Tag Archives: GROW by Organics Unlimited

Support Volunteer Opportunities with GROW Bananas

Recognize Those that Volunteer and Support GROW

Celebrate those that volunteer on April 20 for Volunteer Recognition Day. Organics Unlimited held a contest for one lucky winner to receive a paid volunteer trip experience with Project Amigo in Colima, Mexico, one of the major funds recipients of GROW. This March, Karla “Sam” Gonzalez, the winner visited Cofradía de Suchitlán, a small village in Colima; to partake in the Literacy and Environment week with Project Amigo. We would like share Sam’s story with you, and you can learn more about her experience after the jump.  Continue reading

GROW Scholar Takes Leadership Role at Organics Unlimited

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (March 18, 2014) – Alberto Ramirez Rivera, former GROW scholar who graduated in 2012 from the University of Colima with a major in agronomy, has recently joined the farming operations of Organics Unlimited. Ramirez is the new general manager of production at Rancho El Tesoro, the company-owned banana farms in southern Mexico.

“We are excited to have Alberto as a part of our growing team in Mexico,” said Organics Unlimited President Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “He was an outstanding student and a natural leader from the time he joined the GROW program in junior high school. When the position became available, we sought him out based on what we had previously seen with his interest and commitment both to our program and with his work ethic.”

Beto, Production Manager

In his new position, Ramirez is responsible for the quality of the fruit, from planting through harvesting. This includes the application of organic fertilizers, protection from pests and quality control at harvest. “Throughout my studies I have had a passion for organic growing and the benefits for both the workers and the environment,” said Ramirez. “I am very proud to be part of this great organization.” Ramirez worked as a young boy on banana farms in the local area, and is one of 44 students who have now completed university studies through the GROW program.

The GROW program was started by Organics Unlimited in 2005 to help the communities in the areas where their bananas are grown. Since that time, the program has provided over $750,000 for programs in Mexico and Ecuador that cover a variety of social issues: education from elementary to university level students, safe drinking water, vision clinics, dental clinics and early childhood education. All funding for GROW is through a small surcharge on the sale of GROW bananas.

17 Fun Alternative Uses of Bananas for Kids

17 Fun Alternative Uses for Bananas for Kids

Did you know there are many alternative uses bananas other than eating them? That’s because bananas are a super fruit with so many interesting qualities and characteristics that cannot be contained; it’s ripe with opportunity to be used for more than just sustenance. Although eating nutritious and delicious bananas the biggest selling point in stores, try these 17 fun alternatives for bananas that kids will be interested in. Continue reading

GROWing Outside of the Classroom with Project Amigo

GROWing Outside of the Classroom with Project Amigo

This past January, volunteers from the Project Amigo English as a Second Language Work Week assisted nearly 30 Project Amigo staff members and scholarship students on a day trip with 111 kids at La Boquita in Manzanillo. They plan to make this trip again this February. Continue reading

Early Childhood Education Program is GROWing in Ecuador

Early Childhood Education is GROWing in Ecuador

Last week we talked about the Safe Water Project that continues to thrive thanks to your wonderful support of the GROW program. We’d like to share with you that the Early Childhood Education Program in Ecuador has developed and expanded to six sponsorship areas. They are now working with 388 children, ages 3-5. Participants include sponsored children, siblings and relatives of sponsored children, and children from the communities in which Community Centers are located. Continue reading

Safe Water Project Continues to GROW in Ecuador

GROW Safe Water Project Continues in Ecuador

Thanks to your support of the GROW program, Children International made a Safe Water Project possible in the Flor de Bastión Cooperative area of Guayaquil, Ecuador. A total of 400 families are being served by this project – impacting about 1,500 people. Continue reading

Organics Unlimited Sends Lucky Winner to GROW Volunteer Week in Mexico

Organics Unlimited Logo

San Diego, CA (December 11, 2013) – Following GROW Month in September, a month-long awareness campaign for their non-profit banana label, Organics Unlimited co-hosted a giveaway with San Diego grocer Jimbo’s…Naturally. Karla “Sam” Gonzalez has been chosen as the giveaway winner and will be taking her brother along on a weeklong, all-expenses paid volunteer experience with GROW to Colima, Mexico in March 2014.

