Cambridge, MA (September 17, 2008) — Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first certified organic retailer, proudly announces its co-sponsorship of Farm Aid’s 2008 concert, the longest running annual concert that benefits family farms and promotes a vibrant agricultural system in America. During the concert, Whole Foods Market will be sampling food from 16 local vendors from across New England as well as catering 4,000 meals at the event for artists, press, VIPs and backstage crew.
Whole Foods Market’s history and foundation are intimately linked to the support of local farmers and food artisans. For more than 28 years the company has sought out fresh, high-quality local produce and artisanal products, which has been a unique driving force behind the success of the company.
“At the present time, farmers need our help now more than ever. Uniting with Farm Aid and assisting farmers from across the nation is something we felt compelled to support,” said Jeff Turnas, president of Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic Region. “Whole Foods Market looks for the freshest, high quality produce and products from farmers and artisans in our own backyard, and we call attention to these products in all of our stores through signage so that customers can easily identify local products. We hope this event inspires people to make conscious decisions to buy local products and support sustainable farming.”
The Local Producer Loan Program at Whole Foods Market makes up to $10 million available annually for low-interest loans to small, community-based food producers. An extension of Whole Food Market’s efforts to expand the availability of quality, local, differentiated products for customers, the program supports the communities in which the company does business. Since its inception, Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan Program has assisted 30 producers, including New England producers, Old School Baking of Northampton, Mass. and Dave's Cape Cod Smokehouse of Harwich, Mass.
“Farm Aid's mission to build a thriving family farm food system is well served by supermarkets that feature local, organic, family farm-identified food. In addition to providing an important market for family farmers, Whole Food Market's loan program helps farmers grow to meet the demand for good food from family farms. We are grateful to Whole Foods Market for support of Farm Aid's work and the work of family farmers across the U.S.,” said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid executive director.
In addition to sponsorship of the event, Whole Foods Market will be involved in many aspects of Farm Aid’s 2008 concert event, including: – Volunteering over 100 Whole Food Market Team Membersto provide support serving, demonstrating and preparing food.
– Sampling foods from 16 different local vendors, which is designed to showcase the connection between food growers and what we eat everyday. This includes farmers and food artisans who set the standard for community grown, sustainably produced foods such as Locally Known Greens of Maine, and many other local vendors including Bufala di Vermont; Grandy Oats Granola; Cherry Brook Kitchens; Late July Snacks; Food Should Taste Good; Kettle Cuisine; Polka Dog Bakery; Cabot; Sweet Scoops; Good Neighbors Hummus; GAGA's Sherbetter; Tribe Hummus; Badger Balm; Lake Champlain Chocolate and Wicked Good Food.
– Catering backstage and the VIP/Sponsor areas, which will serve 4,000 meals including musical talent and crew, stagehands, volunteers and media over a four-day period. Whole Foods Market’s culinary team of talented chefs have created delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner using the freshest ingredients and foods from the company’s vendors and partners to ensure the highest quality, freshest and best tasting meals. Whole Foods Market also worked in conjunction with the on-site catering company, Sportservice, to serve food, manage the set-up, and supply organic bread for concession sales.
“The logistics and planning that goes into such a large scale catering event is incredibly challenging, but with the work of our talented team of chefs, generous vendors and Team Member support, we were able to create a variety of great meals that fit the needs of Farm Aid,” said Amy Smith, associate culinary coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic Region. “We worked in collaboration with Farm Aid to develop a menu that used healthy, fresh ingredients, but also stayed true to the traditionally hearty and comforting foods served at the event, so that artists and crew can maintain a high-energy level.”
Farm Aid 2008 Presented by Whole Foods Market and Horizon Organic will be held at Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass. on September 20, 2008 and will feature headliners Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and other top artists.