Meet Gerardo Gordillo, the General Manager of the NUTRILITE farm in Mexico. He has a lot to say about farming, the environment and sustainable agriculture – and how they shape your NUTRILITE food supplements.
With a permanent sparkle in his eye, quick wit and contagious charisma, Gerardo has all the qualities of a great leader, someone people from all walks of life look up to. He’s inclined to crash a kids’ football game on his way to check in with his team of farmers at the NUTRILITE Petacal Farm in Mexico, greeting everyone he passes with a friendly wave.
The Mexican rancho expands across 643 hectares in the southwestern state of Jalisco. The farm, a model of sustainable agriculture, is tucked away in a small valley, where the humid subtropical weather brings dry mild winters and warm wet summers – the perfect conditions for growing nutrient-rich plants for
. Additionally, and impressively, the farmers at El Petacal maintain a red earthworm farm – an agricultural practice that produces more than 260,000 litres of liquid humus every year, to fertilise the fields.
While Gerardo and his team are proud of their approach to farming and the lush environment they have produced, it took time for the farmers to realise their environmental and sustainable agriculture objectives. Gerardo says, “When we arrived here, there was nothing. It was an impoverished area susceptible to various environmental impacts and offering very few opportunities. However, we started pumping water, we started growing crops, and we offered the community permanent jobs.” Today, after many years of hard work, NUTRILITE has employed people like Gerardo to provide jobs and livelihood to hundreds of families in the area, while creating a rural oasis that produces thousands of metric tons of nutrient-rich produce. Gerardo says, “This is a place that grows families, grows kids and adds value to the community. Now that they see that they can really grow with the company, I think we have changed a whole generation.”
How does El Petacal maintain sustainable agriculture?
Gerardo and his team of NUTRILITE farmers avoid non-sustainable farming methods at all costs. “Non-sustainable farming will not pass the test of time and, if forced to prevail, will become more costly in all ways – ecologically, financially and socially,” he says. For this reason, El Petacal introduces small-scale, sustainable agricultural methods, which can have a large-scale impact. One example is the worm farm. Gerardo shares, “Our worm farm was established several years ago by only using 12 cocoons brought from my personal collection. Now, it has 5,000 kg of living red California worms.” These worms are an amazing addition to El Petacal’s agriculture. When they’re provided with the right conditions, the worms can live for more than 15 years and lay eggs on a continuous basis.
Gerardo excitedly explains, “The worms’ droppings are what we call worm humus – one of the best natural nutrients you can use to grow crops.” At El Petacal, the NUTRILITE employees use some of the natural fertiliser to nourish growing plants and some as filling material for the trays used to develop seedlings, before they are transplanted. Gerardo says, “Preparation and stewardship of the soil is the foundation of our commitment to sustainable farming.”
What Gerardo’s job involves
Producing NUTRILITE ingredients on a global scale isn’t as simple as watering and harvesting crops. For Gerardo, it means being aware of land management and sustainable agriculture while also ensuring his team of farmers follow sustainability practices – from maintaining healthy and nutritious soil so that seeds and plants can grow abundantly in their unique environment, to utilising crop rotation, cover cropping and other farming methods. “Every time one of our employees touches the seed or selects the soil or harvests the crop, we are doing a quality check,” Gerardo says.
Gerardo also ensures seeds are carefully selected, sown and well taken care of – all while maintaining sustainable farming practices – to ensure the resulting plant, fruit or extract is of the highest standard and packed with vitamins,
and minerals. As Gerardo explains, “Sustainable farming is all about nurturing and taking care of the soil so you obtain great nutrients and healthy crops.”
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