Last week, during the opening session of the 2009 United Fresh Conference, John Smith, director of the horticulture region for Bayer CropScience, presented Tom Lovelace, United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA) chairman, with a $1.1 million endowment over the next four years to create the Center for Global Produce Sustainability.
The Center for Global Produce Sustainability will bring a strong focus to helping growers and food chain partners proactively shape and influence the numerous developments driving enhanced sustainability in the produce supply chain.
"In this particular market, understanding the views of the entire food production supply chain is critical to producing enough safe and affordable food for the ever-expanding world while protecting and enhancing the environment for the future," said Smith during his remarks. "We cannot achieve our goal alone, which is why this Center will focus on enhancing relationships between fruit and vegetable growers, the food chain and research partners in the U.S., and globally to ensure meaningful dialogue and advances with regard to sustainability."
The Center for Global Produce Sustainability will be housed within the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation. An Advisory Board consisting of leaders from across the fruit and vegetable production chain and allied partners will be appointed to provide leadership and direction to its efforts.
In the coming year, the Center will enhance its strategic work with allied partners in the areas of sustainability, focus on implementing its Advisory Board, develop a strategic vision on how it can best serve the fresh produce supply chain, create and publicize the Center’s goals and strategic views on sustainability, conduct outreach to key stakeholders, develop a website to exchange information, and conduct a baseline survey of needs in the industry.