John Ketler Talks Culture
Some may think that operating a farm is straightforward, but we know that you can’t spell agriculture without culture.
John Ketler, our company’s Vice President, has seen first-hand how Nature Fresh Farms has expanded over the years: he has watched as we’ve developed a reputation as one of the best places for both plants and people to grow. He has also witnessed hundreds of Grow-To People join our ranks to help form the unique company culture that we have become so well-known for in this sector.
We sat down with John to talk more about the unique culture we have here at Nature Fresh Farms and discuss what it is that sets us apart in the best ways possible.
“We’re different because we look out for each other’s best interest and we hold each other up.”
What makes Nature Fresh Farms so different?
Someone once made a very powerful statement to me that perfectly described how our company is so different. It really comes down to how our team works together. They said that, if everyone on the Nature Fresh Farms team was walking down the side of the road, and one of them fell just as a car was coming towards them, every single member of the team would jump into the street to pull them out of harm’s way. No one would stand by and do nothing, and no one would push them into a dangerous situation.
It’s very simple: we’re different because we look out for each other’s best interest and we hold each other up. We don’t stand by and watch as one of our own suffers. We don’t act selfishly to get ourselves ahead. We put each other first.
How has our company’s culture developed over the years?
When Nature Fresh Farms was founded by Peter Quiring back in 1999, our unique company culture already existed. A strong focus on teamwork and support has always had a big influence on how we do business.
As we’ve grown over the years, our leaders have played an important role in continuing to build and maintain our company’s unique culture. We’ve been fortunate enough to find people (or have people find us) who share our vision for how our company should operate. With this shared vision driving them forward, leaders across our company have helped shape our culture in meaningful ways.
You can’t train people to believe in your company’s values and principles: they either do or they don’t. It’s a part of their character. And when a team shares the same character and values as their leaders, those values only become rooted more deeply in the heart of the company.
What kind of people work here?
We tend to attract like-minded people that all have a similar mindset: to go to work not just to make a living, but to also make an impact.
The people who work at Nature Fresh Farms are alike in many ways. They are excited to come into work each day and they are passionate about what they do. These people are working with the bigger picture in mind: to do all they can to get the best quality produce to people across North America. They have a team-oriented mindset that is focused on accomplishing goals together. And they are giving.
When I think of our people, these are the traits that come to mind. But what also comes to mind is how much trust we’ve built with our team–it’s the unique culture here that has allowed that trust to grow.
“We attract like-minded people [who want] to go to work not just to make a living, but to make an impact.”
Why is maintaining a healthy company culture so important?
Our culture, which sets us apart from so many others in our sector, has been a critical part of our company’s growth and success. We have had hundreds of people join our ranks over the years, so ensuring our on-boarding of new employees highlights the unique work environment at Nature Fresh Farms has been one of our top priorities. More and more, people are interviewing us as a company to see if we’re the right fit for them–we want to ensure they see who we are and what we value during their first encounter with us.
As we get bigger, it’s crucial that we don’t let maintaining our unique culture become an afterthought. Our culture is at the core of who we are, so as our team expands, we need to nourish it and ensure it shines through in everything we do.
The more we grow, the more important it will become to stay connected with our people, and the best way to do that is by maintaining a culture of connection. We recently conducted an intensive company survey to do just that: connect with our team and learn more about what they believe are our company’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. From this, we’ve already begun creating and executing action plans so we can continue to be the best place for people to grow in their careers and find fulfilment in their work.
Describe our company culture in 5 words or less.
This is how I believe many people describe our company culture: as their extended family.
Company Culture Testimonials
Our team members are the best people to attest to our unique culture! Here are some quotes that speak volumes about the experiences many of our Grow-To People have had working at Nature Fresh Farms.
“Nature Fresh Farms means a lot to me. It is not only a good company to work for, but also like a family. I enjoy working with my team, and all the departments, towards a common goal.” – Juli Z., Greenhouse Supervisor
“The people here have so much compassion for one another – it speaks to the character of this company and how well they treat their team.” – Dylan C., Commodities Manager
“Nature Fresh Farms feels like home in a way that nowhere else ever has.” – Melissa P, Scout
“Everyone here seems to have a team spirit and we always work together as a united front.” – Paul H., Procurement Manager – Mexico
“Nature Fresh Farms treats me like family.” – Jose M., Guest Worker
“It’s exciting to be a part of a company that values dedicated employees and is willing to teach them and help them advance their careers.” – Olivia B., Quality Control