Today’s customers demand transparency about their food sources. For Whole Foods Market, that has led to success, made possible by prioritizing sourcing channels while helping small farmers and business owners build their operations along the way. The Local Producer Loan Program, overseen by Erin Harper since 2012, has distributed nearly $20 million in loans to help small producers, farmers and artisans expand. The low-interest loans are typically in the $1,000-$100,000 range and have funded groundbreaking growing methods, new product categories and supply chain improvements. Harper also spearheaded a robust mentoring and education program for recipients, offering them access to Whole Foods’ regional and global experts to help grow their businesses. Under Harper’s management, the loan program has tripled its annual loan count to 60 and quadrupled the amount loaned each year to $4 million. Harper has long been drawn to the “sense of discovery” at Whole Foods — and now it happens in the field, as well.
Senior Program Manager
Local Loan Producer Program