AgSocio Becomes First Farm Labor Contractor to Achieve Verification Through EFI Pilot Program; Peter O'Driscoll, Gavin Bailey, Matt Rogers, and Kenton Harmer Comment
WASHINGTON - For years, Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) has been working toward improving the lives of farmworkers across the nation. Recently announcing a new pilot program, the nonprofit saw success with its first company. AgSocio, an agricultural labor and service provider operating in California and Arizona, is the first to complete an initial verification of EFI’s farm labor contractor (FLC) standards, as part of this pilot program.
“While we continue to evaluate the lessons of this pilot program, it is important to highlight the consistent determination AgSocio has shown to meet the highest labor standards within the industry, and to demonstrate that a successful labor provider can also operate ethically and transparently,” commented Peter O’Driscoll, Executive Director of EFI.
With support from the Walmart Foundation, EFI launched the pilot program to verify that farm labor contractors meet the same rigorous labor standards that growers commit to in the farm certification program, a press release explained.
Gavin Bailey, Program Officer at the Walmart Foundation, also commented on the partnership.
“The Walmart Foundation was pleased to provide funding to support EFI's pilot program to strengthen the practices of farm labor contractors. Given that responsible recruitment is a key principle within the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices, it’s encouraging to see AgSocio engaging, and we hope others will follow their lead,” said Bailey.
In order to receive verification to EFI’s farm labor contractor standards, AgSocio had to form, train, and maintain a functional worker-management team, the release went on to note.
“We were eager to participate in the pilot program to assure our customers that we meet or exceed the labor standards included in the Ethical Charter and required by big buyers, and that we will open our doors to auditors to prove it,” said Matt Rogers, Co-Founder and General Manager of AgSocio. “The workforce development aspect of the EFI program provides a well-trained and motivated workforce that is critical to delivering the next-level productivity and service to our grower partners.”
Kenton Harmer, Director of Market-Based Impact for EFI, also remarked on the program.
“Matt Rogers and the whole AgSocio team have been visionary in this process, showing that high labor standards can also be applied to workforces employed by farm labor contractors,” said Harmer. “AgSocio’s participation in EFI’s pilot program provided an important use case and model, showing the industry that farm labor contractors can be partners in assuring that essential farmworkers have been given the voice, agency, and respect they deserve.”
Congratulations to all involved in this program, as it sounds like a winning achievement!