A Message from the EFI:
The Equitable Food Initiative is pleased to announce that two large farming operations have just been certified to the EFI Standard for working conditions, pesticide management and food safety.
The first certification was issued to an Andrew & Williamson strawberry farm in Oxnard, CA; the second went to Earthbound Farm, a leading producer of organic salad greens and specialty vegetables, certifying their winter production district in Holtville, CA.
“These growers showed great integrity and forward thinking in being among the first to step up and pilot the EFI training with their farmworkers and field teams,” says Peter O’Driscoll, EFI project director. “We have great hopes that the Standard will help the farms be more productive and sustainable, as they tap into the experience and knowledge of farmworkers.”
Once a farm is certified, it can use the EFI “trustmark” on its packaging, to indicate it has met the EFI Standard. “We hope consumers will look for the trustmark, and will help generate demand for more certified produce,” says O’Driscoll. “The label says it best. These fruits and vegetables have been responsibly grown and farmworker assured.”
Andrew & Williamson was the first grower to join the EFI consortium, and the first to train their farmworkers on the EFI Standard. “I know Ernie Farley (partner at A&W and treasurer of EFI) and everyone at the farm is thrilled to be the first certified grower,” says Steve Fox, EFI senior advisor. “They’ve been engaged and supportive from the start. Their participation has been vital to EFI as we learn more and more about training, implementing, and ensuring a decent workplace and safe food.”
“We’re really pleased that so much hard work has paid off,” says O’Driscoll. “And this is just the beginning, as we get ready to audit and certify more farms around the country. We hope to see that trustmark in stores soon!”
Both growers provide produce to Costco, the second largest food retailer in the US and the first retailer to sign onto EFI. We’ll let you know as soon as the certified produce hits the stores.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in EFI in taking this important next step forward,” says O’Driscoll. “This program is a new way of operating — one that pulls everyone together in the effort to improve the entire food system — and it requires dedication and hard work. We’re happy to celebrate our progress.”