I am so proud to announce that Whole Foods Market has recently hit a total of $2.5 million in loans through our Local Producer Loan Program! That’s over a million dollars a year for the past two years in financing to help local farmers and food artisans expand their businesses. That’s a lot of change! When we launched the program in 2007, the state of the economy was very different. Yet despite the nationwide tightening of credit from banks and credit cards, Whole Foods Market has continued to make low-interest loans to help producers grow their businesses. The numbers speak for themselves: Number of loan recipients: 41 Number of states with loan recipients: 18 Average loan: $52,292 We’ve also been able to work with a wide variety of producers. Products include kombucha, potting soil, ice cream (regular & non-dairy), organic produce, wine sorbet, raw chocolate, grassfed beef, and raw, vegan, gluten-free granola. Here’s a breakdown: Agricultural products: 17 Artisan/processed food: 23 Body care products: 1 We’re also pleased to have worked with many women business owners! Eight of the businesses that have received loans are owned by women, with an additional nine co-owned by women. One of the more interesting aspects of Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program is the ability to apply for additional financing at a later date. If a loan recipient continues to grow after receipt of a loan, they can apply for a second loan to help them with their business activities. Five of our producers have taken advantage of this aspect of the program, with great results. Two have even received third loans! We are excited to have hit this milestone, and we want to hit even more – we plan to provide up to $10 million in loans through the program. Think you or someone you know might help us hit $3 million? Check out our website to learn more about the program and to find out how to apply.