Equitable Food Initiative held elections to select a new chair and vice-chair at its fall board meeting held in Washington on October 2-3, 2018. EFI announced that Ernie Farley of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce was elected as the new board chair, and Carol Schrader, a technology consultant and former software executive, was elected vice-chair of the EFI board of directors.
Farley is a graduate of University of California, Davis, where he earned a degree in plant science. He has held many roles in the produce industry, building his career in tomatoes, kiwis and strawberries in both the United States and Mexico, and working in various positions including production, sales and management. Today Farley is a partner in Andrew & Williamson and has been with the business for 15 years. No stranger to the importance of collaboration, he has served on several organizational boards, including serving as chairman of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. Farley has served on the EFI board since its inception.
“The produce industry is at a critical time that requires us all to reflect on how we can change and adapt to new ways of thinking and doing business,” remarked Farley. “Issues around labor, food safety and consumer transparency require us all to evaluate new tools that can help us meet the ever-increasing challenges, and I’ve personally seen how EFI can play a direct role in providing solutions.” Farley continued, “I also know that the kind of culture change that EFI requires does not come without discomfort or detractors, but I believe the industry needs to better understand how we can adopt programs like workforce development that will strengthen our industry in the long term.”
Newly elected Vice-Chair Carol Schrader joined the board in 2017 and serves as one of three independent members of EFI’s multi-stakeholder governing body. Residing in San Francisco, Schrader holds a Bachelor of Arts in management science from Clarke University and has held a variety of management roles with start-up technology companies where she has specialized in raising capital, strategic planning, marketing and executive management. EFI said she has brought valuable insight to board, which depends on representation from across the produce supply chain, including farmworker organizations, growers, retailers, consumer advocates and independent business executives.
Peter O’Driscoll, executive director for EFI, commented, “EFI is a young organization, and a robust and diverse board of directors is critical to our long-term success. Visionary leaders like Ernie and Carol provide valuable strategic guidance that helps EFI focus on our overall mission to transform agriculture through workforce development.”
Incorporated in January 2015 as a nonprofit organization, EFI’s bylaws allow for two consecutive two-year terms of leadership. Erik Nicholson of United Farm Workers and Maisie Ganzler of Bon Appétit Management Company have now completed their respective terms as chair and vice-chair and will remain as board members. The board thanked them for their vital leadership and vision during EFI’s start-up phase.
EFI said its mission is to bring together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to transform agriculture and improve the lives of farmworkers through the process of workforce development.