Wholesum, Amado, Ariz., reached a milestone at the start of 2019, by raising more than $3 million in the past five years to reinvest in its farms and workers.
The company, which has greenhouses and open-field farms in southern Arizona, generated the community development funds from the sales of Wholesum’s Fair Trade produce, according to a news release — and $1 million of that amount was raised in 2018.
“What makes this (Fair Trade) certification so remarkable is the fact that 100% of community development funds generated from the sale of Fair Trade produce go back to our workers and helps them tackle needs such as healthcare, housing and education,” Ricardo Crisantes, Wholesum’s chief commercial officer, said in the release. “The workers vote on how these funds are allocated, and that in itself is very empowering.”
Wholesum’s expansion and innovation in the organic produce category helped raise the funds, according to the release. In 2018, Wholesum introduced organic strawberries and blueberries into what had been an all-vegetable organic repertoire. Through partnerships with organic berry growers with the same vision and commitment, Wholesum plans to introduce organic blackberries and cranberries this year.
The company will also add 1-pound compartmentalized packs of kaleidos, a medley of red, yellow, orange and brown artisanal snacking tomatoes, to its organic tomato line.
“We are very excited for the upcoming additions and innovations in 2019, and we look forward to giving back to our workers, who really are the foundation for everything we do at Wholesum,” Crisantes said in the release.