Canadian grower celebrates Farmworker Awareness Week

Windset Farms┬« likes to do things for its farmworkers. The company regularly brings in food trucks for lunches and holds raffles and barbecues at its head office in Delta, British Columbia. However, the most beloved event it hosts is a multi-week soccer tournament that all farmworkers are invited to play in, with the first-place team winning a championship prize. 

Windset hosts a multi-week soccer tournament annually that all farmworkers are invited to play in. 

These are some of the fun ways the greenhouse grower shows support for its farmworkers, but it also makes sure its support is clearly defined throughout the business. As Farmworker Awareness Week approaches, Windset Farms is proud to partner with the Equitable Food Initiative (EFI). EFI is an independent certification program centering around employee well-being and sustainable practices, including Employee Health & Safety, Food Safety, and Pest Management. Since 2017, Windset Farms facilities have been certified by EFI, and the two continue to grow their relationship.  

"Being an EFI-certified farm builds on Windset's existing employee programs which provides employees with added trust that the company is putting their needs first," says Jeff Madu, Vice President of Sales and Operations for Windset Farms. The programs cover a range of health and wellness initiatives, including mental health aid for temporary foreign workers. Last year, Windset participated in an AgSafe BC music video, a province-wide campaign to show support for farmworkers. Within that video was the story of the company's employees overcoming the struggles they faced working in a new country.

"Where does our food come from?"
Windset's participation in EFI also taps into a growing consumer concern. "Consumers continue to take a real interest in where their food comes from and the workers helping bring that food from farm to table," says Madu. "The EFI label on our products lets consumers know they are supporting a more sustainable food system. It demonstrates that we prioritize sustainability, quality, and ethical practices, and this can also help us establish long-term relationships with partners who share similar values."

The EFI label on the grower's products lets consumers know they are supporting a more sustainable food system.

Thus, Windset Farms feels that Farmworker Awareness Week is a perfect opportunity for it to proudly display its EFI affiliation. This includes promoting the week on social media, participating in podcasts and trade show panels, contributing to EFI's industry-wide newsletter and buyer-specific newsletter, and incorporating the EFI logo on produce packaging. "Consumers can support farmworkers by seeking out the EFI logo when grocery shopping. It's a small step that has a huge impact on farming communities," adds Madu.

Awareness around farmworker support  
Windset Farms' public support is meaningful to the EFI organization. "During the pandemic, farmworkers were recognized as essential, but they have always played a vital role in the food supply chain in providing healthy and safe food," says LeAnne R. Ruzzamenti, Director, Marketing Communications for EFI. "When companies like EFI and Windset Farms reach out to consumers to remind them of the farmworkers behind the scenes, it raises awareness of our industry and underscores the value each person brings to their jobs every day, ensuring a safe food source and quality products." 

The company regularly brings in food trucks for lunches and holds raffles and barbecues at its head office in Delta, British Columbia.

Ruzzamenti also notes that Windset was an early adopter of EFI. "The team embraced the worker-manager collaborative team model required for EFI and became the first greenhouse operation to receive an EFI certificate," she says, noting the grower also serves on the EFI Leadership Committee and is working with EFI on a waste reduction project at its Santa Maria facility. "It will always be part of EFI's history because of the boldness in being one of the first to explore the program when it was new to the industry."

For more information:
Randi Church
Windset Farms
Tel.: +1 (778) 908 1029
rchurch@windset.com     
www.greenhousegrown.com  


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