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AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market said yesterday it is sponsoring Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival, as part of its commitment to support local agriculture.
The retailer will host a booth at the music festival on New York City's Randall's Island, to raise awareness of its new Local Producer Loan Program, which provides up to $10 million annually in low-interest, long-term loans to small agricultural producers and food artisans.
Whole Foods said the Local Producer Loan Program is open to producers near the company's stores throughout the United States. As of August 2007, 18 producers had received a total of $809,500 through the program, Whole Foods said.
The loans assist small producers in growing their businesses with affordable interest rates of five to nine percent. The program has other attributes geared to small producers: Loan application paperwork is minimized, administrative fees range from $0 to $65, there are no penalties for early repayment, and loan life may be from a few months to ten years.