LIFE STORY: Andrea Serna


Justice u.  The quality of being just, giving just treatment and demonstrating fairness.

Development u. The process in which someone or something grows or changes and becomes more advanced.

Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza (Argentina), April 12th. Andrea is clear: Because she was born in a winegrowing area, naturally, she would end up working in a winery as it was in her blood. It’s in my roots like it was for my parents, and, even if I don’t know if it was a choice at the time, I can’t say if I wouldn’t make it again today. I lived on a farm with vineyards in my house’s yard until I was 15. My dad’s lack of choice in the matter stuck with me, and as far as I can remember, I’ve always known this had to be my livelihood.” She adds: I would have liked to study law; although she didn’t become a lawyer, history shows that Andrea embodies social justice. 

Twenty years ago, she joined Bodega Altavista. Her story began in the countryside, and today from the general offices, she supervises the work on the farms and the grapes until they reach the winery. Her job today is different, but she’s never far from the vineyard.

Andrea remembers how Fairtrade came into the company. It happened when she started working at Bodega Altavista, I was more connected to the countryside and distant from the dynamics of trade. But that’s what Fairtrade is about it involves all workers. So, when people started talking, I believed it and got involved and wished to pass it on for my colleagues to believe it too. I organized the first meeting at the farm office where I was.

Today, she explains that she’s about to step down as workers’ representative at CLAC. She’s proud and satisfied as she makes way for someone else, aware it’s time for her to take care of herself. She’s a single mother with a daughter, and handling the intensity of the work required in the winery and the responsibility that comes with representing the interests of the workers who are part of the CLAC network, has been a relevant achievement that demanded a lot of personal effort.

She looks at the Flores del Monte Association, where she’s still working, and she can see 11 years of hard work. That association originated from the creation of the Premium Committee, where she was the treasurer. Regular trips to the administration, endless mornings, files, forms… But the main objective was obtaining the association’s legal status. 

Her daughter, Sofía, has seen her leave home at night to bring a wheelchair to someone they supported. But in the end, Andrea says,We’re free to say yes or no, but if we decide it’s a yes, we’ve got to get involved.

In the future, Andrea dreams the Flores del Monte Association[1] will have one big education project, with more people involved and the understanding that education, health, and food “are the pillars for the human being where he is and how he is to move forward“.

[1] As part of the Fairtrade Certification, the Premium Committee has to establish a legal person under the form of a non-profit organization such as a civil association for example. This association’s role is as follows: managing the use of the Premium with all of the partners—Company’s workforce. This association allows for the full independence of the workers when it comes to using the Premium they have earned from the sale of wines.

As a representative of the workers of CLAC, the Premium Committee, and the Mira Flores Association, she has been able to be true to her wine roots while cultivating that social justice to which she aspired when she dreamed of becoming a lawyer.

Believing that justice should be at the heart of the human condition to solve the most pressing challenges—climate change, inequality, human rights, and social and environmental justice—are Fairtrade’s fundamental pillars. 

[1] The Premium Committee is a group of workers chosen democratically who, in coordination with an Assembly composed of the workers of the company, develops new social projects for these workers and for their communities with the Fairtrade Premium: the Fairtrade Premium is a sum of money that is paid in addition to the retail price of a Fairtrade certified bottle or grape.

[2] The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fairtrade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC)


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