AUSTIN, Texas (June 6, 2016) – Since its inception in 2007, Whole Foods Market’s ® (NASDAQ: WFM) Local Producer Loan Program has provided a total of $20 million in low-interest loans to independent producers and artisans.

The program reached its latest milestone at the end of May with a loan provided to Canteen, a Portland, Oregon-based café and juice bar, which will be a Friends of 365 partner at the Lake Oswego location of 365 by Whole Foods Market™. Within the Lake Oswego store, Canteen will feature design elements from its flagship shop in Portland, and will serve an innovative menu of organic juices and smoothies as well as a select mix of other food items.  

“We are privileged to work with such dedicated and driven loan recipients, and are so proud to play a part in their growth by providing mentorship and guidance, as well as capital,” said Betsy Foster, Whole Foods Market’s global vice president of growth and development. “We have loved working with our recipients to innovate, and collaborating to advance healthy ingredients and sustainable farming practices while creating some new household names.”

To date, LPLP has provided 310 loans to 252 recipients in 42 states and two Canadian provinces. Loans average about $65,000 with an average interest rate of 5 percent. Loan recipients have used their loans for purchasing livestock, investing in new equipment, expanding production facilities, adapting to more sustainable practices or converting to organic production.

Forty-eight percent of all recipients are women-owned businesses. Organic, biodynamic, or non-GMO certified companies make up 34 percent of recipients; and 10 percent hold at least one social certification such as Fair Trade, B Corp, Youth Trade, or Global Animal Partnership animal welfare ratings.

Thirty percent of LPLP recipients are agricultural businesses, supplying meat or produce to Whole Foods Market stores, or contributing ingredients to the supply chain of other products like an organic chicken feed company that sells to egg and poultry producers.

Unlike traditional lenders, Whole Foods Market charges no closing fees, no fees for early repayment, and a minimal loan origination fee. Loan recipients’ products must meet Whole Foods Market’s quality standards, and recipients must use the funds for expansion and have a viable business plan.

Learn more about the roster of household names and local favorites who have participated in the Local Producer Loan Program: Follow the latest recipients and brand stories on the program’s Facebook page: .