Whole Foods Market Takes Steps To Protect Pollinators

Whole Foods Market has introduced a new pollinator policy for its fresh produce and floral purchasing, acknowledging the vital role that pollinators play in the food system and the environment. The key elements of this policy, set to be implemented by 2025, include:

  • Mandating all fresh produce and floral growers to adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, emphasizing preventative and biological pest control methods to minimize reliance on chemical pesticides.
  • Prohibiting the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in all potted plants sold by the grocer.
  • Encouraging fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out the use of nitroguanidine neonicotinoids.

Whole Foods Market views native pollinators like honeybees, bumble bees, wasps, and butterflies, as critical to both the food system and as an indicator of biodiversity. Karen Christensen, Senior Vice President of Perishables and Quality Standards at Whole Foods Market, emphasized the significance of pollinators and the company’s commitment to supporting biodiversity and pollinator health. She stated, “This is another critical step forward in our journey of climate-smart agriculture as part of our purpose to nourish people and the planet.”

Whole Foods Market collaborates with foundations and internationally recognized third parties to raise awareness about pollinators. The Whole Kids Bee Grant Program aids schools and non-profit organizations in obtaining support for educational beehives and bee programming, fostering hands-on learning about the essential role of pollinators. Since 2014, the program has granted over 850 educational beehives with the support of The Bee Cause Project.

Whole Foods Market actively engages with the industry to encourage fresh produce and floral suppliers to phase out nitroguanidine neonicotinoids, known for their harmful impact on pollinators. Suppliers like Rainier Fruit exemplify this commitment by maintaining dedicated pollinator habitat covering 150 acres and an additional 325 acres of Bee Better Certified orchard in collaboration with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.