AUSTIN, Texas — Along with stocking products on store shelves, some retailers are helping local vendors with loans and funding. Whole Foods Market runs the Local Producer Loan Program for small vendors. Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000 and can be used for projects like purchasing more animals, investing in new equipment or converting to organic production. The program includes reduced fees, interest rates and paperwork “that can often get in the way of a small local farm or business ...

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