Following more than two years of strategic planning, the United Fresh Produce Association has unveiled its board of trustees to lead its new United Fresh Start Foundation, whose mission focuses on increasing children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Building on the leadership and work of United’s Nutrition and Health Council and all of United’s policy and outreach programs over the recent years, United Board's decided to refocus and reposition the United Research and Education Foundation to focus solely on nutrition and health.
The new United Fresh Start Foundation will create a unique platform to provide a fresh start for kids by increasing their access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and to help grow United’s impact in serving this important mission.
The foundation's inaugural board of trustees includes:
• Jim Lemke, SVP, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, chairman
• Kenny Avery, Global Commercial Lead, Monsanto
• Karen Caplan, president & CEO, Frieda’s
• Robert Gordon, president, FreshPoint
• Emanuel Lazopoulos, SVP, N.A. sales & product management, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A.
• Dan’l Mackey Almy, president/CEO, DMA Solutions
• Lisa McNeece, VP, foodservice and industrial sales, Grimmway Enterprises
• Phil Muir, president/CEO, Muir Copper Canyon Farms
• Lee Anne Oxford, director of marketing, L & M Cos.
• Steffanie Smith, CEO, Colorful Harvest
• Hugh Topper, Group V.P. Fresh, H-E-B
“In looking at board members to lead the new Foundation, we sought industry leaders who are passionate and committed to the mission and will be strong public advocates for the organization,” said United Chairman Ron Carkoski, president/CEO, Four Seasons Family of Cos. “I’m confident that the collective talent of this group will bring an energy and passion that will not only accelerate our mission, but significantly change the landscape of our children’s health and the future of our nation.”
In addition to the board of trustees, the foundation efforts will be supported by program committees focused directly on key initiatives, including United’s leadership of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign and school foodservice outreach programs. The foundation will be soliciting volunteers for industry members to serve on the different committees.
“We’ve made incredible progress with salad bars and advancing healthy eating in schools over the past five years,” said Tom Stenzel, president/CEO, United Fresh Produce Association. “But we still have much work to be done to reach our national objective that “half the plate” consists of fruits and vegetables. We are working to double fresh fruit and vegetable consumption by the next generation.”
“The United board of directors has challenged us with some very lofty goals,” said foundation Chairman Jim Lemke, CH Robinson Worldwide. “And I am confident that this new board of trustees will help lead the charge and make a real difference. The livelihood of our country is dependent upon having a healthy generation to lead us forward, and we are committed to making that happen.”