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Why organic farmers are really not happy with Whole Foods right now


whole foods responsibly grown

Whole Foods made Millennials with low-paying start-up jobs happy when it announced it’ll be rolling out cheaper stores soon, but this week, the grocer is making another group—the organic farmers who supply its produce—pretty angry.

According to NPR, the animosity is the result of a new rating system, Responsibly Grown, that Whole Foods created to give consumers more information about how their produce is grown.

The system requires farmers to not only disclose the organic status of product, but to also provide a laundry list of other details, like how they protect the farm’s soil, how they conserve energy, and how they treat their workers. Based on the answers to those questions and more, produce is graded as Unrated, Good, Better, or Best, and the ratings are displayed for customers.

But here’s why organic farmers are speaking out: some products given a “Best” rating are not organic, while some organic products are rated just “Good,” even though the organic farmers have gone through the painstaking, expensive USDA certification process. “Organic is responsibly grown, for goodness sake,” one upset farmer told NPR, reasoning that the new system would devalue the organic label.

The farmers ultimately just want Whole Foods to revise the scoring system to give more weight to organic certification, which doesn’t sound like such a terrible idea.—Amy Marturana

For more information, visit www.npr.org

(Photo: Instagram/wholefoods)

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