Farmworker are Always Essential
There are 914 million acres of farmland in America that grow a variety of fresh foods for the world to enjoy. Farmworkers work year round to ensure the availability of the bounty found in your local grocery stores. The crucial role that farmworkers have in our food systems were only amplified during the pandemic when essential workforces were specified and asked to continue their regular work schedules.
National Farmworker Awareness Week 2022
Today we kick off the 23rd annual National Farmworker Awareness Week (March 25-31) by recognizing that farmworkers are always essential. Historically, this week is celebrated alongside Cesar Chavez Day (March 31st), which recognizes his efforts and advocacy for farmworker social justice. During National Farmworker Awareness Week we continue to raise awareness that farmworkers are always essential and recognize the many ways we can continue to promote social responsibility.
The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that brings transparency and social assurance to the supply chain. To achieve an EFI certification, farming operations meet over 300 of the industry’s highest standards for labor practices, food safety, and integrated pest management. The program provides resources for continuous development and ensures farmworkers are treated fairly, compensated well, and are engaged in the process to identify and solve operational improvements.
Equitable Food Initiative Certifications
In the midst of a global pandemic in 2020, we earned the first Equitable Food Initiative Certification for the stonefruit commodity. Our organic stonefruit program continues to benefit from the foundation EFI set for multi-level communication and efficiencies in identifying and quickly resolving operational opportunities. The EFI certification process took our already forward thinking organic stonefruit operations to the next level.
“Our team members from the field to shipment are professionals in their jobs, and EFI brings the system to help facilitate cross-department collaboration and personal development. It is quite a unique program that is on the forefront of systems improvement for the farm supply chain. Homegrown has always been about the development and value of our team members and EFI is a wonderful support to that mission.” – Scott Mabs, Chief Executive Officer
This year during Farmworker Awareness Week we are thrilled to announce and celebrate the EFI certification of our organic blueberry programs in Oregon. We chose to implement the EFI program with our operations because it is more than a certification – it’s a unique program that encourages ongoing workforce development and stability.
How to Support Farmworkers
You can support farmerworkers by shopping EFI certified products that are responsibly grown and their partnered retailers. Share on social media using the hashtags #farmworkerawarenessweek and #alwaysessential to help raise awareness that farmworkers deserve safe, fair, and healthy workplaces. The EFI team has also put together a free toolkit for National Farmworker Awareness Week communications that includes graphics and key message points.