Episode 83: Alex and Iris Madrigal
Jan 29, 2020, Updated May 23, 2021
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The Produce Moms Podcast
Located in Sonora, Mexico, the mountainous region extending from northern Mexico to southern Arizona, Covilli Brand Organics was formed in 1965 as of Terry Poiriez’s pursuit to do things right and take no shortcuts.
Long before organic produce was a thing, Terry and his co-founders were growing food, free of harmful pesticides, chemicals, additives and genetic modification. From the beginning, they believed it was the right thing to do for consumers, farmworkers and the planet.
As a second-generation grower, his son, Alex Madrigal, is now President of Covilli Brand Organics. Alex’s wife, Iris is the Marketing Manager as they continue to grow and build Terry Poiriez’s legacy and brand.
First Company to be 100% Organic and 100% Fair Trade
After an extensive process, Covilli Brand Organics obtained Fair Trade Certified ™ status from Fair Trade USA in 2015.
Fair Trade is a program that seeks to empower family farmers and workers around the world while enriching the lives of those struggling in poverty.
It goes beyond community development. They obtain both financial literacy and employment literacy. Helping workers understand what their rights are as employees.
For every pound of produce sold, farmworkers earn an additional income earmarked for critical community projects like education and healthcare.
“$800,000 in community development premiums is what the products grown by Covilli has been able to produce through the Fair Trade certification and programming.” – Lori Taylor (7:34-7:47)
To use the Community Development Fund, workers form a Fair Trade Committee; elected amongst themselves. The workers at Covilli chose to call their Committee Nuchi Sansekan, meaning all together in Nahuatl. This name signifies that only by working together can a community attain its goals and true purpose.
Taking care of workers needs
After the Fair Trade Committee was formed, a basic needs poll was conducted to determine the needs of the workers and their families. Covilli’s Nachi Sansekan, conducted in-depth personal interviews with over 450 workers. It was concluded that health was a primary need of the workers and their families. Based on these results, workers were offered several Community Project ideas.
One of the largest projects was a health clinic which was inaugurated in January 2019. The clinic was fully funded by Fair Trade Premium Dollars collected from the sale of Covilli Brand Organics Fair Trade Certified™ products and managed by Nuchi Sansekan. The clinic offers general primary and preventative care services for men, women and children; as well as general dentistry services.
Today, Covilli’s Farm, Agricola Ciari in Guaymas, Mexico, grows the Covilli brand’s core items (warm weather crops) in multiple varietals: tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, green beans, peppers, peas, cucumbers and brussels sprouts. All of these crops and the farm are certified organic and fair-trade.
Look for these items in your local grocer and remember, if you don’t see something you want, feel free to request it from the produce manager.
How to get involved
- To learn more about Covilli Brand Organics click here.
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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