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Vital Farms’ commitment to our farm workers and staff

Often in our communications with customers, we focus on the quality and uniqueness of our pasture-raised organic eggs. We describe the lifestyle our birds enjoy and the importance of environmental stewardship. This week, we want to focus on another aspect of our sustainable business model: the importance of, and our commitment to, our farm workers and staff.

Even though we are now available in Whole Foods coast to coast, the size of our flocks is…well…paltry in comparison to other farms at the national level. Smaller flock size means more employees per bird, which in turn means our farm hands have

man collecting chicken eggs
Sergio gathering eggs

meaningful interactions and relationships with the girls. (Dana, our Onion Creek Farm Manager, always seems to refer to our hens as, “the Ladies,” and knows quite a few of them by sight and personality). At the moment, our production base is four family farms in Central Texas and three in Arkansas and Oklahoma. At each of these, the relationship between human custodians and the birds is respectful and personal. We see this as a major benefit to having small operations (by industry standards).

It’s also our responsibility to ensure the welfare of our team members. The company pays in full for quality, comprehensive  coverage health insurance for our employees and staff in Austin. We also make sure the working environment is as safe as possible, through our policies (seatbelts are a MUST on the tractor!) and the tools we provide our team (see video: we recently upgraded to an automated egg lift for loading eggs onto our washer, minimizing physical exertion). Our commitment is also, once we’re able, to implement a profit sharing plan so that our entire crew benefits from our success.

family of chicken farmersIn line with these values, we believe in profit sharing with our staff and with charitable organizations. Most corporations hold their shareholders in the highest regard: we prefer to prioritize our staff, customers and animals. As we (hopefully) continue to grow rapidly, we are committed to sharing profits with our staff. We have also contributed to the Whole Planet Foundation since before we began turning a profit. (The Whole Planet Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization established by Whole Foods Market, which provides grants to microfinance institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia). We believe in their capacity to help others make a difference, just as we do our part to improve farming standards in the U.S.