WASHINGTON, August 14, 2023 – Equitable Food Initiative, BB #:385632 the capacity-building and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, has announced new roles for organization veterans Kevin Boyle and Kenton Harmer. They will support the nonprofit’s expanding workforce development strategies and its leadership in the implementation of the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices.
In his new role as Director of Organizational and Workforce Development, Kevin Boyle is responsible for working with growers, workers and retailers to define and implement an industrywide framework for skills development and management competencies. Aligning with EFI’s latest strategy updates, his new project is working with industry, education and community partners to develop a skill-building and credentialing framework that provides transparent career ladders for agricultural workers and managers.
Boyle came to EFI nearly 15 years ago as a consultant to assist in the organization’s development and to facilitate the multistakeholder process that formed the nonprofit and its certification standards. In 2015, he officially joined full time as director of workforce development and then took responsibility for business and new product development, where he was instrumental in designing the certification program and onboarding EFI’s grower partners.
Boyle remarked, “Stepping into this new role is an exciting opportunity to innovate, drive meaningful growth and continue shaping the future of our industry for farmworkers and growers. Farmworkers are some of the most knowledgeable and skilled in all of agriculture and harnessing that value and developing their skills further is an opportunity that will benefit the entire food supply chain.”
Additionally, longtime EFI employee Kenton Harmer has been named director of market-based impact. In his new role, Harmer is responsible for bringing scalable, continuous improvement products to supply chains, including and beyond fresh produce. Focusing on technology and consulting products, Harmer will engage new populations of workers and organizations in using interactive tools, assessments, worker surveys and data collection. He will also head up development of an assessment tool for the fresh produce industry that aims to increase supply chain engagement in ethical workforce management and strengthen management systems to better align with the Ethical Charter.
Harmer joined EFI 10 years ago as director of certification and impact, where he was instrumental in developing the EFI standards through EFI’s multistakeholder process, managing the policies and relationships that comprise the EFI certification program, and advancing awareness and recognition of forced labor in the agricultural labor supply chain.
“I have greatly enjoyed working within EFI’s multistakeholder network to deliver a compliance tool for fresh produce through EFI’s certification,” Harmer said. “I am excited now to build a continuous improvement program that scales throughout supply chains, brings agricultural operations the resources they need to assess and improve, and creates a market signal that encourages and rewards that engagement.”
EFI Executive Director, Peter O’Driscoll commented on the new roles, saying, “Kevin and Kenton have been instrumental in developing and growing EFI and our certification into the gold standard for leading produce growers.” He continued, “Our new program areas will help meet grower-shippers where they are and offer new resources beyond certification to a larger segment of the produce industry. I know Kevin and Kenton’s passion and vision for this work will help broaden EFI’s contribution to the continuous improvement of farm labor practices.”
Equitable Food Initiative is a capacity-building and certification nonprofit that works to improve the lives of farmworkers and drive business performance by integrating worker voice and engagement throughout the supply chain. As a multistakeholder organization, EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to create assessment, training and organizational development programs that support continuous improvement and address the industry’s most pressing problems. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit equitablefood.org.
View a list of EFI-certified farms at equitablefood.org/farms.