Each March, agricultural companies take a moment to appreciate their workforce in celebration of Farm Worker Awareness Week. For Divine Flavor and its mothership company, Grupo Alta, this week is especially important as both companies put a huge emphasis on embracing their workforce with excellent social programs.
Grupo Alta in Mexico has been producing grapes for more than 30 years. Within that time, it became one of the first Fair Trade Certified™ farms in Mexico helping generate more than 6.5 million dollars in Community Development Funds from the Divine Flavor group. The Community Development Funds have been allocated to various community projects.
Luis Carlos Romo Badilla has been with Grupo Alta for five years and has worked side by side with his mother, Maria Jesus Badilla Lopez, who operates as Pozo Manuel’s field supervisor during grape season.
At one of Grupo Alta’s largest vineyards, Pozo Manuel, employee Luis Carlos Romo Badilla is one of the production coordinators and also assists as the right hand to the main facility manager. Luis’ mother, Maria Jesus Badilla Lopez, has been working for Pozo Manuel as a field supervisor since 2012.
While Luis was finishing his degree in horticulture, his mother got him an interview at Grupo Alta, and soon after, his employment in the company started. It was at this time that the fair trade committee at Pozo Manuel elected to allocate Community Development Funds towards scholarship programs for some of the workers or worker’s children attending university.
“In my third year of university, I received a scholarship from Grupo Alta,” said Romo Badilla. “I remember meeting engineer Alan Aguirre (CEO and president of Divine Flavor/Grupo Alta) and he told me I could keep the scholarship until I finished but the only condition was I kept good grades.”
Divine Flavor and Grupo Alta both put a huge emphasis on embracing their workforce with excellent social programs.
Romo Badilla has been with Grupo Alta for five years and has worked side by side with his mother who continues operating as Pozo Manuel’s field supervisor during grape season. “My family is everything to me. There are not enough words to express my gratitude I have for my parents,” said Romo Badilla. “She’s 65 and she continues to work in this beautiful profession and sets an example for all of us each day.”
Each season, the farms of Grupo Alta employ more than 5,000 people. Each location is audited and certified by Fair Trade, a company who oversees that businesses or farm companies are implementing/complying with social, economic and environmental protection standards.
“We are proud to acknowledge our workforce,” said Michael DuPuis, quality assurance and public relations manager of Divine Flavor. “There are many stories like this within our industry and it's these types of stories which provide hope, clarity and sustainability for our industry.”
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