Valliwide Organic Farms is a California-based company focused on organic farming and produce. While it sells succulent mandarines, plums, nectarines and oranges, its vision is one of a bigger, more helpful mission: fighting extreme poverty. By partnering with When I Grow Up, a charity focused on addressing childhood poverty, Valliwide Organic Farms has used the profits of fresh fruit to fight poverty.
The Valliwide Organic Farms
Tod and Traci Parkinson have owned Valliwide since 1992, first as a produce marketing company. In 2010, they purchased their own organic farm, as agricultural demand shifted in that direction. However, before their venture into organic farming and produce, Tod and Traci felt a pull to help others. They invested in a charity called When I Grow Up, and in 2010 when they bought their farm, dedicated large portions of their profits to the charity. Valliwide was committed to using fresh fruit to fight poverty.
To provide futures for the next generation, Valliwide Organic Farms’ partnership with When I Grow Up seeks to create opportunities for those in disadvantaged communities. Their motivation to grow matches their motivation to give back.
When I Grow Up’s Partnerships
When I Grow Up started in 2006 when, after a visit to a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, a group of Americans decided they needed to do something to help the thousands of children struggling with disease and a lack of resources. The newly-formed charitable group partnered with local indigenous leaders who knew how to best manage and allocate the help they provided. As their name suggests, this charity focuses on giving children the means to be hopeful for their futures.
Their work in Nairobi has been in coordination with the Faruha Community Foundation (FCP), an organization working to provide an education to local children in situations of deprivation, many of whom are HIV positive. Its start as a tutoring support group has blossomed into a primary school of 500 children and, more recently, a high school of 150 students. Additionally, they provide healthcare, residential living assistance and microloans for those without resources. With funding from When I Grow Up, the FCP has accommodated and supported many impoverished students and given them the tools to create a successful future.
Other locations of need include Zone 18 in Guatemala, where crime and violence are widespread. When I Grow Up partners with Esperanza Para Guatemala, a local group working to provide sustenance and emotional support for local children and their families. They stock the local library with books and computers to learn essential vocational skills such as carpentry, baking, cosmetology and computers. Over 9,000 plates of food are served every month to children and their families in need.
Feeding Children in Haiti
Furthermore, When I Grow Up’s recent work in Haiti is of paramount importance for Valliwide’s owners, Tod and Traci, as Tod is the region’s field leader. Partnering with Lucson Dervilus, a native Haitian, Valliwide and When I Grow Up sought to provide support for the struggling, isolated communities of Palma and Jacob after the devastating earthquake of 2010. In October of that year, they created a feeding program for a local school intended to help local children escape poverty situations in the region.
In July of 2012, they began building a new school to accommodate more children. Alongside the school, local families would receive grants to start trading to earn sufficient income to provide for their children. Over a couple of years, more than 250 students attended the school, with more teachers and staff to support their education. Additionally, the school received cattle and goats to begin an agricultural program to supplement their income.
The work that When I Grow Up has accomplished is awe-inspiring. Moreover, Valliwide Organic Farms’ dedication and commitment have allowed the fresh fruit farm to help others on a global scale. While they have an American base in California, their vision is to help children worldwide.
Tod and Traci Parkinson use their fresh fruit products to do veritable good for the world. The juicy flavors of their mandarins, plums, nectarines and oranges pale in comparison to their ardent and steadfast dedication to providing for the next generation. By using fresh fruit to fight poverty, Valliwide Organic Farms is picking the commendable route to profitability and genuinely taking the fight against extreme poverty into their own hands.
– Eliza Cochran