“Just as Cesar Chavez raised awareness of the conditions of farmworkers by organizing a boycott that millions of Americans supported, we believe that consumers today can advance Chavez’ groundbreaking achievements by supporting the concept of equitable food. We are proud to join forces with EFI on this natural extension of Chavez’ work,” said Chad Boettcher, Participant’s EVP Social Action & Advocacy.
“EFI is thrilled with the results of our collaboration with Participant Media to spread the word about our ‘responsibly grown, farmworker assured’ certification,” says Peter O’Driscoll, Project Director of EFI. “Participant has demonstrated a capacity to mobilize movie-goers to act on the issues that move them on the screen. We are delighted that fans of the movie so strongly supported the farmworkers, growers and food companies working together. We hope this new label will enable consumers to find ‘equitable food’ in their retail outlets, and to use their purchasing power to encourage growers and retailers to join the effort to make our food system safer and fairer for all of us.”
Since its inception, EFI has worked with stakeholders from across the industry to develop a Standard for working conditions, pest management and food safety. EFI piloted the program on several farms, training farmworkers and teams on maintaining these standards. Earlier this year, the organization completed the first audits and certifications. The consumer-facing trustmark should appear on produce in stores within a few months; as the systems are tested and verified, the number of participating farms will increase.
The trustmark is the result of a unique collaboration between the organizations behind EFI and the consumer audience; EFI surveyed people who signed the pledge hosted on TakePart.com for feedback on various versions. “What we especially like about the tagline is that it captures how many people are engaged in making food safe and workplaces decent. Growers, farmworkers, retailers, and consumers all play a role,” said O’Driscoll.