It’s time we offered a glimpse into the heart of our farm-fresh Grapes.
Welcome to the “Grape with a Heart” initiative!
At Fresh Express, a family-run organisation with over 26 years experience as grower-suppliers of premium grapes to leading retail chains across the globe, we have “Business for Good” at the very core of our philosophy.
We have launched a women empowerment drive, across various parts of rural Maharashtra, India.
Join us in our efforts! In collaboration with leading retailers across Europe, we proudly raise the curtain for our “Grape With A Heart” Initiative, to offer the end retail customer an opportunity to contribute towards our initiatives for the community! This campaign includes attractive and engaging in-store displays and publications (websites, retailer newsletters, posters, etc) which will cover several stories of our partner women-farmers. EVERY punnet sold through this campaign will carry this label. Find us in stores near you to build a Better Tomorrow!
Vinifex, a small-producer organisation which is a consortium of our partner growers personify the spirit of Fairtrade.
Our FairTrade initiatives are aimed at tackling the biggest challenges faced by the rural agricultural community of India. Our approach has been four-pronged, with dedicated teams working on Women Empowerment, Education and Building Tomorrow’s Leaders, Natural Farming (chemical-free and better-tasting food for all) and Water Conservation.
We are proud to support over 95% women work-force in our organization! Our social programs are designed for the needs of the community. Historically, with the roles defined as breadwinner husband and stay-at-home wife, women have limited financial independence to earn and spend. Most women in rural India do not even have a personal bank account. Women often rely on money provided to them by their husbands and such a structure of dependence severely limits her opportunities to take on leadership or decision-making positions in society. We wanted to bring about a change where the woman learns to be economically independent and has control over her undertaking from end to end, without depending on men to provide her financial support.
Developing chemical-free agricultural practices has been the prime focus of our technical agronomist team. Today, we have successfully brought about a revolution of Natural Farming that reduces chemical usage by upto 33%! These cutting-edge practices developed, have been launched under a wide-scale campaign called ‘Zero-Budget Natural Farming’. This allows even the smallest and poorest of farmers to practice agriculture with minimal capital cost, minimal water usage and grow chemical-free food. This initiative is now being primarily promoted by our women-farmers cooperatives, supported in each village.
As part of our initiative to promote wide-scale Sustainable Natural Farming, with the support of a noted local Agronomist and cutting edge technology, we have adopted the concept of ”Biological Brewing” or the 10 Drum Theory. Biological Brewing is a form of Natural Farming, wherein natural extracts are used in combination with Effective Microorganisms (EM)and Seaweed, and rested to ferment. Biological brewing as soil-input, improves soil health, enhances fertiliser inputs, improves root structure, germination and thus yield. Each household, led by the housewife, will set up a Bio-Brewing Unit to produce enough brew to not only maintain an organic kitchen garden for her own family, but also grow enough to sell after branding it as organic in the local market . Surplus Vegetables are also being processed into organic sauces and pickles. All these avenues besides providing her an income, gives the ladies immense confidence and satisfaction as she fully involves herself in the complete process from growing to marketing her produce.
As most of these women are employed in seasonal jobs like Grape picking or/and cleaning, and spend the rest of the months as stay-at-home wives, Fresh Express has initiated a self-help group, Sakhi, meaning friend in the local language, which imparts life skills such as growing organic vegetables through Natural farming, silk thread handmade jewellery, decorative earthen lamps, stitching, making preservatives, making them self-reliant. We hope to promote their efforts on international platforms like “Etsy” with the help of online shops and social media.
Workshops on topics such as marketing, negotiation, importance of hygiene and food safety are also planned to improve understanding on the importance of their work and gain confidence to come to the forefront, take initiative and ownership for what is rightfully theirs. Women have effectively used these trainings and workshops as a platform to voice their opinions to the larger community.
Our Goal is to encourage, educate and empower them towards financial independence, so that they can make independent decisions on how to spend or save their income. When the women of our community share stories with us, we see a bright growing future with the goal not only to be financially independent but because they want to set an example for their young daughters.
Our initiatives have already begun to have a significant impact, drawing support from several international organizations and governments- We have been associated with Cherie Blair Foundation for Women UK, Global Women Fresh, Fairtrade, Germany and Fairtrade, Switzerland (Max Havelaar). The Austrian government had recognized our contributions and chosen us for its Austrian Leadership Program(ALPS).
Our Partners in Building a Better Tomorrow…
A Happy by product of all these initiatives are Naturally Farmed, Premium Quality, Healthy, Hearty Grapes, Pomegranates Arils and Sun Dried Raisins. Our certifications, FAIRTRADE, BRC, Sedex-SMETA, GRASP and Global GAP, are actually “lived” and implemented in spirit and action.
We look forward to furthering our mission with like minded “partners in progress”.
For more information, please connect with firstname.lastname@example.org