It has been 20 years since Whole Foods Market, which offers more than 37,000 organic products across its stores, first attained its organic retail certification.
In fact, Whole Foods has promoted organic since before there was a National Organic Program. The company also requires certification for organic label claims on all products it sells.
CEO Jason Buechel said Whole Foods was proud of being “the only certified organic national grocer in the industry” and pledged that it would continue “our work to help grow and support the organic community.”
“Our team members work hard to ensure the organic integrity of our products all the way from the farm to customer selection from our shelves,” he said.
Whole Foods also has played a role in helping to develop the USDA National Organic Program.
“We have a deep understanding of the environmental benefits sustainable farming methods like organic can bring and continue to work with our community to increase access to the organic market,” said Karen Christensen, SVP of merchandising for perishables and quality standards.
Whole Foods also is working together with farmers, ranchers, scientists and industry experts to increase access to the organic market.
The company has long supported organic advocacy groups such as the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Farming and Research Foundation, as well as maintained leadership on USDA advisory committees, like the National Organic Standards Board.
Brise Tencer, executive director of OFRF, said the organization was “deeply grateful for the long-term partnership and financial support” of the grocer.
“Their support of our charitable organization over the last 30 years has directly enabled support of organic farmers across the North America through our on-farm research grants, grower education and farmer advocacy,” Tencer said..
Whole Foods’s customers have helped support the growth of the organic marketplace. As a result, the company continues to make investments in organic agriculture to support producers seeking and maintaining organic certification.
Whole Foods advocates for legislation supporting the adoption of organic and other climate-smart agricultural practices, while reducing infrastructural challenges and barriers to the market.
The company joined OFRF and a broad group of signatories to endorse both the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research Act in the U.S. House and the Organic Science and Research Investment Act in the Senate. Both pieces of legislation make investments into organic and sustainable agriculture through research, education and extension initiatives.
The legislation also calls for an evaluation of the economic impact organic agriculture has on rural and urban communities to help better understand the impact to producers and the environment, as well as on public health.
Read more produce news from The Shelby Report.