Alex DiNovo and Katie Calligaro Discuss the Strategy and Value Inspiring the Foundation for Fresh Produce


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Fri. February 2nd, 2024 - by Jordan Okumura-Wright

UNITED STATES - Setting the tone for the year to come takes commitment and strategy, value and execution. As we look to the path in front of us and direct our feet at the accompanying horizon, organizations like the International Fresh Produce Association’s Foundation for Fresh Produce are creating a blueprint of change and advocacy for its membership and the larger community.

Alex DiNovo, President and Chief Operating Officer, DNO Produce and Chair, Foundation for Fresh Produce

“The Foundation for Fresh Produce exists to help create a healthier world by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and improving human health,” Alex DiNovo, Chair of the Foundation for Fresh Produce and President of DNO Produce shares. “The organization was born from United Fresh’s Fresh Start Foundation, PMA’s Center for Growing Talent, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. The world is in a health crisis, and we are uniquely positioned to catalyze change. We aim to establish a clear action plan, shift the mindset about nutrition, and unite around one strategy.”

The organization’s goals are to rally support from all sides of the industry and create advocacy opportunities for fresh produce that is also good for business.

Katie Calligaro, Director, Marketing and Communications, Foundation for Fresh Produce

“Changing the trajectory of human health for the world is a big undertaking—and one we cannot simply do alone,” Katie Calligaro, Director of Marketing and Communications, expresses. "If the industry wants to move its products, and if it cares about how its products can make a positive impact on health outcomes—whether it’s through retail, foodservice establishments, schools, universities, or through other programs like federally funded nutrition programs—they will need to fund the programs that help drive demand for fruits and vegetables so that consumers choose—and eat—them first.”

With this in mind, the Foundation for Fresh Produce is guided by four pillars that make up its mission:

  1. Boost appeal: lead transformational change in how people think and feel about fresh fruits and veggies (FFV)
  2. Improve access: strengthen the FFV ecosystem by creating systemic solutions that enable people around the world to eat healthier, especially in underserved communities
  3. Create alliances: galvanize the industry and strategic partners to come together for the common good
  4. Raise funds for impact: fundraise to create and expand programs

“The Foundation focuses on improving the appeal of fruits and vegetables as an integral part of people’s diets, supporting the development of infrastructure and supply chain solutions that provide easier access, and establishing strategic alliances that enable children and families to form healthier eating habits,” Katie emphasizes. “If the produce industry is not in the game of growing consumption of fruits and vegetables, what are we even doing?”

The Foundation for Fresh Produce exists to help create a healthier world by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and improving human health

One example of the organization’s efforts in action was the foundation’s representation at the White House Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities in Washington, D.C., this past March.

“The event allowed us to engage with leaders from both the private and public sectors, highlighting IFPA’s National Nutrition Strategy, and advocating for the expansion of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program across all low-income schools,” Alex states. “By ensuring access to fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, not only will we move the needle on produce consumption today, but we will also influence healthier choices that will create lifelong consumers and a healthier future.”

Stay tuned for more this year from the team behind the Foundation for Fresh Produce. Let’s heed the rallying cry for the future of fresh.