National Editor Tom Karst recently chatted with Dan’l Mackey Almy, president of Irving, Texas-based DMA Solutions. Mackey Almy is chairwoman of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association’s nutrition and health council.
2 p.m. Tom Karst: Tell me about the United Fresh effort to bring salad bars to schools, and specifically schools in Texas.
2:01 p.m. Dan’l Mackey Almy: The fact is this; this is the second anniversary of Let’s Move! and, relative to salad campaigns, it is the first full year for (United Fresh) involvement with salad bars in the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign. (The campaign) has put 1,000 salad bars total in schools, but the goal we made with them was to do 6,000 in three years.
Our commitment as an industry was to get to 1,000. We are just shy of 200 as an industry. So we have done a lot and we have a long way to go. I want to celebrate where we have been but I also want to keep the eye on the ball.
2:04 p.m. Karst: What do you hope to accomplish in Dallas?
2:04 p.m. Mackey Almy: Last year at New Orleans, United Fresh did a good job of bringing awareness to the issue as an industry, and said ‘Look, we are going to this area that had been devastated, we are bringing our convention back, let’s make a positive impact.’ We donated 43 salad bars to New Orleans schools.
Of course, in Texas style, we are trying to get to 100 salad bars here for the Dallas United Fresh convention. We are doing that in a number of ways. Whether you are in Dallas or in Texas — even if you are not located here but you do business here — it is a sustainable investment in our future. (It is) an investment not only the future of the children, but certainly in our businesses. That’s the approach we are taking.
2:06 p.m. Karst: I saw the Atlanta Falcons have made some donations of salad bars to Georgia schools. Will you approach professional sports teams in the Dallas area to make a similar pledge?
2:06 p.m. Mackey Almy: We are. We have got feelers out to the sports teams here, primarily the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers at this point. We would love to get a shot with American Airlines and a couple of other businesses here, but those will come over a long period of time. So we are not just focusing on the big guys, but we are trying to get the industry behind (this campaign.)
For every call that I make to a company to consider (donating) salad bars, it helps when I can say that so far our industry has committed 21 salad bars toward this 100 goal effort, or whatever the number may be at the moment I go in. That’s the story we want to tell. This goes far beyond a charitable check for $2,500. The great news is that to put a salad (bar) in a school, it is $2,500 and not some overwhelming amount.
That’s why a company my size is able to make a difference as well as the larger companies.
I’m starting to ask my colleagues and my clients to consider, as part of their convention budget, a donation for the salad bar effort. We want to do all we can to create public relations awareness around our efforts during the convention here in Dallas. We have a lot of outreach to the media, so I think we will be successful doing that as well.