United Fresh Produce Association Hosts “Back to School with Fruits and Veggies” Discussion Series; Andrew Marshall and Lisa McNeece Discuss
WASHINGTON, DC - After the past year and a half of children learning from home, many kids are preparing to return to in-classroom learning following summer vacation. To prepare suppliers, the United Fresh Start Foundation will be hosting a “Back to School with Fruits and Veggies" Discussion Series from July 26–30. The program will be held virtually and will bring together produce suppliers and school customers to collaborate on innovative programs and opportunities to increase children’s access to fresh produce.
“This year’s program continues the United Fresh Start Foundation’s commitment to support K-12 school nutrition operators with knowledge and connections in the produce industry while also creating opportunities for fruit and vegetable suppliers to learn from this important, large volume foodservice customer,” said Lisa McNeece, Vice President of Foodservice and Industrial Sales, Grimmway Farms and Chair of the United Fresh Start Foundation.
The program will include daily online presentations as well as virtual discussion groups that connect suppliers and distributors with K-12 school foodservice menu planners. According to a press release, the session will elevate best practices to source, serve, and promote fresh produce to children while in school, while also addressing current school foodservice challenges to help industry suppliers better understand school sales opportunities.
Program sessions include:
- Highlighting Community Collaborations and Innovative Approaches to Promoting Fresh Produce to Kids
- Understanding School Requests for Local Produce
- Produce Supply Chain Insights and Collaborating with School Partners
- Prioritizing Fresh Produce in the Year Ahead: Understanding the “Seamless Summer/SSO” Meal Patterns
- The Future of Fresh Produce in Schools: What’s Expected in SY2021-22 and Beyond
- K-12 Connections Networking Reception
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions have significantly impacted the ways in which schools are making meals available to children, and how the industry is able to service this unique customer,” said Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s Director of Foodservice and Foundation Partnerships. “The Back to School sessions will be an opportunity to understand each other’s challenges and priorities going forward, as well as spark new ideas for collaboration.”
In addition to education sessions, the foundation will also host a School Foodservice Partner X-Change the week of August 2. The program will organize a limited number of private virtual meetings between produce suppliers and school foodservice decision-makers where produce companies can highlight kid-friendly products and packaging applicable for school customers. School operators will then be able to share feedback and information about the types of products that would be helpful for various meal distribution situations.
Registration for the sessions is free for K-12 school nutrition professionals thanks to support from this year’s title sponsors: Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Grimmway Farms, Healthy Family Project, and Taylor Farms.
The produce industry and school foodservice professionals can register for the series by clicking here.
As post-pandemic life starts to open up, how will other industry organizations help bolster the success of its fresh produce partners? Stick with AndNowUKnow for answers.