Improvements in social and environmental responsibility at Rainier Fruit Co. and Naturipe Farms — partners in Pro*Act’s Greener Fields Together sustainability and local produce initiative — are outlined in new case studies.

Rainier Fruit, Naturipe mark sustainability gainsThe findings of SureHarvest, an independent verification service working with Greener Fields Together and Monterey, Calif.-based distributor Pro*Act, are posted online.

Since 2000, Rainier Fruit Co. has pursued employee wellness initiatives that reduced healthcare costs and safety incidents, according to the study of the Selah, Wash.-based shipper. Those initiatives include:

  • an onsite medical clinic;
  • healthful cafeteria foods;
  • annual flu shots;
  • individual and team athletic activities;
  • an injury prevention program;
  • ergonomic modifications to the workplace;
  • and regular stretching exercises for injury prevention.

Rainier Fruit used insurance reports to determine where to focus health initiatives. Weekly, bimonthly and annual meetings focus on possibilities for improvement.

Naturipe Farms improved water management at its California blueberry operations, according to the study. The company, which uses the drip method for all its irrigation, boosted efficiency using software to schedule, monitor, measure and verify optimal water amounts. Additional features ensure water flow and food safety.

The initiatives reduced water cost and impacted yield and quality favorably, according to the study. Naturipe is also developing a training program for blueberry field personnel to ensure quality and consistency of water nutrients management.

“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,” Max Yeater, Pro*Act president, said in the release.

Case study subjects have also included Taylor Farms, Sunkist Growers, Grimmway Farms and D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California.