Wholesum, a Fair Trade Certified grower and shippers of organic fresh produce, announces its 10th anniversary of Fair Trade Certification. Wholesum has always maintained a strong commitment to people and the planet through responsible practices, including 100 percent organic production. In 2012, the company further solidified those commitments by obtaining Fair Trade Certification through the third-party certifier Fair Trade USA.
"Over 30 years ago, we began our transition to 100 percent organic farming to grow healthier products for our consumers, create safer environments for our workers and lessen our impact on the planet," says Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer. "Around the world, workers on Fair Trade Certified farms were not only elevating production standards, but they were also using their fair trade premiums for community improvements of all kinds."
The impact of the fair trade program has translated to:
- Over $7.7 million generated in Community Development Funds to invest in community projects addressing needs such as education, housing, and healthcare.
- Three Fair Trade Certified family farms, including two in Mexico and one in Arizona.
- Thousands of employees benefitting from projects.
- Three volunteer projects with the participation of industry partners that have resulted in the construction of two school kitchens, a classroom renovation, and a community center equipped with computers and a small library.
- Built the infrastructure for a community of workers. In Wholesum Farms Sonora, community members now have access to a community soccer field, a mini market, a tortilla factory, a basketball court, a community center, and a playground. Across other communities, workers have built community centers, clinics, and laundromats for the convenience of the labor force.
- Over 30 positions of employment outside of Wholesum have been created by fair trade committees to staff projects. Positions include bus drivers, teachers, nutritionists, daycare staff, store clerks, maintenance staff, and dental workers.
- Over 12 partner growers who also operate under the fair trade framework have created an impact in their communities.
- 67 percent of produce sold under Fair Trade Certified terms in 2021.
Wholesum's customer appreciation event last month during the Organic Produce Summit is one way it's celebrating its 10th anniversary of Fair Trade Certification.
To celebrate, Wholesum has an event lineup through the end of the year, kicking off with a customer appreciation event last month during the Organic Produce Summit in Monterey, California, honoring partners who have supported the journey and contributed to the impact. There will also be workforce appreciation events at each family farm in October, Fair Trade Month, to highlight the people behind the produce.
"We are now 10 years into this experience and deeply humbled when others approach us to learn about the process, the challenges, and the successes," says Crisantes. "There is strength in numbers, and the more who subscribe to this framework, the more we can transmit the significance of ethically grown produce."