NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 23, 2014) – Louisiana vendors have the opportunity to expand their business through the Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP). Whole Foods Market launched LPLP and awarded its first loans in early 2007 with a commitment to fund up to $10 million in low-interest loans. The company’s goal is to make it easier for local and independent farmers, producers and food artisans to grow their businesses and bring more local products to market. The company has now committed up to $25 million in funding. Since its inception in 2007, LPLP has provided 184 loans to 155 companies.
Through LPLP, Matt Ranatza Farms, a family-run farm known for their locally-grown tomatoes, strawberries, citrus and other vegetables available at the Baton Rouge and New Orleans Whole Foods Market stores, funded a new packing storage shed for increased washing and packing operations efficiency. Ranatza shared, “This assistance from Whole Foods Market will enable my family to continue to provide the freshest quality fruits and vegetables from South Louisiana to residents.” Ranatza has worked with the Whole Foods Market Louisiana stores for nearly 14 years and is beloved for the high quality of his produce.
To apply for an LPLP loan, producers must meet Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards, use the funds for expansion and have a viable business plan. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000 and have fixed, low interest rates. To view online video testimonials and to learn more about LPLP, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/loans.