Nell co-founded Newman's Own® Organics: The Second Generation® with her father, Paul Newman in 1993. Newman’s Own Organics started as a division of Newman’s Own, and became independent from the parent company in 2001. Over the 20+ years the royalties paid by Newman’s Own Organics to The Newman's Own Foundation, generated over $50 million to charity. At the end of 2014, Nell's tenure at the company ended along with the license, and the company returned to being a part of Newman's Own. Nell has moved on to pursue other philanthropic opportunities in the world of sustainable agriculture and conservation.
The daughter of actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Nell had an early introduction to natural foods at their rural Connecticut home, where the family had a small apple orchard and a few chickens. Nell learned to cook from her mother and how to catch fish from her father. While in college, she continued to experiment in the kitchen, remaining the designated chef when home for family holiday dinners.
Nell attended the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, graduating with a B.S. in human ecology. She worked briefly at the Environmental Defense Fund in New York. Preferring a more rural environment, Nell moved to Northern California where she became the Executive Director for the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary. After two years there, she left to become the Development Director for the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, the non profit responsible for the captive breeding and restoration of the peregrine falcon in California.
For the past 21 years Nell been a featured speaker and panelist for many organizations presenting her philosophy on the worlds need for organic agriculture and her commitment to 100% organic and biodynamic products. "By utilizing organic ingredients, we were supporting Mother Earth, and the environment through the growth of organic agriculture,” says Nell.
Nell has served on the Peregrine Fund board in Boise, Idaho, Wholesome Wave board in Washington D.C., and currently serves as a board member for Ecotrust in Portland OR.
Nell’s thoughts on how to make a difference are highlighted in her book, The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That Benefit You and the Place You Live (Villard, 2003), written with science writer Joseph D’Agnese. It is filled with realistic, practical advice on why living a more environmentally conscious life helps us all.