Planting the seed of good health

By Will Gibbs, Yuma Sun staff writer | Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 8:47 pm

One local agriculture business is proving that taking your work home with you isn’t always a bad thing.

JV Smith Companies has a well-established health program ingrained in its employees. A popular staff-led fitness plan has been the newest addition to the company’s efforts of healthy living.

As one of the leading producers of vegetables in the area, the team of 750 at peak season has designated their workforce as a place of wellness.

Co-workers have been known to run road races together locally and are often seen wearing red JV Smith Companies shirts and bringing a sense of camaraderie to many 5K and 10K races.

According to a recent press release, employees commonly work out together as well as build menu plans together to increase their scope of healthy living. Two programs developed by the staff, Skyfit and Cosechando Salud, have been put in place to be sure that everyone who wishes to be included in the fit lifestyle is.

Ashley Davis, Wellness Coordinator at JV Smith, said, “Currently, we are doing a 10,000 steps challenge with a goal to take 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles) in a day, four times per week. We have 34 employees participating and it is our sixth week.” The company reimbursed employees 50 percent to buy the personal fitness trackers.

JV Smith does not only focus on their own staff health, but along with a match donation by company CEO Victor Smith, the business has donated over $63,000 to the Yuma Community Food Bank since 2011.

“I feel very fortunate to work with such a compassionate, dedicated group of people. Every day, I’m amazed by their kindness, their level of commitment and their real sense of team,” said Smith. “It’s good for the soul to be surrounded by a happy, healthy group of people that are making a difference in the lives of others.”

According to, the amount of companies that have some sort of health and wellness program put in place has risen a great deal in the last decade. Ten years ago, only 78 percent of total organizations had similar programs in their businesses. This year, a total of 91 percent  of companies have comparable programs.

Not all of these companies focus on fitness, however. The website lists disease prevention as the most common type of program with 55 percent  of workplaces offering it at their company. The second most common is medical self-care, followed by fitness, smoking cessation and stress management.

JV Smith Companies is the most recent company to be recognized as an acceptable workplace with a wellness program. Previously, Yuma Regional Medical Center was presented an award by Healthy Arizona Worksite Program for their efforts in workplace wellness.