Equitable Food Initiative Reflects on Successes of 2022; Peter O’Driscoll Discusses
WASHINGTON, DC - In order to set goals for the year ahead, it is imperative to look back on what you achieved in the 12 months just finished, and that is exactly what the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) has done. With 2023 underway, the organization has taken stock of its 2022 growth, detailing new partnerships and tools that helped to transform the industry and lives of farmworkers.
“The fresh produce industry has been severely challenged in recent years by the combination of COVID, supply chain disruption, inflation, uneven regulation, labor shortages, and more frequent extreme weather events,” said Peter O’Driscoll, Executive Director of EFI. “As a multi-stakeholder collaboration, EFI’s role is to support the industry to overcome these challenges through workforce engagement, in ways that bring measurable value to workers, employers, retailers, and consumers alike.”
Marking a year of growth, 2022 saw increased industry impact for EFI. According to a release, throughout the 365 days, the organization certified 53 operations in five countries, with another 19 farms in progress. Together, those operations employ almost 60,000 workers, and EFI’s premium program generated more than $3.2 million in worker bonuses in 2022.
Some of EFI and its partners’ achievements in the past year include:
- Earning recognition from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in September, making it the only “one-stop-shop” certification that allows growers to meet most major retail requirements for labor, food safety, and integrated pest management through a single audit
- Having its integrated pest management standards recognized as one of Walmart’s qualified programs for new pollinator health commitments
- The Walmart Foundation awarding EFI a two-year, $2 million grant to support implementation of the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices
- EFI and Measure to Improve partnering to pilot waste reduction programs on three farms, with support from the California Workforce Development Board’s High Road Training Partnership to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions
Additionally, EFI completed 22 team trainings in 2022, including a pilot program for farm labor contractors and a partnership with Rengerative Organic Alliances that applies EFI labor standards to smaller producers to achieve Regenerative Organic Certification.
Learn more about EFI’s 2022 actions here.
Moving into 2023, the organization is preparing to roll out new programs and education resources.
To see what EFI will accomplish over the next 12 months, keep reading AndNowUKnow.