Monday, August 20, 2007

New Loan Program for Food Producers


Tom Morley (from the Westchester SBDC) recently forwarded me an email that began like this:

"Whole Foods Market, a national grocery chain with seven stores in New York, recently started a new program to provide low-interest, long-term loans to small producers around the country. We would very much like to let small producers of food products in New York know about the program."

Part of this company's mission is that their produce be as fresh as possible, and make these loans available to farmers of "locally grown" produce (for reasons best explained here).

Of Whole Foods Market's seven locations in New York State, none are farther north than White Plains. However, they define "locally grown" as "produce that has traveled less than a day (7 or fewer hours) from the farm to our facility." Eligible products include agricultural crops, value-added food products, and other all-natural grocery items.

This definition, then, makes most of the food producers in New York for their Local Producer Loan Program. They have quality standards that have to be met, and require applicants to have a viable business plan. Further details on the program (description of amount, rates and terms; link to an application; contacts for additional information) can be found here on Whole Foods' website.

The email to Tom ended by saying, "We are very excited about the opportunity to help small producers, but our biggest challenge so far has been spreading the word."

With this, I'm spreading the word. Pass it on.

No comments: