Wholesum Shares 2022 Social and Environmental Responsibility Highlights in Annual Conscientious Company Report
AMADO, ARIZ., July 24, 2022 - Wholesum, leading growers and shippers of Fair Trade Certified, 100% organic farm-fresh vegetables, has released its annual Conscientious Company Report. The report highlights notable results in four areas for the calendar year 2022: organic integrity, responsible agriculture, Fair Trade impact, and advancement towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of gender equality and responsible consumption and production.
“Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand,” states Ricardo Crisantes, “and we are constantly seeking and implementing new ways that we can achieve greater impact at our farms.” In 2022, the farms experienced notable highlights stemming from new implementations and capabilities.
In 2022, the company continued its production of 100% organic produce, expanding these operations by 6 acres of energy-efficient greenhouses built in Sonora, MX. An expanded integrated pest management program led to the production of 960,000 lady bugs in their in-house production lab, which helps deter pests such as aphids. Furthermore, Wholesum launched an exciting new endeavor in organic seed production, producing organic pepper and cucumber seeds in-house on their new organic seed farm. Additionally, they partnered with 2 new growers contributing a total of 263 acres of organic production and 64,709 labor hours to manual pest control, showcasing their commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural practices.
“Responsible agriculture is about how we can grow more produce with less, bringing new efficiencies in our operations so that we can use our resources more mindfully.” In 2022, the company recirculated 30.2% of irrigation water used in its Arizona farm, an improvement from the 16% that was recirculated in 2021 after implementing a more robust water cleaning system that kills any bacteria but refeeds nutrients to the crops with compost tea for greater biological activity in the plants. The farm grows organic tomatoes on the vine, beefsteak, cocktail, and heirloom tomatoes, bringing US sustainably grown products for local programs. One of the highlights from 2022 was the installation of new solar panel systems to displace 36% of the energy used at Wholesum’s Nogales distribution center. This number is expected to increase in 2023 as the panels are put to use to the fullest.
Fair Trade Impact:
Fair Trade is a cornerstone of Wholesum’s operations. In 2022, the company celebrated 10 years of certification through Fair Trade USA. The purpose of this certification is to bring equity, empowerment, and uplift to farming communities. Since its inception through the end of 2022, the program generated $9.1 million in community development funds that have gone back to farmworkers to invest in projects that address needs such as access to education, nutrition, health care, infrastructure, recreation, and much more. In 2022, the company celebrated this achievement with a company-wide festival highlighting impact front and center through employee testimonials, unveiling a new mural, and local vendor participation. The event brought together Wholesum employees, family, industry partners, and community members to commemorate the 10 years of the company’s Fair Trade certification.
UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Wholesum's commitment to gender equality is evident in the launch of their new Preventative Health Clinics, addressing gender-specific issues within the farm community. These clinics empower women and promote work-life balance, providing vital resources to enhance the well-being of all employees and foster a healthier, more equitable society. Additionally, Wholesum made significant strides in sustainability by ensuring that 72% of their packaging material in 2022 was renewable. Implementing closed loop systems like RPCs and CHEP pallets extended the life cycle of the remaining 28%. Looking ahead, the company aims to assess the impact of these initiatives and explore sustainable alternatives for nonrenewable sources, pursuing a greener and more environmentally conscious approach to packaging their produce.
"We are very proud of the work we do and acknowledge areas of opportunity for the future," said Ricardo Crisantes, Chief Commercial Officer of Wholesum. “Our dedication to excellence remains at the core of our mission, and we are excited to continue making a positive difference in the lives of our stakeholders and the community we serve.”
Wholesum is a third-generation family farming operation based in Southern Arizona and growers/shippers of Fair Trade Certified, 100% organic produce. With over 90 years of farming experience, Wholesum has been dedicated to creating a more noble food system that puts people and the planet first through responsible sourcing, equitable labor practices and environmental protection. Through deep industry knowledge and innovation, Wholesum is positioned as leaders in the organic industry and pioneers in fair trade produce. Through a combination of greenhouse and open field production, Wholesum provides a year-round supply of high-quality organic vegetables. More information is available at www.wh.farm.