Simonato at the time of Covid-19: we don't stop

13 April 2020

Now in its third generation, the Fratelli Simonato company is this year celebrating twenty years of organic certification of its organic herb growing and selling business.

Spanning 40,000 m², its greenhouses are located at Due Carrare, at the foot of the Euganean Hills in the province of Padua. They are equipped with modern, state-of-the-art technology that meets environmental requirements and focuses in particular on natural resources – such as light and sun – and finite resources such as precious water.

The company currently grows basil, rosemary, sage, mint, chilli peppers, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lavender, chives, dill and chamomile, guaranteeing year-round supply to our customers. In recent weeks, we have begun packaging our organic plants in a handy case with a biodegradable, compostable pot. The idea is to evoke the true value of nature: eating healthy, natural, organically certified food – presented with its roots in the soil in which it was sown or planted – is very important.

Our goal is to have an impact on younger generations, so that they never forget that protecting the earth, nature, the environment and plants is essential to our lives.

True farming is based on respect for the land, the landscape and traditions. The only viable future for humanity involves reinstating and nurturing our link to the past, including as regards production practices, epitomised by organic farming.

Since 21 February 2020 – when a number of new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, suspension of certain work activities began across Lombardy, and the town of Vo’ Euganeo in the province of Padua was declared a red zone – our company has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus.

We began by suspending business travel, client visits and in-house and external training courses. We implemented a ban on third parties entering our offices to deliver documents and packages, and introduced virtual signing procedures.

A system was put in place to clean shoes using sodium hypochlorite, and ensure frequent hand-washing. Since 9 March when the Italian Prime Ministerial Decree was issued and a pandemic declared, we have provided masks, protective clothing, hairnets and gloves to all our employees. We check body temperatures at the beginning and end of employees' shifts each day. 

We have reduced on-site staff numbers to one person per room, adopting smart-working practices where possible, and have redeployed administrative staff to other activities. We disinfect all work surfaces at the beginning and end of each shift. Offices are cleaned daily and aired regularly, and keyboards, mice and phones are not shared. Floors and other walkways are cleaned using pressure washers, and washed once a week with a sodium hypochlorite solution.

Arrangements are in place to ensure approx. 2-metre distancing among workers, and mobile workstations are being used. All conversations and communications among colleagues take place in open spaces. We have established an off-site workstation to monitor access, persons and the use of protective measures. We use the coffee machine separately.

We are working hard and with great sacrifice to prevent infection and respond to this situation. A briefing is held for all collaborators each day to update them on the situation and how our work is proceeding. With this in mind, we have included a thank-you note on our website, simonato.com, because without the support of all our collaborators, customers and suppliers, we would not be able to continue our organic growing.

The economic uncertainty and serious global human health issues, as well as the critical situation facing agricultural and industrial supply chains, distancing of work units and distribution of work across longer periods, are the first signs of the pandemic. We believe that the domino effect will lead, in time, to product and packaging shortages, cancelled deliveries and huge changes to the situation as we once knew it.