WASHINGTON – Equitable Food Initiative, the capacity-building and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, has expanded its staff by adding two new positions. Adriana Martinez has joined EFI as director of certification programs, and Elvia Gonzalez joined as client manager.
After a career in various sectors, including government, corporate and as a consultant in community and economic development, Martinez is eager to apply her talents to the fresh produce industry. In her new role, she oversees all aspects of the certification program and will streamline EFI processes to ensure efficient and satisfying customer experiences. Martinez earned her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and master’s degree from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
When asked about her passion for her new role at EFI, Martinez stated, “As a young girl I admired my father’s determination as a seasonal farmworker traveling to Salinas during the summers. My knowledge about and appreciation for the produce industry has been a part of my reality for as long as I can remember, and I love that I have come full circle to a role where I can now support and champion how farmworkers make their companies more efficient and productive.”
Gonzalez also recently joined EFI as a client manager, to assist grower-shipper partners in reaching and maintaining their EFI certification. Her career in the produce industry began 25 years ago as a seasonal migrant farmworker, giving her a unique perspective and inside knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of farmworkers. Prior to joining EFI, Gonzalez managed policies and procedures to address and improve operations in fresh produce organizations. Her work has included managing supply chain operations and creating standards for best practices.
“As somebody who has worked at many levels in the produce industry – from fields to distribution centers – I am excited to use my knowledge to partner with grower-shippers and introduce EFI’s training and collaboration model to their operations. I have seen firsthand how creating positive workplaces that integrate voices from all levels of the workforce can pay big dividends in efficiencies and innovation,” Gonzalez remarked.
Peter O’Driscoll, executive director for EFI, commented, “2022 was a year of realignment for EFI as we launched a new strategy and diversified our program offerings to better deliver on our mission. We’re excited to welcome Adriana and Elvia to the team. They bring rich real-world experience from produce operations and program management, and a customer-centered approach. Their roles are integral to scaling our proven certification program, and I’m sure that current and prospective growers will appreciate their knowledge and skills.”
Industry members interested in learning more about EFI, workforce development tools, training modules and educational resources can access information online at equitablefood.org/resources.
EFI works with 22 grower-shipper companies on more than 60 farming operations. Through the EFI program, more than 4,000 farmworkers and managers have been trained in problem-solving, communication and conflict resolution practices that are improving labor, food safety and pest management standards for more than 55,000 workers.
Equitable Food Initiative is a nonprofit capacity-building and certification 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.