The board of directors of Equitable Foods Initiative, the multi-stakeholder workforce development and certification organization that partners with growers, farm workers, retailers, and consumer groups, has named Pete Donlon as a new board member. Donlon, vice president of Misionero, will fill the seat recently vacated by Vic Smith of JV Smith Companies.
EFI is a nonprofit certification and skill-building 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.
The EFI board includes balanced representation from each part of the fresh produce supply chain. Among EFI-certified operations in the U.S. are onion growers for Onions 52 and Keystone Fruit Marketing.
In welcoming Donlon to the board, EFI Executive Director Peter O’Driscoll said, “Pete is the perfect person to represent grower-shippers on the board of directors. He has helped shape the EFI program as a member of the standards committee and an early adopter of our certification. We are thrilled to welcome Pete and know he will be a great asset, ensuring the EFI program remains relevant and adds value for growers.”
Prior to joining Misionero in 2015, Donlon spent 26 years at Earthbound Farm where his relationship with EFI was formed. He has been on the EFI Standards Committee since 2018 and helped Misionero achieve EFI certifications at two of their packing facilities. When asked about his reasons for joining the EFI board, Donlon remarked, “I’m a longtime champion of the ideals set forth by EFI and believe that it sets new levels of assurance for the industry.” Donlon also noted that “like Misionero, EFI sees social responsibility and transparency as true value propositions, and I’m honored to serve on its board.”
Donlon has long been vocal both about the continuous improvement needed to sustain the produce industry long-term and about his alignment with EFI’s efforts.
“The two largest impacts Misionero experienced while earning and maintaining our EFI certifications were increased communication with our workforce and greater accountability,” he shared. “With open communication at all levels, more information is being shared which helps us get ahead and identify natural growth paths for our people and processes. The worker-manger collaborative team ensures accountability across the organization and identifies areas where we need to improve.” EFI works with 25 grower-shipper companies on 72 farms, with 51 certifications completed and 21 more in progress. Through the EFI program, 4,000 farm workers and managers have been trained in problem-solving and communications practices that are improving labor, food safety and pest management standards for operations employing more than 58,000 workers. Industry members interested in learning more about EFI certification can visit equitablefood.org/certification.