The work of sustainability.
Sustainability does not come easily or quickly. It is not achieved through a single project. Rather, it requires a systemic and mindful approach, and a willingness to continually examine all aspects of the modern agricultural business model.
Construction is currently underway on an advanced 15,000 square foot storage facility just a few miles away from ASICSA (Agricola Santa Isabel de Cato S.A.), our company-owned farm in Chillán, Chile. Viva Tierra will be the first US grower/packer/shipper to have dedicated storage in Chile, a significant advantage in controlling the quality of our import fruit.
We knew we needed to think local, green, and outside of the box, and partnered with local professionals Alvaro Sepúlveda, engineer in charge of construction, and his brother, architect Esteban Sepúlveda, to do just that.
How to keep a cold building cold, while still using less energy? Start by harnessing the power of nature.
Climbing Boston Ivy creates a natural layer of insulation around the entire building, lowering base room temperature and lessening demand on cooling equipment
Solar panel installation is still in the planning stages, and is projected to offset all lighting and administrative energy use (though likely not cooling and ventilation)
Offices are north-facing (the best sun orientation in Chile), with cooling walls of Boston Ivy and large thermal windows looking onto the Andes Mountains
The new facility — officially named Frigorifico Ñuble Organico S.p.A. — won't just benefit Viva Tierra.
With our 7500 bin storage capacity, top-of-the-line Italian and German refrigeration units and 35-ton truck scale, we are poised to offer regional growers a new, modern storage solution for their fruit.
To further contribute to the local economy, we did not bring in a foreign labor force, but worked with area contractors throughout the course of construction.
We are grateful to all of our partners on this project, and can't wait to get our ASICSA organic apples chilling inside!
In 1997, Viva Tierra teamed up with a Chilean apple grower near the town of Chillán to establish one of the first successful organic programs in the country, ASICSA. Today we are the only US importer of organic apples from Chile who also grows in-country, giving us a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards local producers face.
Managed by Nicholas Simian Escher, an energetic Chilean-American sustainable agricultural pioneer, ASICSA operates with the help of a committed team of workers who are passionate about the trees and the land… and soccer. On Sundays, workers and their families join teams from other local orchards for matches on the orchard's soccer field. The orchard now possesses a team bus, as well, so the workers can enjoy both home and away games.
In true partnership fashion, workers determine which community projects are of importance to them when it comes to reinvesting profits from the fruits of their labors – and we think empowering our community in this way makes our ASICSA apples the best!
As a member of the Sustainable Food Trade Association, Viva Tierra Organic reports on sustainability in various aspects of our daily operations, including our increased efficiencies in palletizing, solar-supported headquarters, status as a nearly paper-less office, and more.