Local Producer Loan Program Sr. Administrator
Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP) has been instrumental in fostering the growth and evolution of small producers nationwide, helping to shape the face of the natural and organic retail landscape since 2007.
Jenna Gelgand oversees the Local Producer Loan Program, which provides low-interest loans to small producers, farmers and artisans. Through the LPLP, Jenna works with Regional purchasing teams to discover and grow a diverse roster of budding businesses. Together, Jenna and Regional teams are able to identify high-potential organic and natural brands to help foster long-term, win-win supplier partnerships with Whole Foods Market. In addition to day-to-day operations of the loan program, Jenna acts as a brand advocate for loan recipients, offering them access to Whole Foods Market’s deep bench of regional and global experts to help grow their businesses.
To date, Whole Foods Market has distributed nearly $20 million in loans for everything from new livestock barns to product packaging, organic ice cream to natural skin care. Loans typically range between $1,000 and $100,000, though some large-scale projects have earned loans up to $500,000. Many of these investments have funded groundbreaking growing methods, new product categories and innovative supply chain improvements. Loans have also supported mission-driven companies, including those working on issues like pollinator protection, Biodynamic agriculture, Fair Trade practices and improving the living wage. Today, LPLP gives approximately 60 loans totaling approximately $4 million each year.
A native of Austin, Texas, Jenna was raised by two entrepreneurs and is proud of her community’s “local-first” mentality. Jenna also earned her MBA at the University of Texas at Austin where her team won the 2014 New Venture Creation competition (product: cashew spread). She loves that her job is to help mission-driven entrepreneurs help bring healthy foods to WFM customers every day.