The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Whole Foods Commits $25 Million to Local Producer Loan Program
Whole Foods Market is loaning millions to ensure that even more products from local growers, producers and artisans make it to the shelves of their 370-plus stores around the globe.
The retailer has announced a $25 million boost to its popular Local Producer Loan Program. Since the program's 2007 inception, Whole Foods has aided 155 local producers with $10 million through nearly 200 low-interest loans.
The large retailer says the expansion was encouraged by the success of those original recipients.
“Expanding the Local Producer Loan Program is a direct result of the innovations and successes of our loan recipients,” said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market global vice president of growth and business development. “By playing a role in advancing new ideas, growing businesses and realizing dreams, Whole Foods Market stays connected with both our neighborhood producers and our global food community.”
Companies who have expanded with the Whole Foods loan range from Progress Coffee in Austin, TX, to RubyJewel, a Portland, OR-based, hand-crafted ice creamery, to an organic nutrition bar line from Dr. Melina Jampolis in San Francisco, CA. Farms like Thistle Farms got in on the act, and many of the recipients like kale-chip maker Brad's Raw Foods in Bucks County, PA were able to rise from small-town farmers markets to the shelves of Whole Foods locations in bigger cities.
"Because I didn’t have any money, [Whole Foods] lent me money to build a bigger place and buy some equipment," Brad's Raw Foods owner Brad Gruno said.
"They help out a lot of small entrepreneurs. Seriously. Nobody else does that."
Whole Foods said its initial $10 million in funding also supported pioneering projects in biodynamic farming, non-GMO animal feed, pollinator health and sustainable packaging. The company didn't wait long to add the $25 million—it recently announced that a $400,000 loan to San Francisco's WholeSoy & Co. pushed it past the $10 million level. WholeSoy produces non-GMO, organic, vegan, gluten-free soy yogurt.
"After raising most of the funds required, this additional $400,000 will help us realize our dream of having our own dairy-free yogurt facility,” said Ted Nordquist, CEO of WholeSoy & Co.
“Whole Foods Market truly cares about our success and worked closely with us to support our re-entry into the marketplace."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."