WENATCHEE, Wash. – Stemilt BB #:113654 is celebrating Farmworker’s Awareness Week by sharing the key role farmworkers play in its success and reflecting on the continuous improvement projects led by EFI leadership teams that improve safety and work experience for Stemilters in the field and packing operations.
“100% of our success is driven by the resiliency and focus of our Stemilters both in the orchards and in our packaging and distribution facilities,” says Stemilt president, West Mathison. “They take extreme care of our fruit from tree to truck and play a critical part in making fruit world famous at Stemilt.”
Over 10 EFI leadership teams exist to continuously seek out small improvement projects across Stemilt’s orchards and facilities. For example, this year, the various teams added fans to bagging areas on the packing line, created a map of emergency exits, placed cones in the parking lots to guide trucks and cars and painted designated cross walk areas for pedestrians in forklift and loading areas.
“We’re looking back on our first 18 months of being fully certified with EFI this Farmworker’s Awareness Week to see how we’re progressing towards a bigger change at Stemilt,” says Mathison. “Our Stemilters are the backbone of our success and help make our mission of cultivating people and delighting consumers through excellence a reality.”
To spread awareness during Farmworker’s Awareness Week, Stemilt is using social media to highlight recent EFI Team led projects that have been implemented in its packing facilities. The social posts include Instagram Reels featuring EFI team members sharing their team’s completed projects and their stories being long-time Stemilters.
“EFI has helped Stemilt achieve larger change by making small changes to its processes every day,” says Mathison. “It aligns with our desire to cultivate people through training and development to create communicative, problem solving and cross-functional leadership teams.”
Since its certification, Stemilt has met over three hundred of the industry’s highest standards around responsible labor practices, food safety, and pest management. EFI’s goal is to transform agriculture and improve the lives of farmworkers by building a culture of continuous improvement and a collaborative team environment that incorporates worker voice.
“Historically, agriculture has had a transactional relationship with labor,” says Mathison. “EFI transforms the hierarchy of management into a system of aligned teams at all levels of the business, from the front lines to the Executive leadership. This certification helps bring authenticity to our working environments and encourages Stemilters to embrace conflict and find resolutions.”
Stemilt is a family-owned grower, packer, and shipper of tree fruit. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt’s mission is to cultivate people and delight consumers with its World Famous Fruits. Stemilt is a leader in sweet cherries and organic tree fruits, and a key supplier of apples and pears. The company stewards an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business through its Responsible Choice program, which has been in place since 1989. For more information about Stemilt, visit www.stemilt.com.