(June 20, 3:35 p.m.) The message encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables is about to be disseminated around the globe, literally.

Zac Sunderland is a 16-year-old striving to become the youngest person to sail around the world, and along his journey he intends to promote healthy eating and produce consumption, particularly among kids, said Gary Caloroso, communications director for Produce for Kids, which, through Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., and Mastronardi Produce Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, is sponsoring Sunderland’s trip.

“His goal is to break the record, and for us, he’ll talk about fruits and vegetables,” Caloroso said of Sunderland. “What an inspiration. He’s a healthy teen who does eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, so he’s carrying that message with him wherever he goes.”

Sunderland’s 11-month voyage began June 14 in Marina del Rey, Calif., and his 36-foot Islander sailboat features the Produce for Kids, Shuman’s RealSweet and Mastronardi’s Sunset Produce logos, Caloroso said.

Dave Grotto, Produce for Kids advisory board chairman and nutritionist, has offered to provide nutritional assistance to Sunderland during the trip, and Produce for Kids also has made a financial contribution to the Junior Sailing Program at Westlake Yacht Club, Westlake Village, Calif., which is Sunderland’s home port, Caloroso said.

Produce for Kids expects good exposure from the trip, as Sunderland’s departure prompted more than 300 television hits between Friday morning and Saturday evening, and numerous international media requests already have been made, Caloroso said.

16-year-old sailing the world, promoting produce
16-year-old Zac Sunderland (center) stands on a yacht with members the Westlake Yacht Club and Gary Caloroso (far right), communications director for Produce for Kids. Sunderland departed June 14 on an 11-month voyage to sail around the world.