This year marks the beginning of a new chapter for Lago Verde, an organic apple and pear orchard in the Rio Negro Valley of Argentina. With the help of partner importers, Patagonia Organics and Bridges Organic Produce, and nonprofit certifier Fair Trade USA, Lago Verde will market their organic apples and pears as Fair Trade certified for the first time this year.
Organic Green Bartlett, Packham Triumph, D´Anjou, and Abate Fetel pears and Royal Gala, Cripps Pink and Red Delicious apples will be available during the season running from mid-March to June.
Lago Verde is owned and operated by Hugo Sanchez and his son Nicolas. This family run business has always focused on individual development and the wellbeing of their workers and community. Due to the increase of man hours required during harvest and packing, they employ both seasonal and fulltime workers. Their workforce is made up of a mixture of local and migrant workers from other parts of Argentina and South America. Over the years, they have dedicated funds to schools, healthcare, upgrading homes and religious activities in their local community and in nearby native villages.
Comprehensive Fair Trade standards ensure that both full time and seasonal workers earn better wages, work in safe conditions and enjoy freedom of association as well as encouraging environmental stewardship.
It is the commitment to their workers and local community that has inspired Hugo and his son Nicolas to become Fair Trade Certified. “Fair Trade will allow them to further the work they have already begun” said Ben Johnson, President of Bridges Produce.
Each 40 lb. box of apples and pears will have a premium of $1.64, 100% of this will be returned to the Lago Verde Fair Trade Worker Committee. This money will not only continue to improve the lives of their workers, but will encourage worker empowerment as they are able to prioritize and oversee projects that hold importance to them.
“Apples and pears are some of the most widely consumed fruits in the United States, but until now there has never been a Fair Trade Certified option,” said Hannah Freeman, Senior Director of Produce and Floral at Fair Trade USA. “We’re proud to partner with Lago Verde to bring these products to market, empowering farmworkers to build sustainable livelihoods for their families and communities.”
Patagonia Organics, an importer of organic produce, has worked with Lago Verde since 2006, “We are excited to be at the forefront of this Fair Trade movement in Argentina and hope it will lead the way for others.” said founder and owner, Fernando von Winterhalder.
This will be the second Fair Trade program for Bridges Produce, who also partner with Rico Farms to sell Fair Trade row crops from Hermosillo, Mexico. “Fair Trade is in the spirit of the original organic movement, to create a better world for all stakeholders”
If you would like to know more about our Fairtrade products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org