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Award Honorees

Mayra Velazquez de Leon, Organics Unlimited

2022 : Organic Pioneer

 

The Organic Pioneer Award honors leaders who have dedicated their careers to advancing organic agriculture and trade by providing bold vision, innovative creations and solutions, and the leadership required to bring dreams into reality. This year’s honoree, Mayra Velazquez de Leon has built a thriving organic fruit company and is committed to social responsibility and giving back to the farming communities that make organic agriculture possible. 

Fifty years ago, Mayra’s father became the first commercial grower in Mexico to bring organic bananas to the United States 50 years ago. Today, Mayra has helped grow the family legacy through Organics Unlimited into the largest family-owned banana company in America. Organics Unlimited sources tropical organic fruit from Mexico and Ecuador and offers three organic banana labels: Organics Unlimited, GROW, and Fair Trade Certified.   
 
In 2005, Mayra introduced the company’s GROW program as a social responsibility initiative to help poverty-stricken banana-growing regions in Mexico and Ecuador. Since then, it has provided nearly $3 million in funding to help support education, health initiatives, micro-businesses and environmental programs as well as disaster relief to make positive social change. Organics Unlimited began offering a Fair-Trade Certified label at the beginning of 2021 to go with its GROW label, providing two paths to advocate for sustainable prices for farmers and support growing communities. The GROW label accounts for nearly 90 percent of more than 30,000 cases of organic bananas that its warehouse handles each week.