environment, which in turn creates value for growers and buyers. “Early in my career I realized I wanted to put something positive out to the world. At the time I worked for a software company, but at the end of the day I helped them sell more software, but it didn’t fill me up,” admits Ruzzamenti. Today, Ruzzamenti is well satisfied with the work she is doing and the impact it is making in the produce industry. “Generally speaking, I am very proud of the work we have done at EFI,” she says. “We came into an industry that was built on decades-long partnerships and people were skep- tical, but we made progress because of the organization’s openness and transparency.” Among her contributions to the cause are bylined articles on a host of topics, webinars, partnerships with trade organizations, publications, certified growers and outreach to consumers. “Consumers want to be able to vote with their dollars and support the companies that are doing the best for people and the planet.” One way they can do this is by buying food with the EFI label. This will continue to be a major push moving forward for EFI, and for Ruzzamenti. “One thing we will be focus- ing on even more as EFI grows is our outreach to consum- ers — the socially conscious consumer.” EFI’s agenda centers on providing confidence to re - tailers about working conditions, food safety and pest management. “Upon receiving EFI certification, growers begin adding the EFI premium to orders with participating retail buyers. The premium is paid by the retailer and used “We are trying to offer long-term solutions, and that can be difficult for growers. It’s hard to focus on tomorrow when you have a crisis today.”

LeAnne Ruzzamenti (L) with former colleague Rebecca Castrejon (R) at United Fresh's BrandStorm in 2019

sion-driven organization,” notes Ruzzamenti. “And I love working with my colleagues. They are like family.” Some of her previous jobs include marketing posi- tions with the Dairy Council of California and Crocker Art Museum, both based in Sacramento, CA, where she helped raise the organizations’ profiles. EFI is a social enterprise to transform agriculture through farmworker engagement. The organization is headed up by Peter O’Driscoll, who is the executive direc- tor. Headquartered in Washington DC, EFI works to train workers and incentivize them to collaborate with man- agement in developing a safe, stable and dignified working

Vision Magazine 57

December 2022

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