(Nov. 15) A group of natural food retailers from PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, and New Seasons Markets, Portland, Ore., made a recent visit to Colima, Mexico, to see the work that Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers is achieving in growing communities.

GROW is a program of Organics Unlimited, a San Diego, Calif., based distributor of organic tropical fruits from Mexico and South America.

The purpose of the trip was to teach retailers about how organic bananas are grown and to appreciate the work done by GROW.

The visitors inspected fields and packing facilities for bananas to gain a better understanding of the procedures used by Organics Unlimited in protecting quality.

“Retailers and wholesale distributors buy the GROW label at 60 cents per a 40 pound-box and we make sure the funds go to the right place,” said Mayra Velazquez de León, president of Organics Unlimited. “We cut the check to (the International Community Foundation), a nonprofit organization based in San Diego, Calif., and with the money acquired they help people in need in Latin America. This is made through other nonprofit associations, so we make sure everything is clear.”

People from retailers and wholesalers that sold the most GROW bananas from September to December 2006 were selected to go on the trip, she said.

“We were able to meet the skilled harvesters and packers of GROW bananas, as well as witness the positive impact our contributions have made improving their lives and providing resources for their communities,” said Joe Hardiman, produce merchandiser for PCC Natural Markets.