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Covilli is 100% Committed to Organic and Their Farm Workers

This past weekend we traveled to visit Covilli Farm in Guaymas, Sonora Mexico.  The farm is situated in a large, open valley, Valle de Empalme, about 30 minutes inland from the Gulf of California with a surrounding ecology of Sonoran desert with Mesquite trees & cacti dominating the flora.  The total acreage of the farm is approximately 2000 acres with 1000 acres currently in rotational production.  Small villages in the area are known as ‘ejidos’.  Ejidos are communally owned townships & agricultural lands that are an important component of land reformation in post-revolution Mexico.  Covilli farms land that was purchased from the adjacent ejido of Triunfo de Santa Rosa.  Production was at a peak upon our visit with a wide variety of vegetable crops in various states of growth including; several types & varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, brussels sprouts and squash.  The whole operation was clean and impressive with 100% of the crops grown from certified organic seeds.

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Anthony Mirisciotta, Veg Buyer for Earl’s Organic with Alex Madrigal, Owner and President of Covilli Brand Organics.

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Zucchini plants grown in a green house.

An important part of Covilli’s soil fertility program is their staunch commitment to composting.  All of the green waste at the farm is composted along with local straw and shredded, untreated pallets that have had their nails laboriously removed.  They add up to 20 tons of compost per acre and make it year round.  A vermicomposting (worm) program and bat guano from caves in southern Mexico help foster soil fertility.

Lastly, we toured through the packing shed.  It was alive with brussels sprouts, zucchini & green beans coming in from the fields for hydro-cooling and packaging.  This farm depends on a lot of people from germination to harvest and the packing shed was no exception.  Even though it was a holiday weekend the place was a bustle.  We visited the farm on a Saturday which is also payday.  The laborers get paid in cash which is delivered via armored vehicle.  We saw convoys of local & federal police on the surrounding roads that were there to protect this process and the vast amounts of cash that was being distributed to the workers in the area.

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Fair Trade Premiums at Work

After a quick lunch under well-established neem trees (planted to repel insects) we toured the Fair Trade projects.  The first was a van that the workers bought to help them get to and from appointments in neighboring towns.  Second, was a health clinic that was under construction.  Once completed, the workers will have a dentist, general practitioner and social worker that is all paid for with Fair trade premiums.  Lastly we visited a large, open-air dining hall.  Here the workers have access to two meals a day.  These projects are legit with impacts that could be seen and felt.  Covilli also provides housing, water and cooking gas free of charge so that the workers can keep as much of their pay to take back home to their extended families at the end of the seasons.

Construction on the Health Clinic is Moving Fast!

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New 15 passenger van to bring patients to the clinic or hospital. Also used to transport workers and family members for scheduled doctor visits.

Overall the farm, operation and fair trade projects were totally amazing. Their commitment to organic production and the laborers involved is nearly unparalleled and our support ensures that over 700 farm workers have a safe, healthy place to live and work. 

 

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