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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School Foodservice Forum

The United Fresh Start Foundation works to build opportunities for collaboration between United Fresh Produce Association members and leading school nutrition programs.

Spotlight Initiative: School Foodservice Forum

The United Fresh Start Foundation’s School Foodservice Forum was developed to support school nutrition professionals in their ability to source, serve, and promote  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.

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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
  • Kid Zone – 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 over 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 Participate

If you are a school nutrition director that’s interested in attending the School Foodservice Forum, or if you work for a company that wants more information about the Kid Zone, contact Andrew Marshall, Director, Foodservice & Foundation Partnerships, at 202.303.3407.

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