Local producer loans reinvest in communities
(ATLANTA) Starting this week, Whole Foods Market shoppers who raise chickens in the backyard can add organic chicken feed to their grocery list. Thanks to the company’s Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP), Coyote Creek Farm organic feed is now available throughout Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Consumers win too, since it will be easier to find Non-GMO eggs in the grocery aisles.
“Our goal is to give backyard chicken owners a chance to feed their chickens organically, thereby supporting organic production all the way back to the farm where the grains were grown,” says Stephen Corradini, vice president of purchasing for Whole Foods Market South Region. “We are proud to partner with Coyote Creek in the movement to increase organic production on farmland throughout the South and consequentially to strengthen rural agricultural economies.”
Coyote Creek Farm received $450,000, one of the largest Local Producer Loans to date, from Whole Foods Market. Coyote Creek focuses on revitalizing rural farms while caring for animals and humans in a holistic fashion, producing Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill, the only certified organic commercial feed mill from Texas to North Carolina. The funding enables the company to adhere to the founder’s mission of raising chickens humanely and organically in the habitat nature intended, so they can thrive and produce great-tasting organic eggs. Since 2007, Whole Foods Market has funded more than $10 million in 184+ low-interest loans through its LPLP to provide more than 155 local producers access to the tools and resources they need to expand their businesses. In the fiscal year for 2012, it disbursed 29 low-interest loans, which totaled $1.6 million, with an average loan amount and interest rate of $50,010 and 5.4 percent, respectively. Whether it’s helping local partners purchase more livestock, invest in new equipment or convert to organic production, Whole Foods Market wants to help them shine. Best of all, supporting local business means keeping money in the pockets of growers in the communities it serves.
Another recent LPLP recipient is High Road Craft Ice Cream. Located in Atlanta, High Road Craft produces chef-driven, culturally inspired flavors and was founded by Kennesaw State University alums Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton who created the concept while enrolled in the university’s Executive MBA program. All of their ice cream is made onsite at their new Marietta location, and uses locally-sourced ingredients. Now their creations are used by chefs around the country, and can currently be found in the Southeast and Northern California regions of Whole Foods Market. Zocalo’s 100% Salsas also received a loan from Whole Foods Market. Located in Atlanta, 100% Salsas is an artisan food manufacturer specializing in authentic Mexican salsas, tamales and empanadas as convenient packaged food with nine handcrafted, all-natural salsas for stores in the South region. Launched in 2008 as an offshoot of popular Midtown Atlanta restaurant Zocalo, owners Marco Martinez and his wife, Ana, started selling their popular salsas and moles in farmers markets throughout Atlanta. Encouraging their customers to incorporate salsas into cooking (as opposed to the popular stand-alone chips and salsa option), they provide a myriad of easy recipes to experiment with authentic Mexican flavors. Focusing more on flavor rather than heat, 100% Salsas flavors range from traditional verde and rojas to multilayered moles and smoky chipotle. 100% Salsas are never frozen, never preserved and free of additives or fillers. Sweetwater Growers in Canton, Ga. is another Local Producer loan recipient. Brothers James, Scott and Dennis Dault have been producing fresh culinary herbs and specialty greens since 2003. In addition to their herbs and greens, Sweetwater produces infused oils created with their fresh herbs. Whole Foods Market was one of Sweetwater’s very first customers, and the nationally acclaimed store dedicated to customers’ wellness continues to support them through purchases and through their LPLP loan, which was used to build two additional greenhouses for live basil.
In fact, Whole Foods Market supports a myriad of food growers and product creators throughout the country. Throughout the store, customers will notice signs highlighting recipients in their neck of the woods, such as:
· Thistle Farms (Nashville, Tenn.)
· To Your Health (Fitzpatrick, Ala.)
· Jones Farm/GrassRoots Pork Co. (Beulaville, N.C.)
· Kitchens of Africa (Raleigh, N.C.)
· Originally Created Vegan (Memphis, Tenn.)
· The Accidental Baker (Hillsborough, N.C.)
· Pure Bliss Organics (Marietta, Ga.)
· Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery (Atlanta)
· Smiling Hara (Asheville, N.C.)
· Buchi (Weaverville, N.C.)
· Roots (Asheville, N.C.)
· White Oak Pastures (Bluffton, Ga.)
· Thompson Farms (Dixie, Ga.)
· Eastern Carolina Organics (Durham, N.C.).
Together, Whole Foods Market and these exceptional loan recipients continue to invest in the health of their businesses as a step toward a healthier planet. For more information, visit wholefoodsmarket.com.