AMADO, ARIZ – In observance of National Farmworker Awareness Week, Wholesum celebrates another successful year with their Fair Trade program, which empowers farmworkers, brings equity to the supply chain and uplifts farming communities. In seven years, the Community Development Funds generated from the sales of Wholesum’s Fair Trade Certified produce have surpassed 5.8 million dollars with over 1.4 million dollars raised in 2020. Last year alone, Wholesum brought these benefits to over 1,000 employees at their family farms and at least 1,000 more in their partner grower network.
Fair Trade USA® standards promote sustainable incomes for farmworkers as well as safe and healthy working conditions. Additionally, with the funds generated from sales of Fair Trade Certified produce, farmworkers have the capacity to invest in their futures and that of their communities through impactful projects that improve access to education, housing, community, nutrition and health services.
“We want to provide a good life to all our workers,” states Ricardo Crisantes, Chief Commercial Officer of Wholesum, “The Fair Trade program provides a framework that aligns to that purpose, helps us achieve it, and allows the consumer to be a participant in it.” By selecting Fair Trade Certified produce, consumers support companies that demonstrate responsibility to their workforce while also giving back to communities where the product came from. “It’s a complete cycle of goodness, and what better way to honor our most essential workers than by making the choice for fair trade?” states Crisantes.
At the family farms, farmworkers have invested in and maintained many impactful projects including medical and grocery vouchers, scholarship programs, community centers and a dental clinic among others.
“This has been our biggest year for Fair Trade,” states Crisantes, “and we are very grateful to our partners who have supported the program and sourced responsibly. We are a part of an essential industry and our farmworkers are the ones who help us bring food to the table especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Through this support, farmworkers were able to count on emergency funds for unforeseen needs resulting from the pandemic such as medical care, additional transportation, and even help cover emergency COVID-related funeral expenses for family members. The infrastructural projects also helped create a safety net as farmworkers sheltered in place during the earlier months of the pandemic.
Fair Trade community development at Wholesum has largely taken place through their innovation in the organic produce category. Many of their specialty organic produce offerings such as the Flavor Lineup, a collection of specialty snacking tomatoes, and Valentinos, their cocktail tomatoes, are only available under Fair Trade Certified terms. This means that every purchase of these items gives back to farming communities.
“With more product in the pipeline and exciting partnerships in the works, we are anticipating another great year for our Fair Trade program!” states Crisantes.
Wholesum, third generation family-owned and operated farms based in Southern Arizona are growers and distributors of Fair Trade, organic produce. With over 90 years of farming experience, Wholesum has been dedicated to continuous improvement along the supply chain through responsible sourcing, twenty plus years of organic growing, equitable labor practices and environmental protection. They are also pioneering in the fair trade movement as the first Fair Trade Certified farm in the US and partner with organic growers with the same mission and commitment. Through a combination of greenhouse and open field production, Wholesum provides a year-round supply of high-quality organic vegetables. More information is available at www.wh.farm.