The bananas produced at EARTH University’s commercial plantation in Guácimo, Costa Rica, have been classified by Whole Foods Market as “best” in the supermarket chain’s new Responsibly Grown produce rating system. An industry first, the rating system was launched earlier this month and divides fruits, flowers and vegetables into three categories: Good, Better and Best, based on the supplier’s farming practices. Labels featuring the classifications will be implemented throughout more than 400 store locations in U.S. and Canada, with the goal of helping consumers make informed decisions regarding their food.
According to Whole Foods Market, a “best” rating indicates “exceptional, industry-leading performance in a scorings system covering multiple topics in each of these key categories:
General manager of EARTH University’s commercial banana operation Roger Ruiz states, “We are proud of this recognition. Now our customers will know more about the University’s efforts in sustainable banana production.” He goes on to explain, “In the banana plantation, our sustainable production practices and social responsibility differentiate us from the rest of the market…We produce bananas in harmony with the environment and our produce is carbon neutral.”
The income earned from EARTH bananas is used to provide scholarships for young leaders, mostly from rural areas, with limited resources and few opportunities to access higher education. The University has approximately 400 students from over 30 countries and more than half of them receive financial aid for their education.