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Whole Foods Market® is going bananas

LOS ANGELES (January 24, 2007). Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural and organic foods supermarket, has gone bananas for EARTH University’s bananas from Costa Rica. Bananas from EARTH University are now available exclusively in Whole Food…

LOS ANGELES (January 24, 2007) Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural and organic foods supermarket, has gone bananas for EARTH University's bananas from Costa Rica. Bananas from EARTH University are now available exclusively in Whole Foods Market as part of their partnership with EARTH University to support education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable agriculture in the developing world. All of EARTH University's profits from its business with Whole Foods Market fund student scholarships, research and university operations. The bananas are now available throughout stores in California, Arizona and Nevada year round. With the goal to carry EARTH bananas® company-wide, they can also be found in Whole Foods Market stores in the North Atlantic, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Southwest regions."EARTH University has taken a leadership role in the banana industry through its environmentally friendly production methods," says Michael Besancon, Southern Pacific Regional President for Whole Foods Market. "After visiting the EARTH University campus at the edge of the Costa Rican rain forest, it was clear the university's mission and curriculum mirrors Whole Foods Market's commitment to demonstrating workable ecological solutions for the world."

 EARTH University has developed a high quality, low-impact and socially responsible banana farm, which is a model for the banana industry worldwide. The university's innovative, hands-on curriculum focuses on creative, economically viable uses for the natural resources of the humid tropics. The sustainable banana production at EARTH University represents a unique balance between economic and social methods at every stage of the cultivation and packing process including: eliminating herbicides, maintaining fair treatment and protection of banana plantation workers and planting native trees along rivers to reduce erosions and encourage biodiversity.

Shoppers will notice less sharpness and more of a depth in sweetness with EARTH bananas. "The EARTH banana has exceptional culinary quality due to the cultural farming practices of the university and the growing conditions of the humid tropics in Costa Rica. These bananas are very full or round in shape because the fruit is very mature at harvest," says Edmund LaMacchia, National Vice President of Procurement — Perishables for Whole Foods Market. "Consequently EARTH bananas are creamy and moist in texture with a rich and complex flavor."

About EARTH University EARTH University is a sustainable agriculture school located in Costa Rica, dedicated to educating students throughout Latin America holistically in the areas of entrepreneurship, sustainable agriculture, ethics and human relations. EARTH, founded in 1990, currently has a total population of 400 students from 23 countries around the world. In keeping with EARTH's mission of affecting change in the areas in greatest need of development, 80% of students are granted full or partial scholarship. The University has graduated 1,082 professionals from 19 countries in Latin America, Europe and Africa. The Faculty is composed of 42 professors from 20 countries worldwide. The EARTH University Foundation, based in Atlanta, Ga., coordinates fundraising and special events for the University.

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