Ashley Nickle, editor of Produce Retailer and retail editor of The Packer (left) and Jimmy Bassetti, executive committee chairman for the Texas International Produce Association and president of J&D Produce Inc., Edinburg, Texas, present the Viva Fresh Healthy Living Award to Michelle Ann Passaretti, senior director of innovations for Geisinger’s Steele Institute of Health. ( The Packer )

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Michelle Ann Passaretti is the winner of the 2019 Viva Fresh Healthy Living Award.

Passaretti, senior director of innovations for Geisinger’s Steele Institute of Health, was presented the award April 26 at the Viva Fresh luncheon general session by Ashley Nickle, editor of Produce Retailer and retail editor of The Packer. The award is sponsored by The Packer.

In presenting the award, Nickle said Viva Fresh has been a place to find high-level conversation about the nutritional power of produce, in part because of the vision of Jimmy Bassetti, executive committee chairman for the Texas International Produce Association and president of J&D Produce Inc., Edinburg, Texas.

“There’s a lot of people in the produce industry who are on the same page as Jimmy, who view selling fruits and vegetables as not just a job but as a way to better the lives of people by transforming their health,” she said. “But the industry can’t do it alone — it needs people like Michelle Ann Passaretti, the winner of this year’s Viva Fresh Healthy Living Award."

Nickle said Passaretti oversees a team of registered nurse health managers and health coaches who care for patients, provide disease management education, develop health care plans and more. 

“Michelle is also responsible for the successful launch of the Fresh Food Farmacy.  It’s a great example the application of food as medicine,” she said. “What makes the program unique is that diabetic patients  receive fruits and vegetables right at the hospital — these folks are counseled on what type of food to eat, and how to prepare them.”

Last year, Hugh Topper, retired group president of fresh foods for San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Co., won the Viva Fresh Healthy Living Lifetime Achievement Award.
 

 
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