Organics Unlimited Celebrates 20 Years
- by Lilian Diep
SAN DIEGO, CA - Twenty years ago, Mayra and Manuel Velazquez de León, Co-Owners and Founders of Organics Unlimited, first founded the organic banana company with a mission to care for the people and communities it touches. Five years later, Mayra and Manuel added its proprietary program, GROW, as another way to keep our planet sustainable and thriving. With the initiative and company celebrating 15 and 20 years respectively, I tapped Daniella Velazquez de León, Logistics Manager and daughter of Mayra and Manuel, to hear what GROW is all about today.
“The program was created with the purpose of offering a better quality of life for not only the workers on our farms but for the banana-growing communities as a whole,” Daniella explained to me. “It is a fully transparent program where $0.60 of every box sold goes to the fund and supports programs such as scholarships, vision and dental clinics, clean water programs, malnutrition recovery, and disaster relief.”
GROW is unique in that it guarantees fair market wages, includes full benefits for workers, and provides a healthy working environment. Organics Unlimited supports its small growers through year-long contracts for their supply, allowing growers to retain autonomy and independence while receiving support through the company’s expert team on-site.
“To date, we’ve contributed nearly $1.8 million in funding, and we’d love to break the $2 million mark in celebration of our 15th anniversary,” Daniella continued. “Our biggest goal is to continue to spread awareness of the program so people know that when they are choosing to buy a GROW banana, they are buying a banana that was traded fairly, supporting small growers, and helping to break the cycle of poverty in growing regions through the power of education and healthcare.”
With a wholesome label and an easy way to support local and international growers, it’s no wonder that the organic banana pioneer is seeing strong demand in the organic industry. Daniella highlights that educating shoppers is key in ensuring small growers, locally and abroad, continue to receive fair prices for their contributions.
Now that the company has reached its 20-year milestone, I had to ask what Organics Unlimited plans on tackling next.
“With 20 years under our belt, we feel empowered to explore new exciting avenues,” Daniella stated. “It is too soon to share, but there are creative ideas brewing!”
To find out more about the program, click here. As more sustainability initiatives come to life in the fresh produce world, AndNowUKnow will continue to report.