SAN ANTONIO, Texas–In an ongoing quest to transform the lives of agricultural workers in North America, NatureSweet®, a leading produce grower, has kicked off an educational initiative that’s giving agricultural workers an opportunity to obtain their bachelor’s degree. Thirty agricultural workers from NatureSweet’s facility in Zapotlán, Mexico have been selected to be a part of a pilot program that will allow them to earn their degree in agriculture. The program is called “Unleashing Your Power” and a majority of the costs associated with obtaining the degree are being paid for by NatureSweet.
“The agriculture industry hasn’t always been fair to ag workers and NatureSweet is changing that,” says Rodolfo Spielmann, President and CEO of NatureSweet. “Many of our Associates never imagined they would be on the path to earning a college degree given their circumstances, but as a company we strongly believe that our choices define the future and not the circumstances around us. Our bachelor’s degree program will undoubtedly provide them with more opportunities to transform their lives and become our future leaders.”
Through a partnership with Tecnológico de Tlajomulco, NatureSweet Associates began the journey to complete their bachelor’s degree in February of this year. The group takes classes on weekends and is expected to graduate in 2028. The youngest Associate in the inaugural class of the bachelor’s program is 24 years old and the oldest is 45.
In 2005, NatureSweet began offering educational programs that have helped Associates earn their elementary, middle school, and high school diplomas. Through these programs and with the addition of the “Unleashing Your Power” bachelor’s program, the company is expected to impact about 2,000 lives through education in 2023. NatureSweet’s success in sustainability was recently featured in a case study by the International Fresh Produce Association. NatureSweet, a Fair Trade and EFI-certified company, is committed to transforming the lives of agricultural workers in North America through education, better pay, and access to healthcare.
About NatureSweet® (NS Brands, Ltd.):
NatureSweet® is the single-source solution for greenhouse-grown vegetables and is the #1 best-selling brand in snacking tomatoes. The largest vertically integrated agriculture company in North America, NatureSweet guarantees great tasting produce year-round, both organic and conventional. Our vegetables are carefully grown, harvested, and packaged by more than 5,000 full-time Associates. NatureSweet tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers are handpicked at the peak of freshness and sold at major supermarket retailers throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Our commitment and purpose are to improve the lives of our Associates, and agricultural workers throughout the globe. This work, as well as our efforts around sustainability, have led us to earn Fair Trade and EFI certifications. NatureSweet is dedicated to having a positive social, environmental, and economic impact within our communities.