In 2019, Sustainable Food Group partnered with Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) to expand on the pest management section of their certification program.
Equitable Food Initiative certifies fresh produce farming operations under a rigorous set of standards covering labor practices, food safety and pest management. Certification leads to a more collaborative and respectful work environment, an engaged workforce and improved working conditions for over 34,500 workers employed on farms with EFI-trained leadership teams. Equitable Food Initiative was hoping to find a way to quantify their pesticide usage.
EFI partnered with Sustainable Food Group to develop a methodology for measuring pesticide-related risks on certified farms, tracking those risks over time and comparing risks to farms that are not EFI-certified. As a part of EFI certification, growers implement integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use and use the Pesticide Risk Tool to assess the risks associated with their pesticide usage. In 2008, the Pesticide Risk Tool (PRT) was developed by our parent organization, IPM Institute of North America, in collaboration with scientists. PRT provides users with an estimate for 15 risks including workers, consumers, bystanders, pollinators, and other non-target organisms.
The Outcome (updated January 2020):
EFI now has 34 certified growers, and 34, 500 farmworkers working on farms with EFI-trained leadership teams. These farmers are using integrated pest management and the pesticide risk tool to support the EFI Theory of Change. According to EFI, “We partnered with Sustainable Food Group to develop methods for measuring the impact of EFI certification on pesticide-related risks. They carried out the work with care and clarity, and delivered a high-quality methodology that served our big picture needs with a keen focus on details.”