Government action needs industry involvement

07/08/2013 09:35:00 AM
Tom Stenzel

Our salad bar campaign has shown the way forward for schools — give kids a choice of a wide variety of fresh produce items and they will choose wisely.

Let’s challenge all the naysayers who say kids won’t eat produce to join us watching first- and second-graders devour fresh fruits and veggies from their school salad bar.

These individual efforts are critical, but we also have to connect with one another across our industry to deliver these messages. Politicians count numbers, and when they see hundreds of produce growers, wholesalers and retailers and allied organizations marching on Capitol Hill, they get the point visually.

That’s why it’s so important that we connect as an industry at this year’s Washington Public Policy Conference — in full force of numbers — to carry a stronger message than any one of us can deliver alone.

That’s the formidable power of a connected industry.

We are truly on the cusp of major changes for our business — immigration reform to secure our future labor supply, new school standards to increase consumption of produce, food safety regulations that protect public health without needless burdens on business, and a solid five-year farm bill that helps us invest in the future of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If we don’t raise our voices now in support of those goals, who will?

Tom Stenzel is president and chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association.

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