We are awarding 64 Team Member-nominated, community-led organizations an average of $9,000 each to advance fresh food access and nutrition education through our annual Community First Grant. This commitment of over $575k is being invested in 49 cities in the U.S. and Canada!

Gardopia Gardens

Whole Foods Market Team Members are known for being dedicated to their communities, energized by community engagement and actively supporting local projects, so we tap into that excitement in our Community First Grant Program. These annual grants support partnerships between Team Members and local nonprofits with programs focusing on long-term fresh, healthy food access and community health.

Through Team Member nominations, Whole Cities has awarded 406 Community First Grants in 149 cities in the U.S. (from San Diego to Washington D.C!) and in Canada too. We’ve invested more than $2.7M since launching the program in 2016. Nearly 240 Team Members from over 140 Whole Foods Market stores and every store support office have participated!


The 2023 – 2024 Community First Grant Partners

This year’s 64 grant partners span 49 cities in 21 U.S. states, Washington D.C., and one Canadian province. Check out the participating Team Members and their 2023-2024 partners! Each partner has been awarded an average of $9,000 to support their projects, which include:

Berry Good Food
  • 18 urban farms
  • 17 community gardens
  • 9 nutrition education and healthy cooking classes
  • 7 agricultural skills development programs
  • 5 farmer’s markets, co-ops and grocery stores
  • 4 mobile markets
  • 3 SNAP and WIC incentive programs
  • 1 pop-up market and CSA


Growing Something Good Together

Relationships are at the heart of the Community First Grant Program. Because Team Members are also community members, they have a vested interest in seeing their local partners succeed and are passionate about contributing to their efforts. Throughout the grant year, Team Members grow the relationships with their partners by volunteering and through other engagement opportunities. When the grant year ends, the relationships often continue. It’s not uncommon for Team Members to secure a second, third or even fourth grant for their partner.

Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute

Steven Fenner, Associate Store Team Leader at the Cerrillos Whole Foods Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico is participating in the Community First Grant Program for the first time this year. He has frequented his local farmers’ market for many years as a customer, and now, after nominating the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute for a Community First Grant, he is evolving that relationship.

The Institute advocates for farmers, ranchers, and other land-based producers; provides equitable access to fresh, local food; owns and operates a year-round farmers’ market; and manages programs to help sustain a profitable, locally-based agricultural community.

Twin Sisters Mobile Market

The Community First Grant will support the Institute’s Local Food for All Program, which offers information to people in underserved, low-income communities about how and where to access affordable, nutritious, local foods by encouraging them to visit farmers’ markets. They believe that increasing awareness of and access to better nutrition will encourage those communities to consume healthier foods. It’s a mission that closely echoes Whole Cities’ goal of building thriving equitable food systems and growing community health.

“Increasing access to fresh, locally-produced foods not only benefits the community members who enjoy healthy, nutritious products, but it also supports the small-scale farmers and ranchers in New Mexico by facilitating the purchase of products generated by their hard work. It is a win-win.”
– Janice Mayer, Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute’s Development and Communications Director

Steven looks forward to exploring opportunities for more Team Members to support the Institute: “Expanding fresh, healthy food access speaks directly to Whole Foods Market’s Core Values, as does community partnerships.”

Learn more about the Community First Grant Program including past community partners and the Team Members who nominated them.

Medway Community Farms

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