One Man’s Quest To Make The World a Little More Green
BY MONICA SIFERT
After traveling the world following a stint as a professional volleyball player, Drew Manusharow wanted to see a change in clean energy, clean food, and clean water everywhere, so he set his efforts to make an impact on a global scale.
Due to an injury and a strong desire to travel full-time, Drew’s career playing professional volleyball in Germany came to a premature end a few years ago. This gave him the opportunity to travel overseas and explore the many countries that were different from the United States. His travels had a profound effect, and led him to launch United Fruit International Co. Headquartered in Phoenix, all produce is sourced from farmers from around the world. United Fruit International aims to to assist and represent farmers that grow organic, GLOBALG.A.P. and Rainforests Alliance Certified produce.
From North and South Africa to Asia and Europe, Drew was most amazed to see diverse cities and small villages who were not on the Internet, just living a simple and humble life. With India having a bigger population than the United States, and incomparably greater air pollution, Drew was inspired by his favorite country to bring clean air to people. As he continued to travel to each country, he noticed the majority of them had were lacking three things: clean water, clean food, and clean energy. This is what inspired him to start working with clean energy and in turn fueled him to start a business in fair and globally-traded organic produce.
In 2013, Drew began his career in sustainability, choosing to pursue solar power because each country already had the sun as a resource. He decided he could start making a change with energy, because it is a basic need that would make a huge difference. Working with SolarCity and Tesla allowed Drew to accomplish his dream of bringing clean energy and clean air to many families, but he still wanted to do more. “I accomplished what I wanted to with clean energy. Next, I wanted to create a business that gave locally,” Drew said. It felt like a calling to start up a company that could supply produce to areas of the world like Asia that he visited with produce from America — like citrus from California or Arizona. By ethically and sustainably sourcing organic produce from farmers all over the world, he has business partners and clients in Europe, South Africa, Japan and other hubs around the globe. We aim to represent organic farmers that foster a sustainable way of growing says Drew, who has always lived a healthy lifestyle. He was looking to bring healthier options to a global scale with produce grown without growth hormones or pesticides.
Drew loves that the food tells a story from each person and culture from around the world. “Whether you are sharing a meal with others or eating by yourself, you are part of the story,” he said.
In remembrance of his late father, Drew always lives “be[ing] aware of his surrounding(s).” This is a piece of treasure that he brings to friends, fellow travelers, his community, and his business today. Those words have helped him be grateful for his experiences and for having the capability of making basic resources accessible to many. “The most gratifying thing is helping other people experience different cultures, having that vision and connecting people from all over the world,” Drew said.
Monica Sifert, an Arizona native, is a recent graduate from Seat of Wisdom College in Ontario, Canada. She recently joined Green Living as an intern and is currently taking graphic design classes online.