John Shuman of Shuman Farms and Produce For Kids Discusses Plans and Making a Difference Pre-Southern Exposure
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
TAMPA, FL - This year, Shuman Farms’ own Sales Director, Brandon Parker, is serving as the Southeast Produce Council’s Chairman. With one of the industry’s first key events of the 2020 calendar being the council’s Southern Exposure, I was more than a little excited to catch up with the company’s President and CEO John Shuman.
“Obviously, we are excited to see Brandon’s vision of the produce industry making a difference come to life,” John begins. “This year's Southern Exposure theme, Make a Difference, is very important to us as we hold giving back as one of our company's four pillars and firmly believe in making a difference in the communities where our products are sold. Several of our programs, including Produce for Kids® (PFK), are designed to raise funds for important causes and organizations.”
Both Shuman Farms and PFK will be exhibiting at Southern Exposure this year, at booths #400 and #610, respectively. Together, they perfectly encompass the SEPC and what it stands for.
“At Produce for Kids’ booth, we will continue the conversation about how produce companies and organizations can give back and make a difference. Since our inception in 2002, we have donated over $7 million to those in need and more than 10 million meals through our work with Feeding America,” John details, sharing that PFK has several programs that produce suppliers and retailers can participate in.
Among them are:
- Produce for Kids Flagship Retail Campaigns
- Mission for Nutrition in March celebrating National Nutrition Month
- Power Your Lunchbox, helping families smoothly transition to back to school in August and September
- Healthy Family Project Podcast and Facebook Group, where PFK steps outside the world of produce to talk about other important topics impacting families’ mental and physical health
PFK will also host its annual reception on Friday, February 28, at 5 pm at the Tampa Marriott in the Florida Salons 1-3, celebrating another successful year with its tremendous partners, sharing the highlights of the year, and giving a sneak peak at what is coming down the line in 2020 and beyond.
“Our retail partners and sponsors will be in attendance and it provides us an opportunity to thank them for their continued support,” John says of the annual PFK reception before we dive into what to expect on the show floor for Shuman Farms. “At the Shuman Farms booth, we’ll be talking about the Vidalia® crop and our plans for the upcoming season, including how, this year, we will be focusing on the excitement of Vidalia season.”
Consumers wait eight months for RealSweet® Vidalia onions to hit store shelves and, when they do, John says the product brings a lot of excitement to the produce department. Visit booth #400 for several promotions to maximize that energy for the precious window that is Vidalia season.
And continuing the spirit of Making a Difference, John adds that June will bring RealSweet Vidalia onions in special bags supporting Feeding America.
“In the U.S., one in six children face hunger every day. We know that summer break, without school breakfasts and lunches, is a particularly vulnerable time for those in need. Through the support of our Feeding America bags, Shuman Farms will provide 50,000 meals to families and will continue to work with Produce for Kids to spread awareness about childhood hunger,” he shares.
To learn not just about human initiatives, but also ecological ones the company is implementing or growing, be sure to bookmark Shuman Farms and PFK when navigating your Southern Exposure schedule.