Wisconsin Natural Food Associates, Inc. (WNFA)

The national Natural Food Associates (NFA) was founded in 1952 in Atlanta, Texas by a group of people prominent in the field of nutrition and/or natural farming, and dedicated to fostering and backing a movement toward “natural” farming. Prominent among the founders of the NFA were Dr. Joe Nichols of Atlanta, Texas, Dr. Henry Trautmann, a Madison Wisconsin physician concerned about human health and the nutrition to nurture and maintain that health, and Dr. Royal Lee, dentist, head of the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A local NFA chapter was soon organized in Arcadia, Wisconsin, under the direction of Mrs. Clifford (Luella) Scharlau.

In April 1958 an organizational meeting of NFA members was held at the Park Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. This was followed by a second organizational meeting at Devil’s Lake State Park in August, 1958. This became the Wisconsin chapter of Natural Food Associates or the WNFA. Pearl Thiessen, a Madison, Wisconsin nutritionist who spearheaded the effort, became the first president of the organization. The first convention of the new organization was held at Friendship-Adams High School in November 1958.

A number of constitutions and by-laws have been written and approved, the first being in 1962, updated in 1965 and revised again in 1975. After the chapter was incorporated, the constitution and by-laws were again revised and combined into one unit as the articles of incorporation and by­laws and approved in 1978. Newsletters were sent to the membership beginning in 1958 and through 1964. This was followed in 1965 by the Wisconsin NFA Bulletin. The “Approved Grower Program” was initiated in 1974. In 1982 the WNFA began to invest money in PAX World Market Funds which invests in energy, water, waste and sustainable food and agriculture markets.

Dr. Lee organized the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, a non-profit corporation with the objectives of education of the public and research to find remedies to correct malnutrition-caused disease. The Lee Foundation organization was dissolved in 1991 and the assets and literature were turned over to the Trautmann-Lee Natural Foods Fund Inc. The Trautmann-Lee Natural Foods Fund was initially formed in 1963 and was incorporated in 1978, as a non-stock corporation. The fund’s interest income was to be available for state chapter use in educating Wisconsin citizens in the natural methods of farming, gardening, nutrition and health practices. Dr. Paul C. Whyte was appointed as the fund’s first executive director. Don Plier became the registered agent for the fund in 1998. The NFA disbanded in 1997 and the WNFA was dissolved in 2018. All the Trautmann-Lee funds have been dispersed to many worthy organizations.