Pepe Fanjul, Jr. and his family have been recognized by the Western Palm Beach County Farm Bureau as the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) 2016 Farm Family of the Year. The award was presented on November 9 by John L. Hundley, Chairman of the Board of the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, at Ray’s Heritage Packing House in Belle Glade.
The award is given to farm families who exhibit excellence in their commitment to agriculture and civic engagement in the Glades region of western Palm Beach County, where the Fanjul family has been farming since 1960. The family’s companies, Fanjul Corp. and Florida Crystals Corporation, produce sugarcane, rice and sweetcorn.
“We’re really humbled,” said Andres Fanjul of the award, echoing the sentiments of the rest of the Fanjul family. “It’s an incredible opportunity. When I read all the families that have won this award in the past, it’s an honor to be included as part of that group.”
The Everglades Agricultural Area is among the world’s most productive and sustainable agricultural basins. In addition to providing thousands of jobs for Glades residents through farming and agribusiness, the Fanjul family has been an integral part of the community for decades through their charitable support, particularly their efforts to improve children’s access to high-quality education and help reduce hunger.
“They’re an integral part of this community,” said Commission of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam of the Fanjuls. “They’re a large family themselves, and they recognize that this is a larger agricultural family, and that’s why you see the commitment that they make to support the local farm bureau, the education system, the housing situation.”
For instance, the Fanjul family founded New Hope Charities, a grassroots nonprofit that provides services for children and families in western Palm Beach County ranging from daycare and health care to food distribution. The Fanjul family also founded two charter schools in Pahokee, Everglades Preparatory Academy and Glades Academy, to increase educational opportunities for families in the Glades.