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Whole Foods Market® Launches Responsibly Grown Produce Rating System

Posted: November 18, 2014

To help its shoppers make informed choices, Whole Foods launched its Responsibly Grown initiative on October 15, 2014. According to Whole Foods, the initiative is a “tiered produce rating system that assesses growing practices that impact human health and the environment.” Fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers will be labeled “good,” “better” or “best” depending on the growers’ efforts to protect human health, air, soil and water.

The goals of the program include:

  • Rewarding farmers who work hard to protect the environment and human health
  • Prohibiting the use of the most harmful chemicals while measuring and reducing use of the rest
  • Providing shoppers with an at-a-glance rating of sustainable farming practices

The Responsibly Grown ratings measure the following sustainability factors:

  • Soil health
  • Reduction in air pollution, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Waste reduction
  • Farmworker welfare
  • Water conservation and biodiversity
  • Pest management
  • GMO transparency
  • Prohibition of biosolids

To assist growers whose produce is destined for sale at Whole Foods, the retail chain has created a series of Responsibly Grown web pages. The web pages:

  • Outline the requirements for a good, better or best rating
  • Address challenges faced by growers and the goals of the program
  • Clarify the criteria measured