Whole Foods Market Celebrates 20 Years as Only Certified Organic National Grocer

This year marks two decades since Whole Foods Market achieved its initial organic retail certification, ensuring its stores would meet the same requirements as USDA certified organic processing facilities. The certification assures that Whole Foods Market has fulfilled strict handling standards for its vast selection of over 37,000 organic products, guaranteeing that products stay organic from farm to shelf. It holds the distinction of being the first and only national retailer to possess this certification. “Whole Foods Market is proud to celebrate 20 years as the only certified organic national grocer in the industry and continue our work to help grow and support the organic community,” said Jason Buechel, Chief Executive Officer at Whole Foods Market. “Our Team Members work hard to ensure the organic integrity of our products all the way from the farm to customer selection from our shelves.”

The company championed organic long before the creation of a national certification and has since played an active role in helping to develop the USDA National Organic Program. “We have a deep understanding of the environmental benefits sustainable farming methods like organic can bring and continue to work with our community to increase access to the organic market,” said Karen Christensen, Senior Vice President, Merchandising for Perishables and Quality Standards at Whole Foods Market.

As part of its investment in climate-smart agriculture, the company is collaborating with farmers, ranchers, scientists, and industry professionals to expand the reach of organic markets. Over many years, the company has provided backing to organic advocacy organizations such as the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Farming and Research Foundation. Additionally, it has played a prominent role in leading USDA advisory committees, including the National Organic Standards Board. “OFRF is deeply grateful to for the long-term partnership and financial support of Whole Foods Market; their support of our charitable organization over the last 30 years has directly enabled support of organic farmers across the North America through our on-farm research grants, grower education, and farmer advocacy,” Brise Tencer, Executive Director, Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Whole Foods Market continues to advocate for greater investment in organic and other climate-smart agricultural practices through the 2023 Farm Bills. The company joined OFRF and a broad group of signatories to endorse both the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research Act (SOAR) in the House and the Organic Science and Research Investment Act (OSRI) in the Senate. Both bills constitute substantial commitments to support organic and sustainable agriculture through research, educational, and extension programs. The objective is to advance organic farming by addressing infrastructure obstacles and market barriers. Additionally, the legislation stipulates the need for an assessment of the economic repercussions of organic agriculture on both rural and urban communities. This evaluation aims to provide insight into the effects on producers, the environment, and public health.