I would love to see a survey of fresh produce industry professionals on the topic of healthy eating habits. The crux of the question is simple: does being a member of the “produce industry” make one more likely to eat right?
Do fresh produce professionals eat more fruits and vegetables than the norm? One would certainly hope so, given the premise of most marketers is that fresh produce in America today is woefully under consumed relative to the dietary guidelines. More Matters, 5 a day for better health and so on.
I think of this after reading a blog at Smithsonian.com headlined “Just Because Farmers Grow Fresh Produce Doesn’t Mean They’re Eating It.”
The author cited a survey from Modern Farmer that quizzed growers who supplied fresh produce to a farmers’ market and found that many of them didn’t have the time or inclination to practice what they preach.
From the story:
The contrast between what’s grown and what’s eaten is perhaps starkest in California, Modern Farmer says, where 80 percent of farmers—many of whom are new to the country and grapple with poverty—suffer from obesity. But even farmers at family-run or smaller operations can be nutrition-deprived. Especially during the busy summer months, they subsist on processed snacks, pizza and perhaps an apple at best. “A lot of the times cooking comes at the expense of sleep,” one CSA farmer told Modern Farmer.
We are all time-starved, and it seems many of us, growers and produce evangelists included, make up with that deficit with drive-through KFC instead of fresh produce.
How confident are you that the average Joe or Jill in your produce company eats more apples, broccoli, lettuce, oranges, et cetera, than the Bill and Suzy working in another white collar job? Do you even care?
I would like to hear stories how fresh produce companies (and produce associations) make eating right the easy thing to do. How many companies provide healthy options in the cafeteria or perhaps provide fresh fruit and vegetable snacks. How great would it be if the boss filled up the fruit bowl every day, or set out a veggie tray every Friday?
There is no fresh produce regularly supplied to The Packer’s office, so it is up to each employee to practice his own food faith.
In the office, we have a long, elbow-high file cabinet near the copy editing desk that is fondly known as “OBF,” which is an acronym for “Over by Fred.” Fred is Fred Wilkinson, our managing editor.
When office treats are brought in by various editors or writers(thanks Amelia!), the point of distribution is OBF, on top of the black cabinet near the copy desk. "Chocolate cake OBF," for example, might be the subject line of a welcome office email.
While we are treated by produce marketers with the occasional wonderful box of apples or cherries at the start of a season or during the holidays, the typical "OBF" treat is high calorie, not high nutrition.
Changing the food environment won't be easy. If given the choice between carrot sticks and cupcakes on the treat table, I still might choose cupcakes.
I know that makes me a terrible person. I’ll try to reform- along with the rest of you.