At Nature’s Pride on Monday I was with the avocado and mango sourcing team. avocados and mangos are NP’s two most popular products, making up about half of all sales among the 100 products that they offer. The sourcing team I followed is responsible for acquiring the mangos and avocados from growers all over the world. They must coordinate everyone’s growing seasons so that they get the highest quality product all year round.
The sourcing team also has to organize all of the stock and make sure that there is enough fruit to fill the orders that the sales team inputs into the system and not too much excess. They also have to communicate with the warehouse and production when they need what orders by and all of the incoming shipments as well as talking to the ripening team and quality control department about the status of the fruit.
I also snuck back over to the marketing department (my fav) to talk to the girls over there and see if there was anything they needed help with. They gave me an assignment to make a banner for a local festival advertising NP. I made it on Photoshop, but it was unlike anything I’ve done since my yearbook days in high school. Here is what I came up with…
After work, Ivo made his delicious spaghetti again!
Following dinner, Lara, Lisa and I went into Delft. I’ve actually never seen the city center despite having visited the city 3 times. We took the tram, which was cool to experience, and walked around for a while before finding the cutest gelatoria. There were more flavors of gelato than I’ve ever seen in my life! None of us could decide and we ended up with 8 flavors of ice cream between the 3 off us. (Heart eyes).
We walked around a bit more and took some photos. All of the shops close at around 5 on weekdays here so there wasn’t a lot to do, but there was a lot to see and the weather was beautiful.
At work on Tuesday, I toured the ripening rooms at Nature’s Pride in the morning. Hirich, one of the lead ripeners, has been ripening avocados, mangos, kiwis and papayas at NP for 8 years, so he had a lot of information to share with me. Ripening is a science and it took a lot of time and money to become one of the leading fruit ripening companies in the world, so there was also a lot of information he could not share because most companies still don’t have it quite figured out.
It was, however, still very interesting, I learned a lot about what happens in and out of the 50 ripening rooms including a lot of quality checks at several different points in the products. I got to perform a few tests myself on the pressure and sugar levels of the fruits. I also got to eat a lot of mango, kiwi and avocado, so of course that made for a great morning along with Hirich’s humor and useful life knowledge such as, “if there are two unpredictable things in life, they are women and fruit.”
I then met the Sustainable Business department, and they took me straight to lunch. I got to ask them a lot of cultural questions which was awesome. There are four people on the team. Coon was born and raised in the Netherlands, has lived in Argentina (where he met his wife) and Washington D.C. and now lives in Spain and works mostly from home with monthly (ish) visits to the office in Maasdijk. Dani was born in Colombia, lived in Curaçao (a Dutch commonwealth) from 10-18 and moved to the Netherlands for college. Stefanie has always lived in the Netherlands, and there is another team member who lives currently in South America working closely with the growers there on environmental efforts and improving their crop. I really enjoyed my lunch with Coon, Stefanie and Dani because there were so many cultural perspectives, and Coon made sure to ask if I prefer East coast or West coast American rap: a very serious personal question that I am still pondering.
Working with the Sustainable Business department was also very cool. They gave me a presentation and generally talked about what they do, and they are all so passionate about their work. They focus on social and environmental efforts here within the company and in the communities of NP’s growers all over the world.
Dani showed me some really interesting and powerful videos produced by the Conservation International Nature is Speaking Campaign. The videos feature several very well known American celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson speaking as different aspects of nature (mother earth, the rainforest, water, ice, etc.), and the tagline at the end of each video reads “Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.” I would highly, highly suggest taking a look at the videos.
Dani also showed me Nature’s Pride’s goals in terms of sustainability of the world wide community for the next 13 years which follow the 17 Sustainable Development Goals decided upon by the United Nations in 2015. The most important one goal Nature’s Pride individually is “zero hunger” which highlights the fact that 40% of the worlds economy is powered by agriculture, which is most of what NP does. The UN and Nature’s Pride believe that if we can improve our agriculture system including how we grow our food and the compensation to farmers and farm workers in underdeveloped parts of the world, we can greatly improve food security and the quality of nutrition everywhere.
The team then talked to me about the social projects that Nature’s Pride has done in the underdeveloped countries that their fruit comes from through the Nature’s Pride Foundation. Nature’s Pride requires all of their growers to be fair trade certified by one of seven private organizations. They then donate a fair for life premium of 7 cents per box back to the growers in ways that will benefit the employees on the farms and in the packhouses in places like Peru, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. They have built schools and irrigation systems in Guatemala as well as providing improved training for the teachers there, built a water system and provided vaccines for the people that work for one of Nature’s Pride’s major importers in the Dominican Repulic and they are currently working on an intervention in Colombia to change the way of thinking about domestic violence there.
After work, Ivo, Lara and I got pizza and had a lazy night in complete with bad European reality TV.