On Friday, Dec. 2, Wholesum, the Fair Trade-certified grower and shipper of organic farm-fresh vegetables based in Amado, AZ, celebrated 10 years of Fair Trade certification at its first-ever festival highlighting the themes of community, art and impact at its farm in Sonora, Mexico.
Ricardo Crisantes, Chief Commercial Officer, Wholesum
This was a celebration of the positive changes and growth the Fair Trade program has catalyzed in Wholesum’s farmworker community. The event titled, “Semillitas” (or “Little Seeds” in Spanish) captured the spirit of how the investments Wholesum makes today pays dividends for future generations.
The event brought together Wholesum employees, family, industry partners and community members. Special guest Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA, addressed those in attendance with a motivational speech. Inspired by his vision of empowering communities through trade and commerce actualized before him, he presented recognition to Wholesum’s current and past committee members.
There was a slew of other events lined up all afternoon to keep excitement and momentum among attendees, beginning with the ribbon cutting at the farm’s latest Fair Trade project, a public kiosk in the community plaza.
“In Mexico, kiosks are cherished spaces where people meet friends, take walks with family, and on special occasions listen to live music,” said Jesus Tabanico, Fair Trade Committee Secretary.
“These spaces bring moments of joy and heighten the connection not only with the community but to culture and art,” added Farm Director Francisco Landell.
The ribbon cutting was followed by the unveiling of a new mural commissioned by Wholesum through Fair Trade Community Development Funds. Proudly on display in the Los Janos community, the mural was painted by local Sonoran artist Juan Manuel Soto Leyva on the outer wall of the local soccer field. The mural captures the themes of community, growth and agriculture, creating a sense of identity and cohesion for the locals and adding life to the space.
Local restaurants, non-profits and small business owners were invited to participate in a vendor market where they could set up their booth to sell and showcase their crafts or products. On the main stage, dance and music performances made for great entertainment throughout the evening.
Ricardo and Theojary Crisantes, brothers and co-owners of Wholesum, also took to the stage to address the farmworkers.
“If this is what can be achieved in 10 years, imagine what is possible in the next 10!” said Ricardo, Chief Commercial Officer, as he motivated workers to think about the future. “This is your movement, this is your work, we are your partners, but you are the stars.”
Fair Trade is a form of equitable business, setting standards that protect the livelihood of farmers and other producer communities as well as the environment.
Complying with a rigorous set of standards that ensure worker equity and empowerment, Wholesum obtained certification in 2012 through third-party certifier Fair Trade USA. Since then, Wholesum’s farming communities have received over $8 million in Community Development Funds generated by sales of Fair Trade produce. These funds help address needs and challenges faced by community members in Wholesum’s producing regions including access to education and health services, nutrition, transportation, recreation and much more.
In this 10-year period, not only have these funds helped build the infrastructure for entire communities of workers, but they have also created a place to call home for families with the hope for a better future.
Wholesum also recognized sponsors Agripacking and Fast Acrylic for their support of this event.