Whole Foods Market Partnership
Whole Foods Market® Announces New Program with FamilyFarmed.org
Organic Grocer is Looking to Increase Purchasing of Midwest Produce
CHICAGO – Whole Foods Market, the nation’s leading natural and organic food retailer, is seeking to increase its selection of conventional and organic produce from farmers in Illinois and other nearby states. In order to do so, the Company is deepening its local procurement partnership with FamilyFarmed.org, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that has worked for more than a decade to build and utilize local food systems.
“We are thrilled to continue working with FamilyFarmed.org and to increase our relationships with local farms in Illinois,” says Michael Bashaw, Whole Foods Market Midwest Regional President. “We’re also developing new systems to allow farmers to sell directly to the stores. This will help smaller farms increase their business with us, as they may not have the capacity to support multiple stores’ needs.”
Whole Foods Market is utilizing this relationship with FamilyFarmed.org to further support its Local program. Considered a top priority of the Company, this Local program is a means to support local economies and offer the freshest produce to shoppers. The Company considers any food grown within 250 miles of a store as local.
“The commitment of Whole Foods Market to purchase food from local farmers is a great opportunity,” said Jim Slama, President of FamilyFarmed.org. “This will expand support for family farmers, provide significant levels of economic development in rural communities and provide more local, healthy options for shoppers.”
This endeavor also falls in line with their Local Producer Loan program, where the Company sets aside $10 million annually to offer low-interest loans to local producers. To learn more and to access the Request for Information about this program, go to: www.familyfarmed.org/wholefoodsmarket.
About Whole Foods Market®
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFMI), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s more than 58,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 13 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2010, the company had sales of more than $9 billion and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
FamilyFarmed.org is a non-profit organization that has worked for the past decade to build local food systems and create markets for family farmers. Its mission is to expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities. The FamilyFarmed EXPO is the leading trade and consumer show connecting Midwest food producers with buyers and will be held March 17-19, 2011.
Kate Klotz, Whole Foods Market:
Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed.org: