Incredible Women in the Produce Industry

Amara Omeokwe on The Wall Street Journal stated on January 10th: Women Overtake Men as Majority of U.S. Workforce. “The share of women on payrolls, excluding farm workers and the self-employed, exceeded the share of men in December for the first time since mid-2010, Labor Department data released.” The data doesn’t show the numbers on farm workers or women in the fresh produce industry.

The data around the topic is globally one of the most significant gaps that we have when women make decisions that impact local food security every day.

They are farmers and farm workers, managers, consumers, researchers. A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that in Latin America and the Caribbean, the overall share of female agricultural researchers is higher than in any other developing region. Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay have the highest participation of women in research with 48%, 44%, and 40 %, respectively.

Recently, I joined the board of directors of a new organization, Global Women Fresh. The vision and mission of three women in the industry that came together to inspire, connect, and empower women within the produce industry around the world.

Related Article: A Look at the Fruit and Vegetable Market in the Last Decade

Their goal is to foster cohesive and deep conversations throughout the entire industry from the farm level to the executive level, by involving the private and non-private sectors, creating more substantial opportunities for women in the agricultural business. As they move forward, the information will be collected and shared.

Who are the co-founders and how you can join the movement?

Julie Escobar, Senior VP of Partnership at Renewable Resources Group LLC., had to battle different fights around gender equality all over the world. She spends a significant amount of time traveling the world, understanding the entire business from the field to the executive level. She firmly believes that there is a need to have more women at the table, and that is her ultimate fight. “Together, we can create the opportunity to change the agricultural industry.”

Viviane Schappo, Director of Supplier Relations Latin America at Apeel Sciences, has developed a strong account portfolio focused on large retail multinational companies and grower relationships across four continents. She has also focused part of her career on developing global cold chain management solutions to large multinational customers. She uses a quote from Ray Dalio: “Meaningful work and meaningful relationships,” to convey how she has developed such a strong global network within the fruit and vegetable industry.

Monica Bratuti is the President of Turners International Marketing, a subsidiary company of the J&P Turner Group in New Zealand. She travels around the world, managing global produce trading operations, with a focus on the Asian and Middle East Markets.

As a female holding a dominant position in the produce industry, Monica often found herself being the only woman at board meetings. She began to discuss this experience with other women in similar jobs in her industry around the world. These discussions, along with the global #metoo movement, inspired her to spend her spare time empowering Hispanic women in her community who were lacking confidence in their business.

More women in top decision-making and management roles would help address the specific problems that women farmers face through research and shared understanding. Incredible women in the produce industry are coming together and sharing ideas on meaningful topics. For more information visit