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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Back To School with Fruits & Veggies Schedule

Now Available On-Demand

Schedule at a Glance

All sessions outlined below are available in a recorded format in the on-demand package to be viewed at your own discretion.

Access On-Demand

Welcome Reception
Begin your “Back to School with Fruits and Veggies” Discussion Series experience with a fun “meet-up/networking reception” where this year’s attendees will explore the schedule, learn Zoom engagement tips and gain confidence to make the most of their virtual experience in the days to come. Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with school nutrition peers and build new relationships with the produce industry.

Speaker:

  • Katie Wilson, Executive Director, Urban School Food Alliance
Highlighting Community Collaborations and Innovative Approaches to Promoting Fresh Produce to Kids 
For more than a year, K-12 school nutrition professionals across the country have been working non-stop to provide children with access to healthy meals that include multiple servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Despite school closures, re-openings, and hybrid learning schedules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, these frontline essential workers have been tireless, collaborating with their communities like never-before and empowering students to eat healthy through fun and engaging activities. Leading school nutrition professionals will share programs and promotions that were implemented over the past year to boost fruit and veggie consumption, and which they would like to continue into the future. Following the presentations, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in conversations with school nutrition and produce industry colleagues, discussing what’s worked in their own communities to create excitement about the fresh fruits and veggies provided by schools.Speakers:

  • Jeanne Reilly, NDTR, SNS, Director of School Nutrition, Windham Raymond Schools (Windham, ME) 
  • Lisa Griffin R.D., L.D., Child Nutrition Director, Union Public Schools (Tulsa, OK) 
  • Janelle Manzano, MPH, Farm to School Specialist, San Diego Unified School District
Understanding School Requests for Local Produce
Increased demand for fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from local and regional farms continues to be a popular request from K-12 school nutrition departments across the country. In this session, attendees will hear from school nutrition professionals about their interest, goals, and reasoning for sourcing local, as well as understand how produce suppliers are collaborating to meet this demand while also supporting their school customers’ overall needs for fresh fruits and vegetables. Following the presentations, school and industry attendees will participate in breakout discussion groups to share their experience with sourcing local, highlighting successes and brainstorming solutions to challenges.
Speakers:

  • Erin Primer, Foodservice Director, San Luis Coastal Unified (San Luis Obispo, CA)   
  • Jill Kidd, Director of Procurement, Urban School Food Alliance 
  • David Golomb, VP Sales and Marketing, Paragon Foods (Warrendale, PA) 
Prioritizing Fresh Produce in the Year Ahead: Understanding the “Seamless Summer/SSO” Meal Pattern

Earlier this year, USDA announced several meal program flexibilities to support schools as they begin to welcome students back to in-person learning in the fall. This announcement included notice that schools nationwide can continue offering no-cost meals to all students through June 30, 2022. USDA is also allowing schools to serve meals that comply with a requirement known as: The National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO). Usually only applicable to schools during the summer months, the SSO meal pattern requirement maintains robust fruit and vegetable nutrition standards while also offering schools a higher reimbursement rate for every meal they serve. Attendees will hear from several school nutrition leaders from Georgia, spotlighting what these requirements mean for fruits and vegetables, what produce distributors can expect their school customers to order, and how Georgia is taking the lead on nutrition education initiatives dedicated to fruits and vegetables.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Linette Dodson, RD LD SNS FAND, State Director, School Nutrition Program, Georgia Department of Education
  • Kokeeta Wilder, School Nutrition Director, Fayette County Public Schools (Fayetteville, GA) 
  • Emily Hanlin, MBA, RDN, LD, SNS, Executive Director – Food and Nutrition Services, Cobb County School District (Kennesaw, GA)
Produce Supply Chain Insights and Collaborating with School Partners

A collaborative relationship with open communication is essential for success in any business, especially when it comes to a perishable product, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Hear from a panel of produce industry experts to learn about challenges currently impacting the produce supply chain, and how these companies are taking extra steps to meet the needs of their school customers now and in the year ahead. Following the panel, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences in breakout discussion groups.

Moderator: Alex DiNovo, President & COO, DNO Produce (Columbus, OH) 

Panelists:

  • Eric Uren, K-12 Specialist, Piazza Produce (Indianapolis, IN) 
  • Maggi Brooks, Director of Sales, Pacific Coast Fruit Company (Seattle, WA)
  • Lisa McNeece, Vice President, Foodservice and Industrial Sales, Grimmway Farms (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Steve Kenfield, Vice President, Value Added, HMC Farms (Kingsburg, CA)
  • Lauren Couchois, Culinary Specialist, Greenville Public Schools (Greenville, SC)
The Future of Fresh Produce in Schools

After an unprecedented year, and with many schools still not back to offering traditional in-person meal service for all students, many questions about school nutrition programs remain unanswered. Whether it’s the logistics of how schools will continue offering meals, budget challenges and unclear projections for participation, labor and supply chain uncertainties, or something else, all these scenarios and more, can impact how schools purchase, promote and innovate, when it comes to offering fresh fruits and vegetables. This session will feature leading school nutrition professionals who will share top-line trends of how fruits and vegetables have become a greater part of school meals, pivots made in the past year to continue offering fresh, and plans for getting back to elevating the quality and image of school meals.

Moderator: Dayle Hayes, President, Nutrition for the Future

Panelists:

  • Jessica Shelly, MBA, SNS, REHS, Director, Student Dining Services, Cincinnati Public Schools (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Lonnie Burt, MS, RD, CD-N, Senior Director, Food & Child Nutrition Services, Hartford Public Schools (Hartford, CT) 
  • Lindsay Aguilar, RD, SNS, Director of Food Services, Tucson Unified School District (Tucson, AZ)
  • Amanda Muniz, Food Service Director, Aramark K-12, Chelsea Public Schools (Chelsea, MA)
  • Laura Fails, Foodservice Director, Wamego USD32 (Wamego, KS)

Access On-Demand

For more information about how your company can participate in K-12 School Foodservice events in the future, contact Andrew Marshall, Director of Foodservice and Foundation Partnerships, (202) 303-3407.