AUSTIN, Texas (June 14, 2011) – Shoppers seeking out ethically-sourced foods have two new tasty products to enjoy at Whole Foods Market®: EARTH University frozen pineapples and bananas.
By purchasing these frozen fruits, shoppers will be supporting EARTH University, which is preparing young leaders in sustainable agriculture, ethical entrepreneurship and community development. The majority of EARTH’s students come from poor, rural communities in the tropics, and sales of the new frozen fruits will provide much needed funding for student scholarships and will finance research and investment in organic and sustainable agricultural production.
“EARTH University has been leading the charge in sustainable production methods for nearly 20 years,” said Michael Besancon, senior global vice president of purchasing, distribution and communications for Whole Foods Market. “We’re thrilled to offer two new frozen fruit options that not only taste great, but offer our shoppers a way to use their buying power to educate leaders who will combat poverty and promote ethical and sustainable food production.”
Located in the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica, EARTH University’s innovative educational approach prepares young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and other regions, including Africa and Asia, to contribute to the sustainable development of their countries and construct a prosperous and just society.
EARTH has operated a commercial banana farm since its inception to generate much needed funding for scholarships that help provide opportunities to young leaders who want to make a difference in the world but lack the financial resources for a higher education. The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farm produces about 600,000 boxes of sustainably grown bananas a year–almost all of which are sold at Whole Foods Market and are now available frozen. EARTH also carefully sources delectably sweet pineapples for Whole Foods Market from a Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farm and is working to advance sustainable pineapple production. Both of the frozen fruit options are grown on farms and are harvested and frozen at the peak of freshness, ensuring great flavor.
“EARTH University’s products are not just sustainable, not just ethical, not just delicious—they are also making a lasting impact in communities around the world. Every purchase makes it possible for young people to study at EARTH and become leaders for social, economic and environmental well-being in their countries,” remarked José Zaglul, president of EARTH University.
EARTH University alumni are making important contributions in sustainable farming, conservation, waste management and farmer training. Of the more than 1,500 alumni, 86 percent have returned to their home country and more than 20 percent have their own business, creating jobs and generating opportunities, and 75 percent of alumni report having a positive social impact.
These new frozen fruits are also part of the grocers’ Whole Trade program. To earn the Whole Trade Guarantee seal, growers must be certified that they ensure fair wages and safe working conditions while caring for the environment.