Looking After Our Planet with Lizet Graterol
By The Berry That Cares On July 31, 2017

If there is one thing Lizet Graterol transmits when you first meet her it’s an extreme passion for what she does. As a food industrial engineer, Lizet is in charge of the biological control area of our company. She arrived from Venezuela in 2005 and has since been committed to developing research studies on biotechnology, sustainable agriculture management, new agricultural market opportunities and everything related to the post harvesting stage.

While Lizet greets us in the lab area, we get a glimpse of a hallway equipped with a microscope, some containers with larva nests and a few samples of microscopic nematodes (worm-like parasites that can be helpful or harmful for crops). She’s wearing her lab coat and holds a magnifying glass while she introduces us to some of her team members. As we tour the different lab rooms, she clearly feels at home. “Our innovation will always be driven by our effort to be more productive, sustainable and environmentally sensitive,” she says while leading us inside a room where several women are selecting worms from a container as if they were berries on a bush.

This understanding that Lizet refers to is also linked to the fact that minimizing pesticide use and approaching an integrated pest management system is part of supporting the amazing biodiversity this terrain possesses. The way that farmers grow crops can either support or harm biodiversity. “It is essential that we look for an ecological balance,” Lizet says, as she leads us to a second room filled with hundreds of containers embracing pupas, larvas and worms. “If we start using pesticides we break the equilibrium because in nature everything is balanced. We have the good guys and the bad ones for a reason,” she adds, making a shift in the urgency of her words. Agricultural land as well as their natural ecosystems depend on humans to maintain a pollinator-friendly environment.

The most recent census determined that the company's area hosts over 25 species of birds, nine varieties of reptiles, several bee hives and countless burrowing owls, just to name a few. Truth is there's much more going on around this bounteous piece of land. Looking over the endless expanse of green you can almost imagine a small fox peeking out from the acreage or an endemic reptile crawling along the open fields.

There’s nothing more satisfying than grabbing a handful of fresh berries and knowing they come straight off the bush. But a blueberry’s journey from field to table requires more than just a skillful hand. A few factors attribute to our product being as plump and fresh as it is.
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