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Norway, Iowa (April 23, 2007) — Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a leading U.S. manufacturer and marketer of natural and organic products, officially introduced Well Earth, its new program to find and develop ethical sources of high quality products, at its Earth Day Celebration on Friday. The program screens potential suppliers with an extensive questionnaire and on-site visits to thoroughly evaluate their product quality, operational sustainability, environmental practices, and social responsibility.
"Well Earth supports Frontier's mission and values," says Kathy Larson, the co-op's vice president of social responsibility. "It promotes the sustainable production of natural and organic products by building partnerships with suppliers who share our respect for quality botanicals and sound social and environmental principles."
Frontier works with suppliers accepted into the program to help maximize high quality, organic agriculture and support environmental and social progress in their communities. There are ongoing financial incentives for improved performance in both areas.
In Southern India, Frontier is working with a local agricultural company that has developed an organic and biodynamic school where farmers learn about sustainable agricultural and healthy living practices. According to Frontier purchasing manager Dave Showalter, "This academy requires farmers to attend week-long workshops periodically throughout the course of two years. It improves their skills and educates them about organic and biodynamic systems."
The Well Earth partnership with Frontier offers a long-term, honest purchasing relationship that provides a viable, stable and accessible market for the supplier. In addition, Frontier provides suppliers with technical and financial support—loan and grants, assistance with quality issues and connections to growing, processing and trading expertise.
The Well Earth program also provides direct financial contributions as well as assistance with grants and other outside funding for social and environmental programs in the grower communities. Later this week, Frontier CEO Tony Bedard and Vice President Cole Daily will be traveling to India to review the efforts already in process and to present a meals program there with a check for $10,000 — an amount that will feed 350 children a mid-day meal at their schools for one year. "This is just the beginning of our involvement here," says Bedard. "We are already evaluating other ways we can help improve the infrastructure of this community as part of our long-term partnership with the organic farmers of this region."
Larson also sees Well Earth as a way of bringing high quality, socially responsible products to the marketplace and giving consumers here in the U.S. the opportunity to use their purchases to influence the way the world does business. She explains that though Frontier continues to work with a variety of existing programs that support sustainable and ethical sourcing, Frontier felt it needed its own program to address the full range of both its products and its social goals.
"Through Well Earth," says Larson, "we have certified a peppermint producer in the Northwest U.S., and will be certifying grower/producers in Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, and more during the coming year."
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Frontier Natural Products Co-op™
Founded in 1976 and based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Natural Products Co-op™ offers a full line of natural and organic products under the Frontier, Simply Organic®, Aura Cacia® and Aura Cacia Organics® brands. Products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; bulk herbs and spices; and natural and organic aromatherapy products. Frontier's goal is to provide consumers with the highest-quality organic and natural products while supporting and promoting social and environmental responsibility. For more information, visit Frontier's website at www.frontiercoop.com.