Aug 26, 2020
Rainier Fruit earns EFI certification
Rainier Fruit has achieved the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) certification for its largest farm of over 2,300 acres.
According to a news release, the Rainier and EFI worked for three years to align 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, according to the release. Rainier’s EFI certification includes 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.
“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,” Kenton Harmer, managing director at EFI, said in a press release. “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,” said 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.”
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. A list of EFI-certified farms is available 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.