MONTEREY, Calif., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Greener Fields Together, the sustainability and local produce initiative created by PRO*ACT, a produce supply-chain management company, is proud to announce two of its national farm partners have completed an independent evaluation of their social and environmental achievements. SureHarvest, an independent verification service which has partnered with Greener Fields Together to document ongoing sustainability improvements in the produce supply chain, validated impressive accomplishments of Rainier Fruit Company, one of the largest growers of apples, pears, cherries and blueberries in the United States, and Naturipe, a business partnership between four fresh berry growers who together provide a year-round supply of a variety of fresh berries.
SureHarvest's "5Ps of Sustainability™" Case Studies, detailing specific sustainability improvements made by these Greener Fields Together partners, can be viewed at http://www.greenerfieldstogether.org/national_farms_featurettes.php. Highlights include:
- Rainier Fruit Company – Employee Wellness. Since 2000, Rainier's Selah, Wash., location made employee wellness a cornerstone of its Good Stewardship Program by introducing a variety of initiatives aimed at fostering a healthier workplace, reducing healthcare costs and safety incidents, and retaining highly engaged employees. It established a corporate Wellness Team and launched wellness initiatives that include an on-site medical clinic, healthful foods at on-site cafeterias, annual flu shots provided for employees, an annual Wellness Day, construction of a three-quarter-mile walking path for employee use, individual and team athletic activities, an injury prevention program, ergonomic modifications to the workplace, and regular stretching exercises for injury prevention. Rainier uses insurance reports that show trends, medical conditions, types of physicians and claim costs to determine where to focus personal health initiatives. Records are kept of the number of flu shots provided each year, as well as of the usage of the onsite clinic for personal and work-related visits. Continuous improvement is facilitated through weekly, bimonthly and annual meetings involving key personnel at every level in the company.
- Naturipe – Water Management. Naturipe made significant progress in establishing and executing a more comprehensive and effective water management program at its California blueberry operations. The company implemented a variety of practices to improve the efficiency of its 100 percent drip irrigation system, including sophisticated irrigation management software that assists with scheduling, monitoring, measuring and verifying the optimal amounts of water to apply, as well as water treatments that ensure water flow and food safety. These and other initiatives are resulting in reduced water cost, increased yields and higher product quality. The company is also developing a training program for key field personnel to ensure quality and consistency of water nutrients management across Naturipe's California blueberry operations.
"Both of these case studies illustrate the firm commitment that Greener Fields Together national farm partners have made to both corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability," says Max Yeater, president of PRO*ACT. "These are innovative, ongoing, holistic approaches that are bringing positive, long-term change to the produce supply chain. Their progress is independently verified, and with every improvement they make they raise the bar for the entire industry."
About Greener Fields Together™: Greener Fields Together™ is a collaboration of environmentally responsible parties, including farmers, distributors, retail locations and foodservice operators, who have come together to make steady, measurable improvements in sustainability and food safety practices through all levels of the produce supply chain. For more information on Greener Fields Together, visit www.greenerfieldstogether.org
About PRO*ACT: PRO*ACT is North America's leading distributor of fresh food to the foodservice and retail industries, sourcing from premier national, regional and local farmers. PRO*ACT streamlines the produce supply chain, offering significant cost benefits and an easy, one-call solution to source the freshest produce from more than 70 third-party inspected, independently owned, local distribution centers across the United States and Canada. PRO*ACT provides category cost management through commodity contract pricing, in-house consultation services and integrated produce program distribution management.