Whole Foods Market® Lends $4 Million to Local Farmers and Artisan Producers

Natural and organic retailer hits milestone in program to help producers grow their businesses; Celebrates with giveaway starring loan recipients' culinary creations

Mar 15, 2011, 06:00 ET from Whole Foods Market

AUSTIN, Texas, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) announced it has funded a total of $4 million in low-interest loans through its Local Producer Loan Program to help small, independent producers expand their businesses and bring more of their high quality, local products to market.

Whole Foods Market launched this first-of-a-kind program in 2007, taking its mission to support neighborhood farmers, growers and artisan producers one step further.

"We're proud to support small suppliers who need a hand to make their dreams a reality, and are actively seeking more applicants," said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market Global V.P., Growth and Development. "Our hard-working producers breathe life into our stores. The unique products they bring to market give each one of our stores its own character and flavor, helping us to create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for our customers. Best of all, supporting local business means keeping money in the pockets of growers in the communities we serve."

Unlike traditional loans, Whole Foods Market charges no closing fees, no fees for early repayment, and a minimal application fee. Loan recipients must meet Whole Foods Market's quality standards, use the funds for expansion, and have a viable business plan. Loans range from $1,000 and $100,000 with low, fixed interest rates currently between 5 percent and 9 percent.

Typical loans go towards purchasing more animals, investing in new equipment or converting to organic production. Previous loan recipients include producers of agricultural crops, body care products, and artisan foods including ice cream, pastas and cheeses.

To celebrate the milestone, Whole Foods Market is giving away a basket filled with culinary treasures from several of the program's loan recipients.  To enter and for details, visit: blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/2011/03/4-million-and-counting/ by March 22.

To hear more success stories from loan recipients of the Local Producer Loan Program visit: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/local-producer-loan-program.php and view video testimonials on the right-hand side of the screen.

Applications and additional information are available at: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/loans.

Contact: Liz Burkhart

(512) 542-0682

Liz.Burkhart@wholefoods.com

SOURCE Whole Foods Market



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