Celebrating Farmworkers Through Simple Purchases
Rethinking the way we shop this Farmworker Awareness Week
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of our daily diet. They provide us with nutrients, reduce our risk of certain diseases, and they taste delicious!
Because fruits and veggies are such a staple, it's easy to forget that behind each tomato, pineapple and grape is a person, a farmer or worker with a family and community. It's a connection we must strive to remember, because without these people it would be pretty hard for the world to eat.
With National Farmworker Awareness Week running March 24-31, ending on Cesar Chavez Day, we'd like to take a moment to recognize the many farmerworkers who feed us daily.
Meet Maribel Rodriguez. She is a twenty-year-old mother to a seven-month old, and has been working at Wholesum Harvest, a Fair Trade Certified™ tomato, eggplant, squash and cucumber producer in Northern Mexico, for about six months. Because her mother was also a Wholesum Harvest employee, Maribel was able to receive a scholarship to attend high school in Imuris, Mexico when she was younger. This scholarship was made possible by the Fair Trade Premium Fund, an additional amount of money that farmworkers earn for every Fair Trade Certified purchase. At Fair Trade farms worldwide, workers democratically designate this money to address critical community needs, like heathcare, food and water access, and education.
For many years Wholesum Harvest had two Fair Trade Certified farms in Mexico. In late 2016 Wholesum received certification for a third operation in Amado, Arizona. The Amado farm is the first produce grower in the U.S. to earn Fair Trade certification, extending the benefits of Fair Trade to hundreds of farmworkers and their families.
Purchasing Fair Trade Certified™ products is an easy and important way to support Maribel, the nearly 40,000 other farmworkers in Mexico and now the U.S., and thousands of others around the world. When you see products with the Fair Trade seal, you know they were made in ways that protect and empower farmworkers, allowing them to shape their own communities as they see fit. This is the true power of Fair Trade.
"The Fair Trade program has provided numerous useful benefits, like transportation, scholarships and the store,” says Maribel. “Please make sure you keep buying our products, the quality is top notch!"
Thank you, Maribel, and thanks to all of the other amazing farmworkers out there for all the work that you do!