Rouge River Farms joins a fast-growing network of certified growers that have made a commitment to improve labor conditions, food safety and pest management through Equitable Food Initiative’s workforce development program.
The company’s farming and packing operations in Clewiston, Florida, became EFI's first certified grower shipper on the East Coast after meeting more than 300 rigorous indicators, based on independent assessment by third-party certifier SCS Global Services.
Rouge River Farms is a year-round sweet corn grower with operations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, as well as in Ontario, Canada, where it grows and packs bulk and value-added sweet corn. Certified sweet corn featuring EFI’s Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured™ label is now available in selected Costco Wholesale locations east of the Mississippi River, and farmworkers receive a premium from sales of the EFI-labeled brand.
As a 30-year-old company that has grown its roots from a roadside stand to a multi-national operation, Rouge River understands the importance of transparency and customer satisfaction. Robert Reesor, president of Rouge River Farms, remarked, “We have always made food safety and quality a priority, but EFI’s process for skill-building and workforce development programming allows us to place an even greater emphasis on the task, knowing that every employee understands and executes on that process.” Reesor continued, “With the EFI leadership team model, we were able to fully engage all levels of our staff even more deeply around food safety, as well as working conditions and pest management.”
“Through the evaluation audit process, Rouge River Farms has demonstrated that it has the full commitment of management and an engaged leadership team – both of which are essential to meet the rigorous requirements of EFI certification and make transparency a priority,” said Bonnie Holman, sustainability program manager at SCS Global Services.
Rouge River Farms has earned EFI’s 28th certification, helping to consolidate a compliance model that drives business performance, engages employees to ensure food safety and empowers consumers to make informed choices. Unlike other certifications, EFI also requires ongoing training, which is part of a model for continuous improvement that is always raising the bar. The certification of the Florida operation is Rouge River’s first, and plans are being made to certify additional growing operations.
To date, EFI has helped certify 10 grower-shippers representing 39 commodities and impacting more than 26,000 farmworkers.
Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit certification and skill-building organization that seeks to increase transparency in the food supply chain and improve the lives of farmworkers. EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to solve the most pressing issues facing the fresh produce industry. Its unparalleled approach sets standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management while engaging workers at all levels on the farm to produce Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured™ fruits and vegetables. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit www.equitablefood.org.
Media Contact: LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, (202) 524-0540, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rouge River Farms provides fresh sweet corn to the market year-round. Established 30 years ago, the company has grown to the point where it now distributes to many valued grocery chains in Canada and the United States. It has growing locations in Florida, Georgia and Virginia in the United States, as well as Ontario in Canada. Rouge River Farms works to ensure that product is harvested at the premium date, cooled immediately and then loaded for transport. Handling produce in the proper way and transporting it as quickly as possible helps to ensure that what ends up on consumer plates at the end of the day is of the utmost quality and freshness. For more information about Rouge River Farms, visit www.rougeriverfarms.com.
SCS Global Services has been a global leader in third-party quality, environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing and standards development for more than three decades. Its programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in energy, manufacturing, green building, food and agriculture, forestry and more. For more information about SCS Global Services, visit www.scsglobalservices.com.