sach’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2017-2019.