Whole Foods:10 Years in the Making

by Leesa Raab

You may be as surprised as we were to find out that, up until today, Brooklyn didn’t have a Whole Foods! The Gowanus section of Brooklyn welcomed the Whole Foods Market at Third & 3rd with a bread breaking ceremony, which brought in the likes of Whole Foods Founder and Co-CEO, John Mackey, Co-CEO Walter Robb, and Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz.

The new space is 56,000 square feet,which consists of two levels of retail space, a rooftop greenhouse that will grow and supply produce to the store, a second-floor restaurant and a landscaped public walking path along the Gowanus Canal and the 4th Street Basin.  And the store caters to both the car divers and bike riders of Brooklyn, with 240 car parking space, two car chargers and bike parking.

As part of Whole Foods Market’s deep commitment to its local communities, the store is teaming with Whole Kids Foundation and our local horticulture partner, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to launch a “Fund a Fig” program. Proceeds from the purchase of specially-designed reusable bags will go towards the planting of fig trees throughout the borough, paying homage to the plant that has beautified and nourished Brooklyn for centuries. Brooklyn Botanic Garden will also be the recipient of the store’s first 5% community giving day, where 5% of the store’s sales are donated to a non-profit, on January 11th.

Other exciting fundraising partnerships include 5% day grants and activities with:

• The Gowanus Canal Conservancy (GCC), a community-based non-profit organization serving as the environmental steward for the Gowanus Canal Watershed, will be a 5% day recipient during Spring 2014. In addition, the GCC will also be selling sponsorship of the benches that adorn the new neighborhood green space that overlooks the canal from the 3rd Avenue bridge to the 3rd Street bridge. Available for $500 or $1000, all proceeds from these benches will benefit the GCC’s efforts around canal education and community beautification. For more information about this program, visit www.gowanuscanalconservancy.org/.

• Arts Gowanus is a group of artists and arts organizations supporting each other to ensure Gowanus continues to be a thriving and creative community of art-makers and art-appreciators. In addition to being a Summer 2014 5% day recipient, the store will offer monthly “Drink & Draw” art events at The Roof, the store’s rooftop tap room and restaurant.
• PS 118 The Maurice Sendak Community School, a local neighborhood school will allocate funds from a Fall 2014 5% day towards the building of a greenhouse on the school’s property to support their efforts to teach children about where their food comes from and the importance of healthy eating.

So congrats Brooklyn! We know you’ve been waiting for this for the past 10 years!

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