Equitable Food Initiative, which works to advance responsible labor practices, has received a $1.2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.

The grant focuses on fresh produce farms in Mexico and runs through 2020. It will allow EFI to offer workforce development and certification programs to more suppliers, and it will enable partnerships with other organizations for the creation of training workshops, assessment tools and other materials to promote responsible labor practices.

“The grant support allows EFI to work across groups of growers, to expand its direct programs, and to deliver capacity, learning and tools more widely than its immediate networks,” Karrie Denniston, senior director of Walmart,org, which encompasses the philanthropic endeavors of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, said in a news release. “EFI is well-positioned to drive this needed learning, collaboration and problem-solving, given its experience implementing its assurance program in Mexico over the past several years.”

EFI connects its mission to the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices that produce industry associations published last year.

“The ethical charter is an important commitment and market signal for improved practices, but it will take leadership and investment from a range of stakeholders to ensure that the principles laid out in the charter become the norm for the produce industry,” Peter O’Driscoll, executive director for EFI, said in the release. “We applaud the Walmart Foundation’s grant-making to build capacity in this area and look forward to implementing our program and to working with other stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors to promote the charter.”


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