Growing Up Fresh

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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What We Do: In the Industry

The United Fresh Start Foundation’s vision for efforts through the fresh fruit and vegetable industry is to build collaboration of United Fresh Produce Association members with schools and community organizations serving children food.

Spotlight Initiative: School Foodservice Forum

The United Fresh Start Foundation’s School Foodservice Forum supports school foodservice professionals in serving fresh fruits and vegetables to our nation’s children.

The Forum brings foodservice directors together with each other and with the fresh produce industry to share new products and packaging, promote best practices, troubleshoot challenges, and establish relationships so that schools can successfully provide fresh fruits and vegetables to their students.

For more information on the School Foodservice Forum, click here.

The Approach

Schools have tremendous influence over children’s eating habits and can shape their food preferences for years to come. In fact, school districts are often called the “largest restaurant in town.” More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program and more than 11 million children participate in the School Breakfast Program.

The School Foodservice Forum is an opportunity for the produce industry to support school foodservice in providing fresh fruits and vegetables to children. The Forum, organized in conjunction with the annual United Fresh Produce Association convention, includes:

  • Networking Orientation – School foodservice directors discuss and share how they increase children’s access to fresh produce
  • Fresh Festival for School Foodservice – A mini-expo through which school foodservice directors talk with produce industry leaders, sample new products, see a variety of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in single-serve and foodservice packs, and learn about innovative packaging, merchandising and serving solutions
  • Education Program – School foodservice directors learn “best practices” for sourcing and serving fresh produce and overcoming challenges. Attendees discover new opportunities to engage children with fresh produce, and how to extend impact beyond the lunchroom by connecting with families and community partners
  • Trade Show – School foodservice directors visit with produce companies, see and taste new fresh produce products and varieties, and learn about the latest produce trends

The History

The United Fresh Start Foundation has always welcomed school foodservice leaders at the United Fresh Produce Association Annual Convention.

In 2013, to celebrate a produce industry-led campaign that provided schools with salad bars, the Foundation arranged for 30 school foodservice directors to attend the United Fresh Convention. There, they met with produce industry donors and explored innovative produce varieties, new fresh-cut options, and foodservice packaging solutions at the trade show. The School Foodservice Forum was born.

The United Fresh Start Foundation now hosts 50 leading K-12 school foodservice directors at the convention each year.

School attendees include foodservice administrators from the nation’s largest school districts and school nutrition leaders who are committed to incorporating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals and snacks.

To Apply

For more information on the School Foodservice Forum, contact Andrew Marshall, Director, Foundation Programs and Partnerships, at 202.303.3407.

Spotlight Initiative: Industry Education Session

The United Fresh Start Foundation Conference’s education session showcases how the fresh fruit and vegetable industry is increasing children’s access to produce today, and how it can continue to in the future.

The Approach

A series of speakers and panels representing industry leaders and Foundation beneficiaries, partners, and friends share case studies and insights about opportunities to engage schools, communities, and their own businesses to advance the mission of the Foundation. The session is designed to inspire and energize the industry around the mission of the United Fresh Start Foundation.

The History

The United Fresh Produce Association hosted a winter leadership conference for over a decade. With the growing significance of the United Fresh Start Foundation’s work, the winter meeting transitioned in 2018 to include a focus on opportunities for the industry to get involved with the Foundation. In January 2018, the Foundation began hosting the conference.