WASHINGTON — Equitable Food Initiative, the workforce development and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer advocacy groups, recently announced that CMI Orchards had achieved its first EFI certification.
More than 50% of the captive acreage of apples, cherries and pears marketed by CMI Orchards is EFI certified with the completion of certification of McDougall & Sons, growing partner and owner of CMI Orchards. The certification includes CMI’s top-selling Daisy Girl Organics® brand and its extensive selection of licensed branded apples in the United States.
EFI certification puts CMI in the elite company of 50 farming operations throughout the Americas and 20 in the United States. The operation is also committed to further expanding the program by training more EFI leadership teams and moving toward certification of additional acreage and operations.
“CMI is an organization that has always been committed to responsible sourcing – social responsibility isn’t just a trend, it’s the right thing to do and something we have been focused on for many years,” said Bob Mast, president of CMI Orchards. “Our philosophy has been to do the right thing, even when no one’s looking, and so it makes sense to partner with EFI to officially certify that philosophy and the good work going on in all areas of our operation.”
With EFI certification, CMI Orchards will:
- Develop cross-functional leadership teams that train workers in soft skills.
- Foster a culture for safer and more secure work environments.
- Build better lines of positive communication and problem solving across departments.
- Empower the workforce to be an active participant in the decision-making and strategic planning process.
- Commit to systems rooted in continuous improvement for both compliance and performance.
- Meet the industry’s most rigorous standards in the areas of labor practices, food safety and integrated pest management.
Bryon McDougall, co-owner of CMI and McDougall & Sons, remarked, “EFI certification was an opportunity to validate many of our existing efforts and to find ways to improve our operations with the best interests of our farmworkers in mind.” McDougall continued, “We always strive to do the right thing by our people because they are the lifeline to our entire operation.”
Peter O’Driscoll, executive director of EFI, noted, “Operations like CMI Orchards and McDougall & Sons help raise the bar on social responsibility for the entire fresh produce industry. They showcase what true commitment to social responsibility looks like and embody the very best ideals of continuous improvement and transparency in the supply chain.”
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.
About CMI Orchards
CMI Orchards is one of Washington state’s largest growers, packers and shippers of conventional and organic apples, pears and cherries. It is a diverse group with four independently owned family farming and picking companies, as well as distribution facilities and shipping capacities throughout central Washington.