Whole Foods Market has reached $20 million in loans via its Local Producer Loan Program. The milestone loan, the program’s 310th, was provided to Canteen, a Portland, Oregon-based juice bar that will be a partner of the 365 by Whole Foods Market store at Lake Oswego.
Whole Foods' loan program, which began in 2007, is designed to provide low-interest loans to independent producers and artisans, nearly half of which are women-owned businesses and over one third of which are organic, biodynamic, or non-GMO certified.
Recipients of loans must meet Whole Foods Market’s quality standards and have a viable business plan before being considered for the program.
Some other loan recipients include Kite Hill Artisanal Nut Milk Cheeses, which combines traditional French cheesemaking techniques and nondairy, plant-based ingredients; Alexandre Kids, an offshoot of the organic Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farm; Coracao Confections, a line of raw, organic chocolates; and Guerilla Beekeepers, who perform live rescues of honeybees as an alternative to extermination.
“We have loved working with our recipients to innovate, and collaborating to advance healthy ingredients and sustainable farming practices while creating some new household names,” said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market’s global vice president of growth and development, in a press release.
Loans in the program average about $60,000 and have an interest rate of 5 percent, and loan recipients pay minimal fees in order to take part in the program.
In addition to receiving this loan, Canteen will be one of several Friends of 365 at Whole Foods’ new line of less expensive organic grocery stores. As with other Friends, Canteen will establish a shop within the market and feature a specially curated menu just for shoppers at the store, including an innovative selection of organic juices and smoothies.
The Lake Oswego location is one of three 365 at Whole Foods Market locations to open in 2016, with 10 more set to open in 2017.
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