Fresh organic produce marketing firm, Homegrown Organic Farms (HOF), said Wednesday its California organic stone fruit operation is the first to earn sustainability certification from Equitable Food Initiative (EFI).
Washington, D.C.-based EFI is a nonprofit that certifies produce farms that comply with its standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management to use its “Responsibly Grown. Farmworker Assured.” label.
Porterville, Calif.-based HOF, founded in 1998, represents more than 6,000 acres of organic produce in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and was certified organic in 2008 by CCOF. The company had announced a rebranding last month.
HOF, which used third-party certifier SCS Global Services to earn the EFI certification, said its EFI-labeled product will begin shipping next week to Costco Wholesale Corp. and Whole Foods Market, which are EFI’s only participating retailers, paying a premium for EFI-certified produce, which is returned to the workers as bonuses. The two retailers have paid more than $7 million in bonuses to farmworkers.
“We are proud to be first in offering an EFI-certified stone fruit program to the consumer,” said Scott Mabs, HOF CEO, adding that EFI is “quite a unique program that is on the forefront of systems improvement for the farm supply chain.”
Since 2012, EFI has worked to build its social assurance program in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Guatemala. Dozens of grower-shipper companies are applying the EFI Leadership Team model, improving both the bottom line and the lives of 35,000 farmworkers.