We Grow People, Too
You may know us for our plants, but here at Costa Farms we help grow our community in a number of ways. Here’s how we give back to our team.
Employee Literacy Education
At our multiple farms, (Florida, North Carolina, Dominican Republic), our employees speak a world of languages: English, Spanish, Guatemalan and Haitian/Creole dialects, and more. And since reading and writing skills are crucial in so many jobs, we have partnered with a literacy nonprofit organization, Alfalit International, to provide education for our interested team members during their work day.
This education is an asset for farm team members who may have not received a formal education, says Tannia Rodriguez, our Senior Learning and Development Specialist. “This program offers training in important life and work skill sets such as math, reading, and writing,” she says. Tania teaches eight classes per week. Between 175 to 300 employees are enrolled companywide.
The class testimonials show how improved literacy expands employee life at work and home. One employee said: “When I began the program, I was unable to read, write, or even sign my name.” Improved language skills help in the workplace, as another team member attests: “I began the program when I was working as a labor worker in the potting line and now, I work as a puller. I can read the charts and can work independently without so much assistance.” Another was thrilled to be able to help her children with their homework. And another found that her literacy improved her spiritual life: ”I was so emotional when I was able to finally read the Bible.”
Here at Costa Farms, we support the program by organizing classroom space, teaching weekly classes, and donating school supplies. Students graduate from the program in a February ceremony. Members of our senior leadership team commend the employees who can invite friends and family to celebrate their accomplishments when they walk the graduation stage.
Costa Farms offer educational support in other ways. Our annual backpack drive provides backpacks and school supplies for our team members and their children. The back-to-school season can be costly for families, and this program helps launch team members’ elementary and secondary children with needed supplies for the school year. We donate funds and supplies, as well as create the supplies-packed backpacks and coordinate the distribution to students.
Operation Spring Splash
University students across the country have experienced increased levels of stress and mental health concerns, especially since the onset of the pandemic. We recognize an opportunity to support students by bringing plants into their lives. During finals season last year, we partnered with five universities across the country to host plant giveaways. The goal was to help students enjoy the joys of a live plant in their residence hall rooms (and do their best work at finals). “We wanted to get the Costa Farms name into the communities,” says Tannia. More than a thousand plants were delivered, about 200 per school. "Our goal was to spread our company awareness, recruit potential talent, and make their lives better through plants," says Tannia.