It’s been just over a year since we launched Whole Trade Pineapple, featuring fresh fruit from just four farms in Costa Rica that meet our high quality standards and the high social and environmental standards of our Whole Trade Certifier partners at the Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade USA.
Much of our Whole Trade Organic pineapple comes from Finca Corsicana, an organic and Fair Trade Certified farm in northeast Costa Rica. Fair Trade requires that a part of our purchase price be passed through to a fund controlled directly by the workers on the farm. The workers vote on how to invest the money to benefit their communities.
When we launched the Whole Trade pineapple program, our contributions to this fund at Corsicana began accruing. One year and a lot of pineapples later, the farm workers at Corsicana are well on their way to breaking ground on their first community projects. We are in close contact with the farm and wanted to pass along this update.
At their annual meeting in January, the workers voted to use the Whole Trade contributions to develop a community building that will include a learning center with computers, a day care service and, eventually, a covered recreation area. In this part of Costa Rica, access to a computer may mean a long and expensive bus ride to a larger town. The learning center will offer a variety of classes including computer skills and English. It will be located next to the grade school, so that the children can take full advantage. Many of the workers at Corsicana are single parents who lack safe, affordable places to leave their younger children while they are at work. The day care center will be located close to the farm entrance, so parents can stop by on their way to and from work.
The update we just received included a few quotes from workers about the project:
- “I had to quit my English classes because it is not possible for me to go out to travel. Once the education center is open I will be able to learn English, written and spoken.”
- “I am a young mother. I will be able to receive classes from the learning center, while my son will be in good hands in the day care.”
- “We can continue on with our education program that we had to leave because of economical issues and the need to work.”
- “We are a lot of single mothers that work and we have to leave our children with others so they can take care of them, and pay them part of our salary. If the day care will open, things are going to change.”
Thanks to our customers who support this program by buying Whole Trade pineapple in our stores. Thanks to the growers whose hard work produces such sweet, organic fruit. We’re looking forward to seeing the projects mentioned above advance, and we’ll keep you posted.