“What interested me in the contest was the opportunity to go learn and see a new place which I otherwise couldn’t have afforded,” states Gonzalez, a San Diego resident, born in Mexicali, Baja California. “I’m most excited to see how my life may have been different had my mom stayed in Mexico. And I’m hoping to learn new things about my culture and help others in any way I can.”

Sam, as she likes to be called, will be partaking in a Literacy and Environment volunteer week which offers visitors a unique and fulfilling combination of service and ecological discovery. Volunteers assist in various regional literacy projects with disadvantaged children and youth, and enjoy a variety of ecological immersions with local experts in birding, botany, agriculture and volcanology, in a variety of settings from the Pacific Coast to the local volcanoes of Colima.

“We’re very excited to share what we do with GROW with someone who supports our efforts in the non-profit community,” says President and Co-Founder of Organics Unlimited, Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “We hope she and her brother are able to takeaway a lifetime experience that they can pass on to their friends and family.”

Currently Sam works as a customer service manager for a health and safety office in San Diego County as well as a CPR, First Aid, BBP, and AED instructor. She is involved with a local volunteer program for her daughter’s sixth grade class called Classroom Parent.

“I’ve shopped at Jimbo’s for about four years. My daughter loves their Mac and Cheese,” exclaims Gonzalez. “I’ve been eating organic bananas from Jimbo’s for about six months, and I buy GROW bananas because they taste good and are reasonably priced.”

GROW Students Celebrate Project Amigo’s 9th Annual Encuentro

GROW Students Celebrate Project Amigo's 9th Annual Encuentro

Project Amigo, a non-profit GROW supports, had their 9th Annual Encuentro, or College Student Retreat. This was held last month in Cofradia de Suchitlán to celebrate the holidays. Of the 31 students in attendance, five were GROW scholars attending university. Continue reading

GROW at Work in Mexico

volunteering-becomes-more-than-cause-marketing

Occasionally we get an opportunity in our lives to do something that we feel really makes a difference.  Last week was one of those occasions for me, so I wanted to share the experience.

Through a program called Project Amigo, which is the largest recipient of funding from GROW, we have become very involved with the underprivileged children in the state of Colima, MX. 60 cents of every box of GROW bananas goes back into helping communities. And GROW allows retailers to market their bananas with a strong differentiator. If a shopper buys a GROW banana, they know they are contributing to an organization that is accomplishing great things. And it may only cost that shopper a penny or two!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis blog is about an experience volunteering during a literacy week, designed to provide help to elementary schools primarily in the rural areas of the state of Colima. Each day, we delivered libraries of books to one or two elementary schools so that these children have reading material. Additionally, each school received a set of maps – one of the world and one of the country of Mexico. And a very precious part of our “delivery” was that every student also received one book of their very own that they could take home, read, and share with their families.

As we went through the week, we found that every school had its own personality. Some had prepared programs with folk dancing for us, knowing that we were coming to visit. Some seemed to not even have realized we were coming, and were totally unprepared for a presentation. But the students in all of the schools were excited, enamored with what we were sharing with them, and eager to learn.

Scattered within the mountains of Colima are sugar cane fields, and the workers in these fields are migrants who come from further south.  The migrant camps have very minimal living conditions – central washing facilities, poorly functioning sanitation, and tin roofs over concrete lean-tos as housing for the inhabitants.  One such camp outside the town of Queseria has a small school built by Project Amigo that has classes for pre-school through first grade. Because of poverty, many of the children run barefoot year round, but because of this they are also banned from participating in some festivals. So one of the days during our Project Amigo volunteer week, we took 45 young children into the city to buy them each a pair of new shoes. Most of them have never had a bit of new clothing.

It may be hard to see the connection between a week like this and marketing bananas in the US. It certainly isn’t typically an involvement that is part of the work of marketing for a US company. But participating in a Project Amigo work week gives a depth of understanding I could never have by simply reading materials about the good works they do. These are now our kids too, and we can honestly say that when you buy a GROW banana, you are changing a life.

Sustainable Trend Requires Education Efforts

Sustainable Trend Requires Education Efforts

Organic, Fair Trade and other sustainable solutions remain popular with banana companies, and companies continue the education efforts needed to promote those programs. Continue reading