This Organic Strawberry Farm Is Giving Its Workers The Benefits They Deserve


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GROUNDBREAKING: They said it couldn't be done. Then Jim Cochran did it, becoming the first organic strawberry farmer to provide full dental, health care, and stock options for farmworkers.

According to Cochran, “If we’re going through all this trouble to grow an organic crop, what about the people that are growing it? Shouldn’t they have decent working conditions, decent pay and benefits, and some dignity in their workplace?”

At California’s Swanton Berry Farm, healthy farming and healthy living go hand in hand. In 1998, the organic farm became the first to sign a contract with the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farm workers.

Since then, owner Jim Cochran has tried his best to offer his workers added benefits and perks. Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in environmental issues, highlighted his efforts in a video published late last month. 

“If we’re going through all this trouble to grow an organic crop, what about the people that are growing it?” Cochran says in the video. “Shouldn’t they have decent working conditions, decent pay and benefits, and some dignity in their workplace?”

True to his word, Cochran offers his employees stock ownership and pension plans, dental and health care coverage, and holiday and vacation pay. The farm estimates that 75 percent of its workers also take advantage of the low-cost housing plan that’s offered.

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