Whole Food Planet Foundation benefit concert rocks Nightlight

Whole Foods Market, unlike some other grocery chains, acknowledges the places it’s food comes from.

The chain established the Whole Planet Foundation to benefit job-training programs in the countries where it gets its food from.

Chapel Hill’s local Whole Foods, in an effort to contribute to the organization, held a benefit concert Sunday night at Nightlight Bar and Club and featured six different musicians and groups.

Ian Leinbaugh, an employee at Whole Foods who helped organize the event, said the benefit is part of a fundraising period from February 20 to March 30.

“Every year it’s part of our job to host an event for the Whole Planet Foundation,” he said.

“It’s an organization set up by Whole Foods to balance the fact that they are sourcing the foods from others countries where there is poverty,” he said.

Leinbaugh said the idea for the benefit concert originated from a conversation with a co-worker about all of the musical talent in the store’s staff.

Each musical group has one member who works at Whole Foods Market.

Kyle Tate, another employee, worked with Leinbaugh to set up the event.

“We did it in the middle (of the fund-raising period) to rejuvenate interest in it and to have fun,” he said.

They said they asked Nightlight to host, got in contact with media outlets and made posters to put up around Chapel Hill and Carrboro to advertise for the event. They also did in-store advertising.

Fiona Matthews, a Nightlife employee, said they are only taking a small portion of their profits and the rest of the money, instead of going to the bands, is going to charity.

Holly Guthrie, an assistant at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, attended the concert to see a co-worker.

“The first reason was to see Al, but since the donations at the door go to the charity that’s just a bonus” she said.

Dan Ouimet, a Whole Foods employee, is part of the band Barleycorn & Rye, which played entirely for charity at the concert.

The band plays a mix of Celtic, roots and Americana music.

Fellow band member Michael Granatosky said they put a twist on existing traditional music.

“We take rare, unknown songs and make them popular, upbeat and danceable,” he said.

“Recently we’ve taken Queen’s ‘Fat Bottom Girls,’ and we’ve reworked it to a bluegrass tune.”

Ouimet said he agreed to participate in the benefit concert to support Whole Foods.

“I believe in the cause,” he said.

“It’s a good way to provide funds to impoverished entrepreneurs.”


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