Tour de Fresh 2015 Day Four - Gary Stevens and Alan Ediger Discuss the Record Breaking Event
- by Melissa De Leon
ATLANTA, GA - After four days, two states, four hotels, and almost 300 miles of fundraising for the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Campaign, all 38 members rode in a single parade off of Roswell Road and into the Whole Foods Market parking lot to a round of applause from sponsors and attendees.
"What a tremendous event with fellow industry members!" Gary Stevens, National Sales with Alsum Farms and Produce, said on looking back at the experience. "Tour De Fresh affords you a wonderful experience while allowing you the opportunity to create new relationships with other cyclists who share the same passion for health and wellness! The support was incredible and the sense of camaraderie was outstanding. I hope to make this an annual tradition for many years to come."
Mary Copolla, Director of Communications for United Fresh, introduced representatives from Infinite Gold and Bard Valley Natural Delights, who thanked both their individually sponsored riders and the entire group in general for all that they did these past days.
"This year's Tour de Fresh was an epic experience," Alan Ediger, Vice President of Business Development and Full Service Solutions at Dole Fresh Vegetables, told me. "From the unbelievable support from the event organizers, to the beautiful scenery and country we rode through, to the awesome comradery and new friendships made, and last, the kids who will benefit from the new salad bars - this is an AWESOME event!"
Cindy Jewell, Vice President of Marketing for California Giant, presented to those in attendance with a very large check, containing the final number of the amount that had been received as the ride closed. Tour de Fresh successfully raised $150,000 towards placing salad bars in schools, successfully surpassing the $143,000 mark last year’s ride set.
Ty Burns from PMA gave a few thoughts on how beneficial this event is for the produce industry and for students nationwide.
"Anytime we can do something to help our youth as well as hopefully direct them to a healthier future it's a great opportunity, and in the case of school salad bars it's a win-win for the produce industry," Burns said, adding that he thought of what he had just accomplished crossing the finish line, all the fun, the hills, the suffering, the hills... and quickly turned to how great people in this industry are. "It's a good cause and it is confirmed by people's willingness to support it."
Because it costs about $3,000 to place one salad bar in a school, the new record these riders set means enough of a difference to place salad bars in at least 50 schools across the country.
Mary said it best in her speech thanking the industry members that made this possible: “You’ve put your time aside, you’ve put your passion on the bike - literally - and you took several days out of your professional personal lives for this cause, and we cannot thank you enough.”
Brock Nemecek, DMA Solutions' Account Marketing Director, reminded us that last year the TDF continued to raise upwards of $20,000 after the ride finished, and so they are continuing to keep the lines open this year in the hopes that they will raise even more for the cause.
Check out this amazing drone footage from the Tour de Fresh! It's only about 30 seconds long.
Since 2010 Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has facilitated donations to more than 4,100 schools across the country - providing enough salad bars to benefit more than three million students a day.
It has been a great pleasure to see so many people surpass their goals and expectations, both for themselves and for placing produce in as many schools as possible. I'm excited to have been a part of this wild ride, and look forward to what they have in store for 2016!