More than 20 years ago, Whole Foods Market (WFM) developed close ties with EARTH in research efforts and as the main buyer of bananas from our Commercial Operation.
Whole Foods Market is a supermarket chain recognized worldwide for selling healthy and sustainable food with high-quality standards for its products. The company is committed to offering fresh produce, minimizing food waste, and supporting sustainable agricultural practices. Its mission to “nourish people and the planet” is based on principles of sustainability, fair markets, and business ethics. WFM has become a key strategic partner for our University, with a clear synergy instilled in the vision and mission of both institutions.
In May, EARTH received 23 company representatives of Whole Foods Market at our Guácimo Campus for a visit to strengthen our relationship. WFM CEO Jason Buechel led the group, which included experts from different departments and 13 Culture Champions from nine regions, staff members who won an internal competition by presenting projects highlighting the value of the company’s connection with its suppliers. For three days, the WFM team and EARTH representatives talked about EARTH’s work, banana production, and the University’s strategic aspiration – the EARTHShot 2050. EARTH University, together with our partners will empower and prepare a global movement of leaders to achieve nature positive food production that improves producer livelihoods in developing regions.
The group met several times with EARTH’s President Arturo Condo to discuss the importance of creating sustainable and fair food systems and the value of the institutions’ partnership, which allows young people from different parts of the world to train at EARTH. The visitors also toured the commercial farm and the banana packing plant, where they learned more about EARTH’s sustainable model and saw the places where the bananas they sell daily in North America come from.
The WFM visitors learned about our unique educational model by visiting academic farms, where they heard directly from students about their Graduation Projects, their work experience on campus and in communities, and their entrepreneurial projects. The group also visited the Value-Added Unit and went to an impromptu market of products from our students’ companies. Conversations with students and professors demonstrated that both organizations share a common culture and a commitment to sustainable development and food systems.
Whole Foods Market is the primary buyer of premium bananas from our Commercial Operation. EARTH was the first banana brand in WFM stores to receive the Sourced for Good seal (formerly Whole Trade Guarantee). Thanks to WFM’s support over the years, our operation has been able to innovate sustainable practices, contribute to the University’s Scholarships Fund and operating budget, and exemplify responsible business practices to our students.
We hope to continue our partnership long into the future and we hope that together, we can nourish the planet and all the people who inhabit it in a healthy and sustainable way.
Thank you, Whole Foods Market!