November marks the start of the harvest season for leafy greens in Arizona. Now through April, the 15 varieties of leafy greens grown here will be gathered and shipped to locations across the United States and Canada. The production results in the employment of nearly 27,000 and an estimated $2 billion to the state’s economy each year. Moreover, 82 percent of lettuce consumed in the next six months will come from Arizona. In recognition of the significant impact the leafy greens industry has on the state, Gov. Doug Ducey has proclaimed November as “Arizona Leafy Greens Month.”
“We approach each harvest season with a sense of pride and take our role as the top producer of leafy greens very seriously,” said C.R. Waters, chairman of Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee. “Yet, there is also much joy and gratitude as the fruits of our labor come to fruition and another safe harvest begins being shipped to consumers across the country. Arizona Leafy Greens Month is an opportunity to generate awareness about our industry, while also celebrating the hard work that goes into it.”
Arizona Leafy Greens Month was established by Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (Arizona LGMA), an organization led by industry professionals who participate on a voluntary basis in the implementation of a rigorous, science-based food safety protocol amongst state growers and shippers. As part of the month-long observance, Arizona LGMA has partnered with the Yuma Safe Produce Council and will host a series of online giveaways related to the leafy greens industry and to food safety. Giveaways will be held weekly on Arizona LGMA’s Facebook page with followers asked to like, share and comment on posts. Winners will be announced every Friday throughout the month of November.
In addition to its social media giveaways, Arizona LGMA will launch a new newsletter, Harvest Times during Arizona Leafy Greens Month. The quarterly newsletter will highlight the successes of the season including new programs and initiatives as well as the people that ensure that every year their leafy greens are grown, harvested and shipped in the safest possible manner. Further, it will serve as a resource on the Arizona Leafy Greens program and its history.
“Arizona Leafy Greens Month is a vehicle to educate the public on the importance of the efforts done by the Arizona LGMA Technical subcommittee to keep the leafy greens we consume safe. The measures instituted by them are widely considered to be the most comprehensive in the industry. However, recognize that it is the cooperation and hard work of the farming community that truly ensure our success,” said Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee Administrator, Teressa Lopez.
For more information on Arizona LGMA and to sign up for the Harvest Times newsletter, visit arizonaleafygreens.org. Follow them on Facebook @Arizona Leafy Greens, Twitter @AZLeafyGreens, and its new Instagram @azleafygreens.