BLOGPeople Behind the Produce Series: Meet Cruz Laborin, Nurturer and Leader

In this series titled “People Behind the Produce,” we delve deeper into the intricacies of our farm’s ecosystem, shedding light on the lives and accomplishments of people who have made an impact at Wholesum. After all, it’s the people behind the scenes who infuse our farm with life, passion, and purpose.

The person we would like to highlight today as part of this series might not be a farmworker in the traditional sense, but someone whose contributions have been equally valuable to the company, her community and her family. This is not just through her work, but also by harnessing the power of fair trade, embodying empowerment and demonstrating her potential.

Meet Cruz Laborin.

Cruz receives a recognition certificate from the school board for her role in constructing the new lunchroom

Cruz is a resident of Los Janos, the community that is home to Wholesum Farms Sonora. She began her tenure at Wholesum in 2015, following her husband’s footsteps, a long-time maintenance worker at the company. She entered the workforce as a caretaker at the company’s daycare center, nurturing the children of our farmworkers, providing them with a safe haven where they can thrive while their parents tend to the crops.

Cruz has always been vocal, engaged and motivated to make a difference. These qualities made themselves further known when in 2018, she was elected to serve the fair trade committee as president. As the new committee president, she would become the voice of the workers in shaping the future of their community.

In this role, Cruz discovered untapped leadership skills within herself, and among her accomplishments, she elevated the impact of the fair trade nutrition program. This project aims at providing healthy meals for young children at the company daycare and community grade schools. “Before this project, parents would drop off their children, often without having eaten breakfast and this would affect their motivation, effort, health, and ultimately, their school performance,” she states. With the program in place, parents can drop off their children with the reassurance that they would be fed nutritious meals while at school or under care at no charge.

However, the impact of this project does not end there. Under her leadership, the committee partnered with donors, government agencies and volunteers to build a new lunchroom for a local Los Janos kindergarten, making this the third fair trade premium funded lunchroom in Los Janos. With the number of children increasing, Cruz has had to maximize her budget dollars, seeking support from supplemental government programs and fostering relationships with food suppliers. She also vouched to expand program funding to employ professional nutritionists to help educate both lunchroom staff and parents on proper nutrition for their children with free consultations that target each individual child’s needs. Today, this program impacts over 360 students each year.

Cruz’s journey as president also opened doors for her professional development. Through workshops and training programs, she honed her organizational, communication and managerial skills, emerging as a confident leader! Coming out of her service as committee president, she was promoted to supervisor of the company daycare center, ready to tackle challenges and bring about more positive change. Under her team’s care, there are over 130 children, all of whom receive the proper care and nutrition from Cruz’s well-trained, professional and nurturing staff.

school children plant a flower
Children celebrate in a ribbon cutting ceremony of the new lunchroom

Cruz admits that a large inspiration in her personal career growth journey were her two children and her desire to provide a good life for them. In that, she succeeded. Cruz’s older daughter, Paulina (23) navigated the educational landscape, eventually realizing her dream of becoming a criminologist. She is now on the path to obtaining a postgraduate degree in the field. When Cruz talks about her daughter’s journey, she feels a profound sense of pride and gratitude. Her son, Emanuel (16) is on a similar path, and looks forward to continue on to college after graduating high school.

Cruz’s story is a reflection of the potential within every individual. From a caretaker with a nurturing spirit to the president of the fair trade committee and now a supervisor with a postgraduate daughter, Cruz’s journey encapsulates the essence of empowerment and community upliftment.

children eating at daycare
Snacktime at the daycare center!