California Giant Berry Farms Announces Sustainably Grown Certified Strawberries
WATSONVILLE, CA - California Giant Berry Farms and Measure to Improve, LLC (MTI) recently announced the Sustainably Grown certification of Satsuma Farms, strategic strawberry grower-partner for California Giant, under the rigorous standard of SCS Global Services. This comprehensive standard uses a triple bottom-line approach, addressing issues related to social, environmental, and economic sustainability, and mirrors California Giant’s own People, Planet, Product model.
“Sustainably Grown is a challenging certification, but it was the best one for California Giant because it aligns with our own long-term approach to sustainability,” Joe Barsi, President of California Giant, commented. “This certification reflects our commitment to treating the environment and the people involved in our supply chain right.”
According to the press release, Satsuma Farms, located in Watsonville, California, is one of the first strawberry growers in the world to achieve the Sustainably Grown certification from SCS Global Services.
“Rich Uto and his team at Satsuma Farms did a great job on their Sustainably Grown certification audit,” Kevin Warner, Manager, Sustainable Agriculture at SCS, stated. “At SCS, we set a high bar for sustainability in agriculture with a thorough investigation of practices to ensure the protection of farmworkers, environmental sustainability, and the economic resilience of the farming operation. Satsuma Farms exceeded our expectations in meeting the stringent requirements of our standard. Working with Measure to Improve expedited the audit, saving time and money for the client, and ensuring a smooth process in certifying the world’s first Sustainably Grown Certified strawberries.”
With MTI’s support, California Giant launched a pilot certification project at Satsuma Farms, who leases land from California Giant, in 2018.
MTI provided hands-on guidance at Satsuma Farms for the duration of the pilot, which culminated in this landmark certification in August 2020.
“Food safety requirements expanded rapidly over a short period of time. Sustainability is the next step for growers,” said Rich Uto, Owner of Satsuma Farms. “We live differently now, and we need to do things differently. There’s no time to waste—just make the time and get it done.”
Recent years have shown a marked increase in buyer and consumer interest in produce grown sustainably, with emphasis on equitable social practices.
“Sustainability certifications provide third-party verification and an easily recognized seal of approval that helps organizations effectively market their social, environmental, and ethical responsibility while avoiding the pitfalls of greenwashing," said Nikki Cossio, CEO and Founder of Measure to Improve. “Certification is a worthwhile investment if it aligns with your business values and your customers' values.”
California Giant has no plans to slow its sustainability efforts despite the pandemic. The company will continue working with MTI to roll the certification program out to more of its growers over the next few years.
“In piloting Sustainably Grown at Satsuma Farms, California Giant has positioned itself to have a credible response to this growing market demand for sustainability assurance. California Giant’s commitment to its growers, customers, and communities is now underpinned by our robust third-party certification, and it has differentiated itself in an increasingly competitive business landscape by being a first-mover toward Sustainably Grown certification in the berry industry,” added Warner.
A hearty congratulations on this momentous achievement! Stay up to date in the sustainability game with ANUK.