Mexico’s Rio Rico Farms stresses social programs for workers

Mexico’s Rio Rico Farms stresses social programs for workers

Rio Rico Farms, Hermosillo, Mexico, which supplies Bridges Produce Inc., Portland, Ore., with organic vegetables, views social programs as a way to change workers’ lives on and off the farm.

The three Rio Rico Farms locations, owned and operated by the Tapia family, grow and ship vegetables during a season that runs October through May.

The workers benefit from the Rico Farms Foundation and Fair Trade products that pay for projects in farming communities, according to a news release.

“We don’t just want better employees; we want the workers to be better people in our community and to provide better opportunities for all our workers,” Rico Farms operations director Jacobo Yanes said in the release.

This year, a fair trade program has allowed 850 workers to upgrade and repair homes, and expanded education services to include five levels of education/training, according to the release.

“We did not have this educational opportunity back home where we live,” farm employee Samuel Hernandez said in the release. “We are also receiving materials to fix our houses because of this great fair trade program. We want to continue working here so more people can benefit.” 

Ben Johnson, president of Bridges Produce, said the role of workers is often overlooked in the supply chain.

“The Rico Farms is dedicated to improving the lives of their workers and their community,” Johnson said in the release. “Rico Farms is wonderful example of Bridges greater mission, to enable all stakeholders to thrive.” 

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Bridges Organic Produce grower now Fair Trade