Homegrown Organic Farms is pleased to announce its certification from Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) for its California grown, organic stone fruit – the first stone fruit operation ever to be EFI certified. This certification demonstrates Homegrown Organic Farms’ dedication to the improved lives of its direct employees and all those associated with their organization. EFI-labeled product will begin shipping to Costco Wholesale and Whole Foods Market June 1.
EFI certification process involves developing partnerships between the farm and packing facility employees and their management teams to create a trusting work environment while improving overall working conditions, cultivating confidence and teamwork and building a culture of commitment and collaboration.
Kevin Boyle, Director, New Product & Business Development for EFI commented, “Homegrown Organic Farms operates on a set of principles shared among its growers that greatly align with the social responsibility principles of EFI. Given that, it is not surprising that it became the fastest operation to achieve certification after training. We are thrilled to be working with its network of growers to help engage their workers in new ways.”
Scott Mabs, Chief Executive Officer of Homegrown Organic Farms, said, “We are proud to be first in offering an EFI-certified stone fruit program to the consumer. 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.”
The final stages of the certification process were completed as the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. Completion of the certification is testament to the flexibility and commitment of Homegrown Organic Farms, EFI and third-party certifier SCS Global Services. “We deployed an innovative approach using technology and targeted on-site audit functions to meet the three organization’s safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring compliance with EFI’s 335 standards,” said Bonnie Holman, Director, Sustainability Certifications for SCS Global Services. “We were also able to confirm that the EFI Leadership Team was demonstrating value for the operation in the midst of the pandemic by supporting key communications and best practices surrounding the health and safety of workers.”
Homegrown Organic Farms is excited to be able to offer this reassurance to its customers and looks forward to partnerships with those who share in the commitment to healthier and safer conditions for farmworkers and all employees throughout the supply chain.
About Homegrown Organic Farms
Located in Porterville, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Homegrown Organic Farms is an organic fresh produce marketing company representing over 6,000 acres of organic production. The company was started in 1998 by John and Cindy France.
About Equitable Food Initiative
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 through a team-based approach to training and continuous improvement practices. 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.
About SCS Global Services
SCS Global Services (SCS) has provided global leadership in third-party sustainability and food safety certification, auditing, testing, and standards development since 1984. Its programs span a wide range of industries, recognizing achievements in food and agriculture, green building, product manufacturing, forestry, consumer goods, climate, and more. SCS is a California Benefit Corporation, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. More information available at www.scsglobalservices.com.
Cherie France, Marketing Manager Homegrown Organic Farms