Research shows that agricultural issues cannot be ignored:

  • According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used worldwide each year.
  • According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, pollinators are crucial to more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species, yet bee and butterfly populations are in serious decline.
  • United Nations Water shares that agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water.

Whole Foods Market’s new Responsibly Grown rating system for produce and flowers rewards growers for taking action to protect human health and the environment and labels items as “good,” “better” or “best.”

Several experts have spoken out in favor of the impact of the aggressive pesticide policy included in Responsibly Grown:

  • “If you pressed me to identify what I think is the component that’s going to make the biggest difference for people shopping in their stores, it’s the application of a pesticide policy universally to anyone shipping fresh produce or floral items, whether they’re coming from India or Mexico.” – Charles Benbrook, research professor and program leader for the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at State University
  • “Whole Foods is stepping up and other retailers should follow suit. The transparent program gives shoppers more choices about what’s on their food and how it’s grown, including purchasing fruits and vegetables that protect pollinators, farmworkers and children.” – Paul Towers, Pesticide Action Network
  • “Responsibly Grown represents an incredibly effective framework for protecting bees and other pollinators from the most harmful pesticides. It recognizes and rewards those farmers who are doing the most to protect pollinators, and provides incentives for farmers who want to eliminate pesticides in favor practical, science-based, natural forms of pest control, such as encouraging beneficial insects to prey upon the pest insects.” – Eric Mader, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Shoppers have expressed concern about pesticide use, the decline of pollinators and water use. Whole Foods Market listened and worked diligently for several years to create the new groundbreaking comprehensive produce rating system Responsibly Grown. The company wants to continue to learn about the issues are important to consumers and it invites the public to take a brief survey called “What Do You Value?” as part of its “Values Matter” brand campaign to share what matters most to them. For more information on the campaign and additional content on what makes Whole Foods Market different, visit:

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