Bright spots for industry amid shutdown gloom

10/11/2013 10:22:00 AM
Ron Midyett

School spending for fresh produce is going up in a big way.

For example, Cincinnati’s public schools have doubled their fresh produce lunch purchases over the past five years, and increases for other school districts are just as impressive.

The advice from the experts: Get to know your local school nutrition officials.

Every school district is unique, but they share the need for meeting new school meal standards that call for doubling the servings of fresh produce. Partner with them to provide solutions. The need is very, very real and it is a tremendous opportunity for the produce industry.

It seemed appropriate to be hearing about this landmark growth in school produce consumption at the WPPC.

After all, it was the hard work of United and its allies advocating for many years for increased fruit and vegetable consumption in schools that made these advances possible. School meals, fresh produce snacks, salad bars and other programs are driving extraordinary increases in produce consumption.

That’s why, even if the government is forced to shut down for a while, we can never stop working together for a stronger, more prosperous industry.

Ron Midyett is chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association and chief executive officer of Guadalupe, Calif.-based Apio Inc.

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