An emphasis on wellness programs, including an employee garden, health screenings, free fruit and vegetables, and free flu shots are among the reasons The Employer Resource Institute honored Lundberg Family Farms as the California Workplace of the Year for the second consecutive year.

The Employer Resource Institute honored the family-owned producer of organic rice and rice products with its Great California Workplaces grand prize for the second year in a row. The award recognizes California employers of all sizes that have implemented unique, innovative, or exceptionally effective programs that make them stand out. Lundberg Family Farms was awarded the Great California Workplace grand prize in 2007 for some of the innovative benefits it offers its employees. Lundberg's efforts at promoting wellness in the workplace earned them the grand prize award in 2008.

"Our employees are key to producing high-quality, great-tasting rice. Promoting wellness is consistent with our company's philosophy, reduces our operating costs, and improves our employees' morale," says Grant Lundberg, CEO. "Our consumers have come to expect the best tasting rice products from us. By investing in the well being of our employees, we are able to attract and retain great people, and deliver unmatched value to our customers. We appreciate that ERI is recognizing these practices, and has chosen to honor us with this award two years in a row."

Management's open-door policy, which encourages every employee to offer suggestions and share concerns, contributes to the high level of employee satisfaction, as do Lundberg's generous bonus and profit-sharing programs, 100 percent tuition reimbursement for employee training, and the company-wide focus on health and wellness. Benefits like reduced-fee gym memberships, free flu shots and blood-pressure screening, along with generous preventive care services through the company's health insurance plan, are rare in American workplaces, and all but unique in the agricultural sector.

The Employer Resource Institute (ERI) offers practical, problem-solving information that clarifies employment law and workplace safety requirements for California employers. For its annual award, the ERI reviews all entries to the program, and then narrows the field to six finalists which are evaluated by a panel of outside experts in employment law and labor relations.

"California is in many ways a unique environment for employers, and the goal of the ERI Great California Workplaces Award is to share the best practices of top employers in our state," says Matthew T. Humphrey, president of ERI. "We were looking for real practices that work for real businesses-tactics that make them better places to work and more successful organizations."

Since 1937, the Lundberg family has been growing healthy, great tasting rice while respecting and sustaining the earth. Today, the third generation carries on the family heritage by using eco-positive farming methods that produce wholesome, healthful rice, rice cakes, rice chips and risottos while improving and protecting the environment for generations to come. For more information, visit www.lundberg.com.