Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Village Farms features two long-term employees from the Netherlands

Village Farms Fresh has been growing in greenhouses in North America for the past 35 years. The company operates high-tech growing facilities in West Texas, USA, as well as facilities in British Columbia, Canada. It also has partner growers throughout Mexico and in all, the company has almost 500 acres in total of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) greenhouse facilities producing tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper varietals.

One characteristic the company is proud of is its employee retention rate. Among its 1,500 employees, there are more than a few individuals who have been with Village Farms Fresh since the company was founded in 1989. Two employees who have been with Village Farms for over 26 years and are responsible for the company's farms in British Columbia and Texas are Dirk de Jong and Arie van der Giessen. Both have an interesting history with the company since they immigrated together from their home country of the Netherlands, the birthplace of high-tech greenhouse agriculture, to the USA.

"I was raised in a greenhouse. My mom and dad had a small family farm, and along with my brothers and sisters, we all pitched in to do everything that was needed in the greenhouse," said De Jong, vice president, regional facility manager in BC. "I have been around plants and greenhouses since I could first walk."

Left to right: Dirk de Jong and Arie van der Giessen

Van der Giessen, vice president, regional facility manager for Marfa & Fort Davis, Texas says his father had a small farm and he remembers always being in the greenhouse from the time he was a child. "Back in the early days, we did not have the convenience of the automation we have today in greenhouse growing, and this has evolved tremendously, creating efficiencies in labor, plant health, and food safety," he says.

One such development is an AI tool that predicts optimum climate conditions in the greenhouse for autonomous growing by Crop Controller Blue Radix. This technology helps in precisely controlling the greenhouse environment, optimizing temperature, humidity, and light conditions to maximize plant health and yield while minimizing resource use.

Village Farms Fresh's focus on innovation is not limited to technology alone. The company engages in sustainable practices, such as water recycling systems and integrated pest management, reducing the environmental footprint of its operations. Village Farms Fresh was recently recognized as a "Giga Guru" by its retail partner Walmart as part of its carbon reduction initiative called Project Gigaton.

Moreover, the company's dedication to its employees is reflected in its training programs and career development opportunities. These programs equip employees with the skills needed to excel in modern greenhouse management, emphasizing both traditional agricultural knowledge and the latest technological advancements. This holistic approach ensures that the workforce remains competent, motivated, and aligned with the company's vision of sustainable and innovative agriculture.

For more information:
Helen L. Aquino
Village Farms International Inc.
Tel.: +1 (407) 936-1190

Publication date: