PRESS RELEASEWhat Ten Years of Fair Trade Certification Looks Like at Wholesum

AMADO, ARIZ., August 15, 2022 — Wholesum, Fair Trade Certified growers and shippers of organic fresh produce, announces their ten-year anniversary of Fair Trade Certification. As a value-driven company, Wholesum has always maintained a strong commitment to people and the planet through responsible practices including 100% 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% organic farming to grow healthier products for our consumers, create safer environments for our workers, and lessen our impact on the planet.  When we heard about how coffee workers were benefiting from the fair trade model, we explored the framework and found it to be a natural next step for us in our journey of responsible growing,” states 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 (additional money that goes back to the workforce through the sale of Fair Trade Certified products) for community improvements of all kinds.”Handshake in a tomato greenhouse

In 10 years, the impact of the fair trade program at Wholesum has translated to:

  • Over $7.7 million generated in Community Development Funds to invest in community projects that address community needs such as education, housing and healthcare.
  • Three Fair Trade Certified family farms including two in Mexico and one in Arizona, making the farm in Arizona the first Fair Trade Certified farm in the US.
  • Thousands of employees benefitting from projects across the family farms.
  • 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 an entire 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 and have created impact in their communities.
  • 67% of produce sold under Fair Trade Certified terms in 2021 as consumers become more conscientious and seek more responsibly grown produce options.Young girl reading a children's book

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, CA 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 are deeply humbled when others approach us to learn about the process, the challenges and the successes,” states Crisantes. “We believe that there is strength in numbers and the more who subscribe to this framework, the more we can transmit the significance of ethically grown produce. We are always open to share our story and open the door to our farms to those who want to learn more.”

Photos from the customer appreciation event can be found in here:

A thank you message from Wholesum’s workforce can be found here: