GROW bananas fund scholarships

This article was originally published in August 2011

Your purchase of certified organic “GROW” bananas at PCC is helping small banana-growing families in Mexico. Every bunch you buy helps fund community projects.

GROW bananas are produced by Organics Unlimited, a small family-owned-and-operated business started by Mayra Velasquez de Leon and her husband, Manuel, in 2000. PCC was one of the first retailers to sell GROW bananas. Now the company markets all over the United States.

In 2005 Mayra and Manuel established GROW (Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers), a private nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of its workers and their families in these poor, agricultural communities.

By charging a surcharge of 60 cents for each box of bananas, Organics Unlimited raises a significant portion of the funds necessary to make GROW’s vision a reality. PCC does not pass this cost on to consumers.

Since 2006 PCC has raised almost $100,000 for the program. The funds have provided medical, dental and educational programs and scholarships for students in Colima, Mexico.

Each year, a number of outstanding students are selected to receive GROW scholarships. The scholarships provide necessary funding for schooling. We’re pleased to introduce three of this year’s scholarship recipients.

Denia Yadira Villegas Tapia

Denia Yadira Villegas Tapia

Denia is 20 years old and is in her third year at the University of Colima. Denia has earned a 9.34 GPA (out of 10) and is studying to be a teacher.

She likes all her classes, but really enjoys English. Her parents only completed primary school, and her father works on the banana plantation while her mother works around the home. Her family is very proud of her for pursuing her goals and dreams.

Toño de Jesús Gutiérrez Grajeda

Toño de Jesús Gutiérrez Grajeda

Toño is 21 years old and in his third year at the University of Colima. He has earned a 9.33 GPA and is majoring in international business.

Raised by his single mother, he often has to help out in the banana fields in order to help support his family. He’s excited for the opportunity to further his education and earn a degree that will help him get a good job in the future.

Odalis Margartia Martinez Aguilar

Odalis Margartia Martinez Aguilar

Odalis is 13 years old and is in 8th grade. She has earned a 9.8 GPA and dreams of one day becoming a teacher.

She lives with her grandmother and older brother. Odalis has no support from her parents, so without the support from GROW, she would not be able to afford necessary school supplies, registration fees and books.

Also in this issue

Letters to the editor, August 2011

Teacher thanks, Just bananas, Non-GMO labels, and more

Soil & Sea: reports from our producers

This month's report includes local peaches, cherries, Washington apples, domestic avocados, Maui pineapple, oyster and sea scallop harvests, and how climate change may affect wine production.

Grains: Sensitivities beyond wheat

There is little to no medical controversy over whether wheat and other grains trigger allergies or sensitivities. They do. Where controversy enters is in the areas of incidence and symptoms to grains other than wheat.