Aug 25, 2020
Rainier Fruit achieves Equitable Food Initiative certification

Rainier Fruit has achieved Equitable Food Initiative certification for its largest farm of over 2,300 acres.

According to a news release, for the past three years, both companies have worked to align Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) standards with Washington state labor laws and are excited to finalize their relationship in tandem with Rainier’s 2020 apple crop.

The certification marks the first EFI-certified establishment in Washington state’s fruit industry.

“The EFI training and certification process fosters symmetrical communication at operations such as Rainier for employees and management to identify and resolve problems that often don’t emerge through other channels,” said Kenton Harmer, managing director at EFI. “Combined with a culture of collaboration it allows companies to better understand what sort of issues are important to workers, and to access their expertise in the solutions. It is very rewarding to see this model applied at the scale of Rainier and in such a dynamic category.” 

The EFI program is one of the most comprehensive certification programs in the industry and has over 300 rigorous standards. Formally beginning training in March, Rainier Fruit’s leadership teams of managers and workers have been training with EFI in a variety of different ways to help progressively foster collaboration and problem-solving by focusing on worker engagement, satisfaction, labor retention and food safety.

“We have always been a company focused on our employees and processes, but we also know it is necessary to continually adapt what we did yesterday” says Mark Zirkle, CEO of Rainier Fruit. “Working with EFI has confirmed our processes are always being tested to ensure our employees are being treated with integrity and excellence.” 

Rainier’s EFI certification includes a full manifest of organic and conventional apples, organic cherries, and organic blueberries, as the company continues to expand and adapt their initiatives to provide even more access to education and skill building in 2020.

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 equitablefood.org.

View a list of EFI-certified farms at equitablefood.org/farms.

Rainier Fruit is a multi-generation, vertically integrated fruit company based in Selah, Washington.  For more than 100 years, Rainier Fruit has cultivated a culture of stewardship that extends from their orchards to their communities that has made them an industry leader in the production of apples, pears, cherries and blueberries.





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