Equitable Food Initiative, the workforce development and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, is proud to welcome produce industry veteran Michael Lacey to the position of business development manager. In the role, Lacey will be responsible for engaging produce growers in EFI’s certification program and helping ensure a seamless customer experience.
Lacey brings 30 years of sales and marketing experience along with deep roots in agriculture and fresh produce to EFI. He started his career at Marriott Hotels International, then moved to selling branded fresh produce commodities to major retail and foodservice companies, including OSI Group, Darden Restaurants and Brinker International. Lacey then started his own sales and consulting company for several grower-shippers in the fresh produce industry.
Kevin Boyle, director of business and new product development for EFI, remarked, “During the past five years EFI has seen continued growth, and as the need for more comprehensive social responsibility programs increases, we receive daily inquiries from suppliers.” Boyle continued, “Michael’s experience in the produce industry as well as his roles on both the buy and supply side make him perfectly suited to help facilitate conversations and opportunities with partners interested in beginning their EFI journey.”
Part of Lacey’s responsibilities will include facilitating outreach to industry members through trade shows and industry events, determining the scope of audit for growers seeking EFI
certification and providing guidance to growers during the audit and certification processes.
EFI works with 29 grower-shipper companies on 80 farms, with 54 certifications completed and 26 more in progress. Through the EFI program, 4,000 farmworkers and managers have been trained in problem-solving and communications practices that are improving labor, food safety and pest management standards for more than 59,000 workers.
For many of the staff at EFI, the greatest attraction is the organization’s mission and the ability to make a difference. Lacey noted, “What drew me to EFI was the ability to continue my relationships with growers, while implementing EFI’s mission across the supply chain working with people who have shared core values to change the lives of farmworkers, while building safer, more resilient food systems.”
When not working, Lacey is a busy father and grandfather, but he finds time to grab his clubs for a round of golf or head out on a road trip to explore from behind the wheel of his RV.
Industry members interested in learning more about EFI, workforce development tools, training modules and educational resources can access information online at equitablefood.org/resources.