“Back to School” series connects produce suppliers and K-12 foodservice

The United Fresh Start Foundation will host a “Back to School with Fruits and Veggies” discussion series July 26-30. This virtual program will bring together produce suppliers and school customers to discuss innovative programs and new opportunities to increase children’s access to fresh produce at school and beyond.

“This program continues the United Fresh Start Foundation’s commitment to supporting K-12 school nutrition operators with knowledge and connections in the industry, while also creating opportunities for fruit and vegetable suppliers to learn from this large volume foodservice customer,” said Lisa McNeece, vice president of foodservice and industrial Sales, Grimmway Farms and chair of the United Fresh Start Foundation.

Programming includes daily online presentations and virtual discussion groups connecting produce suppliers and distributors with K-12 school foodservice menu planners. Sessions will elevate best practices to source, serve and promote fresh fruits and vegetables to children at school, address current school foodservice challenges and help suppliers better understand school sales opportunities.

“The pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions significantly impacted how schools make meals available to children, and how the industry is able to service this customer,” said Andrew Marshall, United Fresh’s director of foodservice and foundation partnerships. “The sessions will be an opportunity to understand each other’s challenges and priorities as well as spark new ideas for collaboration.”

In addition, the foundation will also host a School Foodservice Partner X-Change the week of August 2, organizing a limited number of private virtual meetings between produce suppliers and school foodservice decision-makers. Produce companies can highlight kid-friendly products and packaging applicable for school foodservice customers, while school operators can provide feedback and share information about the types of products that could be helpful for their various meal distribution scenarios.

Traditionally, the foundation has organized networking and education sessions with school nutrition professionals at the annual United Fresh Convention & Expo, and this year’s virtual program continues this engagement.

Registration is free for K-12 school nutrition professionals, thanks to the generous support of this year’s title sponsors: Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Grimmway Farms, Healthy Family Project, and Taylor Farms.
The produce industry and school food service professionals can register for the series at www.unitedfreshstart.org.

Sessions include:

  • Highlighting Community Collaborations and Innovative Approaches to Promoting Fresh Produce to Kids
  • Understanding School Requests for Local Produce
  • Produce Supply Chain Insights and Collaborating with School Partners
  • Prioritizing Fresh Produce in the Year Ahead: Understanding the “Seamless Summer/SSO” Meal Pattern
  • The Future of Fresh Produce in Schools: What’s Expected in SY2021-22 and Beyond
  • K-12 Connections Networking Reception

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities and how to participate in the School Foodservice Partner X-Change, visit www.unitedfreshstart.org or contact Andrew Marshall at (202) 303-3407.

For more information:
Ben Massoud
United Fresh
Tel: +1 (202) 303-3404

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