Responsibly Grown is a comprehensive rating system for fresh produce and floral products designed to help our customers make more informed choices about the produce they buy. The system includes factors not addressed by organic standards. In just eight months, more than 200 suppliers have enrolled in the program. More are joining. Five growers who have not yet applied to participate in the program sent an open letter late last week to our Co-CEO, John Mackey, about concerns they have regarding how Responsibly Grown is currently scored. We are speaking with these growers this week to listen to their concerns and clarify some of their misperceptions about the program.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of transparency, I’d like to share our counter-points to their letter below, which are provided by Edmund LaMacchia, Global Vice President of Perishable Purchasing and primary executive sponsor of the Responsibly Grown program at Whole Foods Market. Edmund has been an advocate for organic agriculture throughout his entire career, and has worked for years with organic suppliers of all kinds to develop strong and lasting win-win relationships with Whole Foods Market.