Locally Grown
Midwest Region

Whole Foods Market is showing its commitment to local food by creating a new national $10 million program to provide low interest loans to family farmers and artisanal food producers. At the FamilyFarmed.org EXPO Whole Foods Market Midwest Regional President Patrick Bradley announced that they have teamed up with Sustain to promote the loan program regionally. This partnership with Whole Foods Market is a model public/private partnership to source and promote local and organic food production.

General Information

The Midwest Region of Whole Foods Market strongly supports local food production and local communities and is pleased to request proposals from local food producers for our Local Producer Loan Program. This project gives farmers and artisanal food producers the opportunity to apply for up to a $100,000 loan for expansion and capital expenditure projects. This is part of a $10 million national loan program. Whole Foods Market Midwest has partnered with Sustain and FamilyFarmed.org to publicize and promote this program. Bridget Jones at Whole Foods Market Midwest will be the contact for producers in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

This program will expand the availability of quality local food products by giving farmers and artisanal food producers access to capital that may not be available through existing financial channels. Our goal is to minimize fees, interest rates, and paperwork. Most of the loans will go to producers who currently sell to Whole Foods Market. Loans may also be made to other regional producers who are looking to expand their operations. We hope that such loans will result in a long term buying relationship between the producer and Whole Foods Market, but this is not mandatory.

Eligibility:

  • Must be regional producers of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, or artisanal food products.
  • Must meet Whole Foods Market’s Quality Standards
  • Funds must be used for expansion and capital expenditures, not operating expenses (e.g., to buy more animals, invest in new equipment/infrastructure, or expand crops)
  • All meat or dairy producers must meet Whole Foods Market’s Animal Compassionate standards
  • Producers must have adequate cash flow to service debt and a viable business plan for expansion
  • An existing relationship with Whole Foods Market is a plus.

Loan Terms:

  • Loan amounts targeted between $1,000 and $100,000
  • Loan amount not greater than 80% of total project cost
  • Interest rate based on Prime Rate (currently 8.25%) with current range of 5% to 9%, fixed or variable with annual re-sets
  • Term and repayment of loan tied to life of asset financed
  • Whole Foods maintains first lien position on asset financed
  • Monthly payments required after termination of any grace period
  • No penalty for early repayment
  • $65 processing fee to cover administrative expenses, including obtaining a credit report
  • Approval and terms dependent primarily on risk assessment, type of product, and use of proceeds
  • May require simultaneous execution of a purchase agreement
  • Producer may apply for additional financing if initial loan is in good standing after one year
  • Loans are subject to review of loan committee and including findings of a site visit.
  • Interest rate can be lowered by 1-2 percentage points during the life of the loan if payments are timely.

* Whole Foods Market, Inc. reserves the right to alter any and all aspects of the program.

Please direct your questions to Bridget Jones at Whole Foods Market MidwestMW.LocalLoans@wholefoods.com.

Email Sustain with promotional questions: farmerfunds@sustainusa.org.

Guidelines and Application

Whole Foods

Press Release Announcing Partnership

Chicago Tribune Story