WASHINGTON, November 21, 2023 – Equitable Food Initiative BB #:385632, the capacity-building and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, is celebrating National Gratitude Month by sharing stories of gratitude and success from farmworkers and the benefits seen by workers and employers when workers feel valued.
The American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America Survey reports that psychological well-being is a very high priority for workers. In fact, 92% of workers report it is somewhat or very important to them that their organization values their emotional and mental well-being.
Sierra Farms, an operation of GoodFarms, recently shared stories of two H-2A workers who were incredibly thankful to be back on the farm again last season. Zureyda commented that receiving the offer gave her hope, strength and purpose. She has since paid off debts and built a home of her own.
Similarly, Julián was able to build a home for his family and noted that he recognizes the incredible opportunity he has and will work to keep it.
“Taking a farmworker’s job for granted is a miscalculation we see too often in this industry, and the result can be loss of skilled labor,” remarked LeAnne Ruzzamenti, director of marketing and communications for EFI. “Recruiting and retraining during a labor shortage takes a lot of time and funds that could be used in countless more productive ways, not to mention how turnover undermines progress in organizational efficiency and safety standards.”
For many seasonal and guest workers, comparable jobs close to home are not an option, and commercial farming organizations in the United States and Canada represent the best opportunity for career and financial growth. Bringing workers into the conversation from the beginning helps to better understand their needs, and working to bring them back season after season builds relationships, improves production, reduces missed work time and greatly reduces recruiting and retraining costs.
The Work Institute reports that turnover of an employee can cost up to one-third of their annual salary when considering the time and costs of all employees associated with recruiting new talent, interviewing candidates, arranging travel, onboarding, obtaining credentials, on-the-job training, the expense in dollars and time to correct mistakes, and slower than usual performance due to unfamiliarity.
“Lower turnover saves an incredible amount of time and money for companies,” Ruzzamenti added. “We’re proud to say that most EFI-certified farms boast high retention rates.”
Hector and Esperanza suffered a devastating loss when their home was destroyed by floodwaters within the span of just four hours. Their employer, GoodFarms, provided support in the form of new furnishings for their home after it dried out and the option to stay in a hotel while their home was restored. Hector and Esperanza have expressed their deep gratitude for the GoodFarms team and its support.
“It’s sometimes difficult to understand challenges that don’t affect us directly,” Ruzzamenti concluded. “Bringing farmworker voices to the table helps them to feel heard, builds trust, earns loyalty, and benefits both the farmworker and their company by helping everyone be seen and valued to create a common language for success and respect.”
For more information on Equitable Food Initiative, please visit equitablefood.org.
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.