Contact: Marie McGeehan at Casey Communications, Inc., 314/962-0944 or Dee
Wetzel at Schnuck Markets, 314/994-4608.
January 2, 2001
To Offer Home Grown Produce For Customers in 2001
ST. LOUIS – Schnuck Markets Inc. will expand a program begun in 2000 that will provide St. Louis area customers with delicious produce grown by farmers in the Missouri Bootheel and Southern Illinois region.
In 2000, Schnucks partnered with the Bootheel Missouri/Southern Illinois Farmers Cooperative, an African American organization, and made $500,000 available for the purchase of fresh produce from the group. That equaled about 168 tons of produce, all the product the cooperative grew during last season. Schnucks sold watermelon, zucchini, okra and purple hull peas in its St. Louis area stores last year.
“We are excited about expanding this program that provides customers with fresh, great-tasting, locally-grown products and to support local minority farmers,” said Craig D. Schnuck, chairman and chief executive officer.
The Great Rivers Alliance of Natural Resource Districts (GRAND) and the United States Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Services (USDA/NRCS) formed the cooperative during the past two years.
“This is a great opportunity for minority farmers,” said Dr. Emil Jason, projects manager/administrator for GRAND and USDA St. Louis Region Outreach Project Office. “We are pleased with how smoothly everything went last year. We learned a lot and look forward to moving ahead this year.”
The partners recently met to discuss how to improve and expand upon last year’s program. About 21 farmers cultivating 75 acres of land participated in the program in 2000.
Jason estimates the number of farmers involved will double and about 200 acres of land will be under cultivation to produce the product for the 2001 program.
“We are in the process of planning how to expand and fine tune the program for the coming growing season,” said Mike O’Brien, Schnucks director of produce. “We will know soon exactly what products will be grown and available to customers.”
Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 92 stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The family-owned company was founded in St. Louis in 1939.
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