Emeryville, CA (May 21, 2010) — Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com), America’s first national certified organic retailer, is pleased to announce that its next Community Giving Day on June 9 will benefit Marin Organic (marinorganic.org) and its important initiatives including the Marin Organic School Lunch and Gleaning Program. Five percent of the day's net sales will be contributed to this 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All but three Whole Foods Market Northern California and Reno stores will be participating, including the new Mill Valley store opening on June 9. Stores not participating include Los Gatos, Sebastopol and San Mateo as they will host their Community Giving Day next quarter.

Marin Organic is an association of organic producers in Marin County whose livelihood is based on a respect for nature and a sense of place. The organization and its members are dedicated to continually improving farming practices, promoting the ethical, creative and patient enterprise of sustainable, organic agriculture, and encouraging a preference for locally produced food. Marin Organic’s initiatives have also established Marin Organic as a model for other counties and countries, exemplifying how to solve present challenges in the food system and society.

“We are what we eat, individually and as a society.  You can trace most challenges that we face today back to our lack of relationship to our soil, to our farmers and the way we grow our food.  Today’s solutions must be environmentally sound, economically viable and socially just,” said Helge Hellberg, executive director, Marin Organic. “We are thrilled about our partnership with Whole Foods Market for this Community Giving Day and beyond. No other national grocery chain is as committed to local, organic and sustainable food production as Whole Foods Market.  We look forward to working together on many initiatives and campaigns and collectively bringing the field closer to home.”

The Marin Organic School Lunch and Gleaning Program Twice a week, Marin Organic visits its member farms and harvests, or “gleans,” produce with slight cosmetic blemishes, such as crooked potatoes, oversized zucchini or discolored beets that would otherwise be left in the field.

This food is then delivered to public and private schools and low-income resource centers in Marin County.  To date, more than 140,000 pounds of free, certified organic foods including potatoes, squash, kale, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, lemons, meat and eggs have been added to the lunches of Marin schoolchildren.

By supplementing weekly orders placed by schools for local, organic foods with gleaned products, the Marin Organic School Lunch and Gleaning Program enables 12,000 students to choose nutritious, local food options, every week, while the schools and community centers stay within their tight food service budgets. In addition, Marin Organic Farm Days directly connect children to nature through visits to local farms where students learn, hands on, about sustainable farming and help harvest food for the program. “This unique program is a true solution for the farmer, the schools and community centers,” said Hellberg.

“Whole Foods Market enthusiastically supports the important work that Marin Organic is doing to promote eco-literary in the Bay Area and across the country,” said Danny Olivas, executive marketing coordinator, Whole Foods Market, Northern California Region.  “Like Whole Foods Market, Marin Organic works alongside government officials, ranchers and farmers and community groups and organizations to advocate the highest standards of organic policy.  We know this donation will support this fearless organization’s programs and allow them to continue their incredible work with farmers and communities locally and worldwide. We invite our communities to come shop on June 9th, knowing their purchases will make a difference.”

More information can be found online at wholefoodsmarket.com or marinorganic.com.