Workers at a tomato farm in Nogales, Ariz., got a check this month for more than $30,000. And they expect more money to come.
The approximately 130 workers of Wholesum Harvest are still deciding how to spend the money, but they say their initial priorities include subsidizing transportation, recreation areas and medical insurance.
Located just north of the Mexican border, the family-owned Wholesum Harvest is the first farm in the United States to receive certification from Fair Trade USA, which means it has demonstrated compliance with a checklist of more than 300 standards detailing working conditions and environmental protection.
Every fair-trade purchase involves a small financial premium paid by retailers and, ultimately, consumers. As the funds from these premiums accumulate, workers receive distribution checks and organize into committees to decide how best to spend the money.