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2024 Farmworker of the Year named

Maria de Sagrario Iglesias of FirstFruits Farms is the winner of the inaugural Grow the Good Farmworker of the Year Award, a program recognizing the contributions of farmworkers in the fresh produce industry.

Despite being the backbone of food systems, the efforts and accomplishments of farmworkers often go unnoticed. Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), championed this new award and found a willing partner in The Packer through its People First initiative. EFI advocated for this initiative to celebrate these essential workers. While the industry frequently honors marketers, retailers, growers and top producers, the millions of farmworkers behind the scenes have not received the recognition they deserve – until now.

"We cannot overstate the significance of farmworkers to our food system," said LeAnne Ruzzamenti, director of marketing communications for EFI. "This award is a step toward giving them the recognition and appreciation for the essential role they play."

Maria de Sagrario Iglesias of FirstFruits Farms.

Selected from more than 40 nominations, de Sagrario Iglesias was selected as one of five finalists whose nomination highlighted the nominees' consistent diligence, motivation, influence, eagerness to share knowledge, willingness to learn, positive attitude, resilience, and dedication to supporting others' growth – both inside and outside of their companies.

She has dedicated her 35 years in agriculture to working with FirstFruits Farms. Throughout her career, she has worked in various roles, from planting and nursery to picking, pruning, and packing. Her experience has provided her with the opportunity to train many of her coworkers, who report that she is known for her willingness to lead and share insights. Those who nominated her noted that her commitment to others extends beyond her professional duties as she frequently volunteers her time to fundraise for coworkers and community members in need. In addition to organizing support for her community in the United States, she has also coordinated clothing drives for an orphanage in her hometown in Mexico, and personally delivers these donations on her visits.

Heartfelt congratulations are extended to Maria de Sagrario Iglesias and her fellow finalists: Andres Aguilar of Stemilt Growers, Crisanta Morales of Wholesum Family Farms, Eduardo Avina of Misionero, and José Luis Segura of Mastronardi Produce.

For more information:
LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti
Equitable Food Initiative
Tel.: +1 (202) 524-0540
[email protected]

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