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School Foodservice Partner X-Change

Connecting suppliers with school menu planners

This week, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) coordinated a School Foodservice Partner X-Change to connect produce companies with K-12 school menu planners from 15 of the largest U.S. school districts. 

The program was developed to enhance the produce industry’s understanding of this unique, large-volume foodservice customer and to create opportunities to increase children’s access and consumption of fresh produce at school. The virtual event connects buyers and sellers for 15-minute “speed dating” meetings where school administrators share information about topics including menu planning, procurement processes and more. Produce suppliers could highlight their capabilities and products. 

“This program connects school foodservice administrators and produce companies to learn from each other, discuss needs and potential collaboration opportunities,” said Andrew Marshall, IFPA’s staff liaison for wholesaler-distributor members and lead staffer on engagement opportunities with the K-12 school nutrition community.

Left to right: Andrew Marshall, Alex DiNovo, Barbara Harral

“These meetings provide an opportunity for our team to ask questions, share insights and highlight the products and services DNO provides to school customers and distributor partners,” said Alex DiNovo, president & COO of DNO Produce. 

Barbara Harral, RDN, child nutrition director for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Gaithersburg, Maryland was one of this year’s School Foodservice Partner X-Change participants, along with members of her menu planning and procurement team. “We’re hopeful this program will lead to more insightful conversations with our distributor and also enable the more than 100,000 students that we serve each day to experience some new fruit and vegetables going forward,” she said.

Participants in the 2023 K-12 School Foodservice Partner X-Change include:

School districts

  • Aurora Public Schools (CO)
  • Capistrano Unified School District (CA)
  • Cobb County School District (GA)
  • Detroit Public Schools Community District (MI)
  • Elk Grove Unified School District (CA)
  • Houston Independent School District (TX)
  • Leon County Schools (FL)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (MD)
  • North East Independent School District (TX)
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools (OK)
  • Omaha Public Schools (NE)
  • Sodexo at School (multi-state)
  • Urban School Food Alliance (multi-state)
  • Wake County Schools (NC)
  • West Ada Public Schools (ID)

Produce Company Participants

  • Bee Sweet Citrus
  • Church Brothers Farms
  • DNO Produce
  • Gold Coast Packing
  • Grimmway Farms
  • HMC Farms
  • Mushrooms in Schools
  • Nature's Reward  
  • Prime Time International 
  • Produce Alliance
  • Sunkist Foodservice Equipment
  • Taylor Farms
  • The Healthy Family Project

This July, the association will also host K-12 school menu planners at the IFPA Foodservice Conference, July 27-28 in Monterey, California. The association has already begun inviting buyers from major city school districts. School attendees will explore new products at the expo, participate in tours of nearby growing fields and connect with suppliers.

For additional information about the K-12 School Foodservice Partner X-Change, contact Andrew Marshall, wholesaler-distributor relations and external partnerships at (202) 303-3407.

For more information:
Ashley Sempowski
International Fresh Produce Association 


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