Grower Shipper Association of Central California

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Employer Summary

History of GSA

The Beginnings: It was a monumental turning point for the agricultural industry spreading across California's Central Coast – one that could only eventually strengthen this famed growing area's position in the world-wide marketplace. In 1930 fifteen shippers were chosen by their peers to establish the Grower-Shipper Association.

The Association was created to "…cultivate and create a spirit of cooperation among the members of the association, among the shippers and handlers of vegetables in the Salinas, Watsonville, Hollister districts, and receivers and handlers in other parts of the United States." At that time, the sole commodity was iceberg lettuce. In that first year, the Salinas-Watsonville District shipped 20,101 carloads of lettuce to mid-western and east markets.

The founding decade was rich with industry innovations – many introduced by our early members. From the first-ever concept for lettuce cello wrap, the adjustment of truck axles enabling vehicles to straddle two beds in the field to the introduction of the basket system, the first successful field lettuce loader and the standardization of lettuce crates – the industry grew as quickly as the Association's membership.

From these early days and humble, but exciting beginnings, the Association has grown to more than 300 members. The companies represented - spread throughout four Central Coast counties - are as diversified as the variety of regions and commodities the Association covers. Together they bring to the world's table just about every commodity grown in this magnificent growing-region, from vegetables and berries to mushrooms and wine grapes.

For the Grower-Shipper Association, the past has brought to the present a storied history…of commitment, achievement, hard work and the ongoing quest for new ideas. We are dedicated to providing new opportunities, programs and services to our members. New ways to address the complex and expanding issues facing the industry, from food safety and security to pest and plant disease prevention, control and eradication. Land use, water supply and market access. Trade, research and education to government, legislative and regulatory affairs. Worker safety, training to labor and employment law. And so much more.

History is something that is continuously unfolding. And so too will the Grower-Shipper Association continue to grow into the future, backed by the strength, commitment and expertise of a remarkable group of people.