In recognition of the role pollinators play in the food system and environment, Whole Foods Market has announced a pollinator policy for its fresh produce and floral purchasing.
The company has long championed pollinator health through its commitment to organic agriculture, which prohibits toxic persistent pesticides.
As part of the policy, by 2025, the company will:
- Require all fresh produce and floral growers to implement an integrated pest management system, which prioritizes preventative and biological pest control measures and reduces the need for chemical pesticides.
- Prohibit the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) in all potted plants they sell.
- Encourage fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids.
In addition to honeybees, Whole Foods recognizes native pollinators, such as bumble bees, wasps and butterflies, are critical to the food system and an important indicator of biodiversity.
“We understand the important role pollinators play in our food system and, through this policy, will build on our long legacy of supporting biodiversity and pollinator health,” said Karen Christensen, SVP of perishables and quality standards.
“This is another critical step forward in our journey of climate-smart agriculture as part of our purpose to nourish people and the planet.”
The company engages its foundations and internationally recognized third parties to create campaigns that raise awareness of pollinators and their impact.
In addition, its Whole Kids Bee Grant Program helps schools and nonprofits receive support for educational beehives and bee programming so students can observe them up close and learn more about their role.
Since 2014, the Whole Kids Bee Grant program has awarded more than 850 educational beehives to schools and nonprofits with support from The Bee Cause Project.
Whole Foods works across the industry to encourage all fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids, which are harmful to pollinators, and pave the way for other solutions.
Whole Foods suppliers such as Rainier Fruit demonstrate their commitment to advancing pollinator health by maintaining 150 acres of dedicated pollinator habitat, in addition to 325 acres of Bee Better Certified orchard in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
“Every single piece of fruit we grow requires pollination. We wouldn’t have a crop without honeybees, so pollinator health is of utmost importance for us as farmers,” said Mark Zirkle, president of Rainier Fruit.
“We’re appreciative of Whole Food’s advocacy and look forward to continued efforts towards more sustainable agriculture.”
For more information on how Whole Foods Market is protecting pollinators, click here.
Read more produce news from The Shelby Report.