What Do We Consider?

Our industry-leading Responsibly Grown sourcing program takes into account a number of factors that impact human health and the environment.

  • Soil Health

    Healthy soil is essential for nutritious crops and a thriving environment. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that evaluate, protect and improve soil health. Examples include composting, rotating crops and using the latest science to measure and enhance nutrients in the soil.

  • Air, Energy and Climate

    Air quality and climate change are directly related to energy choices—and all have far-reaching implications for human health. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that reduce air pollution and conserve energy. Examples include tracking greenhouse gas emissions and using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power.

  • Waste Reduction

    Keeping waste out of landfills can lead to cleaner land, air and water. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that minimize waste. Examples include reducing packaging and recycling farm materials such as plastic and oil.

  • Farmworker Welfare

    Our commitment to human health begins with the workers who grow and harvest the crops. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that create better working conditions. Examples include reducing pesticide risks, providing protective equipment and participating in third-party auditing programs to promote safe conditions and fair compensation.

  • Water Conservation & Protection

    Clean, plentiful fresh water is essential to agriculture and human health. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that protect and conserve water. Examples include rainwater collection and drip irrigation. Farmland can provide important habitat for wildlife. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that protect native species. Examples include planting “bee-friendly” wildflowers, improving conservation areas and taking steps to protect beneficial insects from harmful chemicals.

  • Ecosystems & Biodiversity

    Farmland can provide important habitat for wildlife. Responsibly Grown rewards farming practices that protect native species. Examples include planting “bee-friendly” wildflowers, improving conservation areas and taking steps to protect beneficial insects from harmful chemicals.

  • Pest Management

    To produce healthy crops, farmers must manage constantly evolving pests and diseases. Growers use a variety of techniques to address these challenges, and pesticides are one option among many.

    Responsibly Grown expresses Whole Foods Market®’s industry-leading commitment to reduce pesticide use and its risks to consumers, farmworkers, wildlife and the environment.

    Farming Practices
    Growers must use proven techniques to reduce pesticide use and impact. Examples include using non-chemical controls, such as rotating crops among fields, monitoring pest populations and weather conditions, calibrating application equipment and reducing drift movement of pesticides.

    Prohibited Pesticides
    Responsibly Grown prohibits specific pesticides that have been identified by scientists as high risk but are commonly used in conventional agriculture today. Additional information and exceptions can be found in the addendum.

Other Key Requirements

GMOs
Whole Foods Market believes that consumers have a right to choose how their food was produced. Responsibly Grown requires growers to disclose to Whole Foods Market the use of GMO seeds or plant material.

Irradiation
Irradiation is a method of food preservation that uses radiation to reduce disease-causing organisms. Whole Foods Market does not sell produce that has been irradiated.

Biosolids
Biosolids are fertilizers made from treated municipal waste. Biosolids are not allowed in organic agriculture, and Responsibly Grown prohibits the use of biosolids within 3 years prior to harvest.