Buy Local Benefits Organic Growers

Beyond the pure healthy eating aspects, many organic consumers seek to be part of a larger community or experience. Buying local is a trend that spreads beyond organic production, but it dovetails nicely with the organic movement. Fresh markets are popping up all over the country. Florida is no exception with the number of farmer’s markets doubling in the past decade.

“The increasing popularity of farmer’s markets is due to a couple of factors,” says Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson. “First of all, people have become more health-conscious, so there’s more demand for fresh, high-quality produce — and that means local produce. Plus, our small farmers have become very aware of the benefits of direct marketing.”

Whole Foods Market Loan Offer

Whole Foods Market is tapping into the buy local trend by offering low-interest loans to organic growers near their chains. The Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program will provide $10 million annually in loans to promote local agriculture in areas where it has stores.

“We have carried Buzzn Bee (a loan program participant) products since 1997 when we opened the first Whole Foods Market stores in Florida,” says Juan Núñez, Florida regional president of Whole Foods Market. “The loan program is a terrific example of how we work with producers to create win-win-win situations, providing benefits not only for the company, but for our suppliers and shoppers, as well.”

Whole Foods Loan Eligibility
• Must meet Whole Foods Market’s Quality Standards
• Use funds for expansion and capital expenditures, not operating expenses (e.g., buy more animals, invest in new equipment/infrastructure, or expand crops)
• Have adequate cash flow to service debt and a viable business plan
• An existing relationship with Whole Foods Market is a plus
 

Interested producers can learn more about the Local Producer Loan Program at the Whole Foods Market Website, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/locallygrown/lplp/index.html.

It’s An Experience

For many, another motivating factor in the popularity of farmer’s markets is the experience. The markets are often abuzz with activity, creating a sense of community lost in the hum of modern-day life. And there is something special about touching and feeling the fresh, ripe produce artfully displaced at the vendor stands in local markets. In many cases, markets host more than produce vendors. The Tallahassee Downtown Marketplace has evolved into a weekly festival with live music, art and crafts, educational exhibits, and community outreach.

“There tends to be a social aspect to the markets,” Bronson says. “The old ties between the farmer and consumer are restored.”

Green Benefits

Locally produced, organic produce offers consumers more environmental benefits than just products produced chemically-free. According to the Florida Organics Association, buying locally at farmer’s markets cuts down on the miles food travels and the amount of food packaging that ultimately ends up in landfills. The lower expenditure on transportation and packaging translates into more money in the farmers’ pockets, plus it adds to the consumers’ experience by allowing them to support their local farmers.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsUSApple’s AppletizeMe Personality Quiz Help Consumers Find Ideal Apple Varieties and Perfect Food Pairings
October 22, 2014
Award-winning national apple month campaign returns with more featured varieties and informative videos. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Development Innovation
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More

The Latest

Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsUSApple’s AppletizeMe Personality Quiz Help Consumers…
October 22, 2014
Award-winning national apple month campaign returns with more featured varieties and informative videos. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsNew York Apple Growers Partner With Grocer To Introduce…
October 22, 2014
First apples of this new variety to hit Wegmans stores as part of a marketing effort. Read More
CitrusAgriculture, Interior Departments Partner To Measure Co…
October 22, 2014
Goal is to provide science-based information for watershed wellness. Read More
Stone FruitIntroducing A Gem Of A Peach For Central Florida
October 22, 2014
The newest variety to come from the UF Stone Fruit Breeding Program is another “gem,” UFGem! This peach variety is Read More
CitrusIt’s Time For Young Farming Leaders To Engage [Op…
October 21, 2014
Florida Grower editor Frank Giles says there are capable and talented youths in the ag field ready to step up and take the reins. Read More
Farm ManagementResearchers Finding Biofuel Fits For Florida
October 21, 2014
Alternative crops identified that are suited for the state's climate and can easily be processed for power. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches New Award To Recognize Produ…
October 21, 2014
Award recognizes innovation that enhances the role of produce in creating better lives. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Department Of Food And Agriculture Awards $3…
October 21, 2014
State Water Efficiency And Enhancement Program highlights projects implement irrigation systems that reduce water and energy use. Read More