Schools throughout New Orleans will be beneficiaries this fall as the United Fresh Produce Association announced that it will donate multiple salad bars to schools in the Crescent City as part of its A Salad Bar in Every School campaign. During this year’s Washington Public Policy Conference, United Fresh will host a New Orleans–themed cruise September 14 aboard the Cherry Blossom, a 19th century-style Victorian sternwheeler, and will feature Dixieland jazz, dinner, drinks, and a nighttime tour of the Washington, D.C. monuments by water.

“Healthy options in school are a must for kids nationwide, but in New Orleans, which continues to face so many challenges following Hurricane Katrina, the need is especially great,” says United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “Through this special event, the Salad Bar in Every School campaign will receive the resources to donate salad bars full of fresh, healthy produce to New Orleans schools. As part of the Washington Public Policy Conference, we will take the message of nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables for children from this new event to Capitol Hill and beyond.”

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward providing salad bars to New Orleans schools. Donations will be made during the United Fresh 2011 Convention and Expo, May 2–5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Launched in February 2010 by the United Fresh Foundation, the A Salad Bar in Every School campaign is a multi-year public health commitment from the fresh produce industry designed to bring fruit and vegetable salad bars to schools across America. There are multiple levels of sponsorship support as well as individual tickets for the cruise that begin at $125 and can be purchased by contacting United’s vice president of business development Claudia Wenzing at 202-303-3400, ext. 415 or

The cruise is a new feature of United’s annual Washington Public Policy Conference, September 14–16 at the Gaylord National Hotel on the banks of the Potomac River. During the three-day conference, produce industry members will gather to discuss the role of salad bars in child nutrition, as well as other critical issues, including food safety, farm labor, nutrition, and consumption and the locally-grown trend. During the conference’s March on Capitol Hill, industry members will have the unique opportunity to meet in-person with lawmakers and staff in congressional offices and discuss food safety policies with FDA officials, hear from key Cabinet officials, and engage in face-to-face dialogue with President Obama’s executive team.

This year’s conference will also include the business development-focused Management Resource Center and the ever-popular Fresh Festival on Capitol Hill, a favorite among industry members and congressional staffers alike. During Fresh Festival, House and Senate lawmakers and their staff join attendees in sampling the various fruits and vegetables the produce industry has to offer.

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