GROW, Our Fair Trade Label

Here at Organics Unlimited, we believe that the healthiest and most sustainable tropical fruits are grown organically. Social responsibility is of our utmost priority which is why we developed a program that ensures true fair trade practices and not only helps provide high quality, organic produce to our consumers but also helps support the workers on our banana farms and people living in the surrounding communities.

 

What is GROW

In 2005, we developed GROW, a program that provides funding for various social responsibility programs and provides opportunities that create a better life for the workers on our banana farms and the people living in the surrounding communities. The families that live in the agricultural areas of Mexico and Ecuador typically live in poverty. GROW helps provide educational opportunities, dental and vision support, clean drinking water, discounted milk for growing children, and opportunities for small business owners and people who need it the most. We also take environmental sustainability seriously and feel it is our responsibility to farm using organic, sustainable methods to improve the environment, the health of our workers, and to provide the healthiest and tastiest produce for our consumers. On top of our own sustainable systems, we also provide funding for organizations that share our passion for preserving natural resources and creating a healthy environment for future generations.

 

 

Fairly Traded Bananas

Unlike other commonly known fair trade programs, GROW does not charge any fees to the growers and does not set minimum prices which often cause growers to lose bargaining power in market. The additional $0.60 paid per case by customers goes directly to the growing communities to provide much needed resources they would otherwise not have. 90% of the money we get from GROW funds go directly to community initiatives and 10% gets saved in our natural disaster fund. Our programs are breaking the cycle of poverty through much needed scholarships and we get regular feedback from our GROW scholars talking about the impact our program has had on their lives and communities.

banana farm

 

GROW Programs

At Organics Unlimited, we are dedicated to serving those in need and providing much needed opportunities for the workers on our banana farms and the surrounding communities. Social responsibility is the backbone of our company, which is why we developed the following programs within GROW:

 

Education

Education is very important to us, and unfortunately, attending school is a rare thing in rural areas of Mexico and Ecuador. We are honored to be able to give children from banana growing communities the opportunity to attend school. Our GROW program provides student housing, homework clubs, and scholarships to middle school, high school, and university students. 90% of GROW scholars graduate college and many become leaders within their communities.

 

Micro-Businesses

We teach young members of the community key business skills and how to form a business plan. We also provide micro-loans to enable them to create thriving businesses that will benefit their families and the communities they live in for years to come. In one instance, a young boy who was working on the streets as a clown was able to develop a business plan and secure a micro-loan through the program and now owns a successful clown business for children’s parties.

 

Disaster Relief Funds

We set aside a small portion of funds for immediate access when communities are impacted by natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes that can quickly devastate the communities affected by them. In recent years these funds provided relief to those affected by the 7.1 magnitude 2017 Mexico earthquake as well as helping those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

 

Health Care

We provide vision and dental clinics for readily available health care to the communities that don’t typically have medical resources like those.

 

Clean Water Program

Our GROW program provides filtering facilities, storage, and education to residents on appropriate drinking water practices.

 

Milk Program

We also provide fortified, powdered milk which families can buy at GROW study centers for 50% less than what the government charges. The distribution is part of a community service project for GROW scholars.

 

fresh organic bananas

 

Environmental Sustainability

Our goal is to help create an ecosystem that can continue to fill the needs of future generations, so making environmentally sustainable choices is very important to us. In 2015, in the wake of some devastating storms, Organics Unlimited set aside a portion of all GROW funds and created a disaster relief program. This money can be distributed quickly through established aid organizations in both Mexico and Ecuador. GROW also provided a grant to Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) in 2016. EHC is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving health and protecting the environment in communities in the San Diego and Tijuana region. That grant was the start of an ongoing partnership between GROW and the Environmental Health Coalition that will continue building for years to come.

 

We also make other efforts towards taking care of our environment by using river water or water from wells onsite that helps us avoid the need for artificial irrigation. We compost onsite that helps minimize waste and we use stalks and leaves from harvested bananas to care for our produce sustainably. At Organics Unlimited, we never use harsh chemicals and pesticides. Since our warehouse is in the San Diego/Tijuana region, we are the best local option for bananas in the US. Our harvest to warehouse cycle is only a few days compared to more common averages in the two-week range, which means fresher bananas and a much lower carbon footprint. Read more about our sustainability efforts here.

 

Not only do we care about providing the freshest and most delicious organic produce around, but we are constantly making efforts to help the people living in communities around our farms. Here at Organics Unlimited, we are continuously improving to exceed client expectations and produce the healthiest, freshest organic produce available.

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