ATLANTA — Produce marketers are riding some favorable trends in nutrition and school feeding, and now more than ever it pays to get involved.

That was the message for attendees at the Igniting Consumption workshop Oct. 14 during Fresh Summit 2011.

Panelist Kathy Means, Produce Marketing Association vice president of government relations and public affairs, lauded the success of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign and its goal of 6,000 salad bars by 2013.

Means said PMA has donated a salad bar to an elementary school near its Newark, Del., office.

Panelist Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation, said school salad bars get schoolchildren to inspire their mothers to purchase more fruits and vegetables for home consumption.

Panel members urged produce companies to donate salad bars to schools in their communities.

More than 900 have been donated so far, according to, along with nearly $2.25 million toward the effort’s $15 million goal.

Workshop attendee Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health for Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, said more than 800 schools have applied for salad bars but lack funding and called for the industry to step up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate website offers online tool kits for companies to get involved.

Jin Ju Wilder, president of Status Gro, moderated the workshop.