Produce Procurement, K-12 School Foodservice

The Industry's Commitment to Elevate Produce in Meals

A joint webinar with the Institute of Child Nutrition

K-12 schools are large volume foodservice buyers that serve tens-of-thousands of meals to school children every day. They are often the “largest restaurant in town” and play an important role to introduce kids to a variety of fresh produce, potentially shaping their comfort-level (and taste preferences) for years to come.

On January 4, 2024, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) partnered with the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) to coordinate a webinar focused on produce procurement in K-12 schools. Speakers on the webinar included a school foodservice director along with several IFPA produce distributor members. ICN is the only federally funded national center dedicated to applied research, education, training, and technical assistance for child nutrition programs.

To watch the recording, visit the ICN website.

Creating a username and password to access the ICN portal may be required.

Webinar Slides

Produce Procurement: Understanding Availability and Specs, Determining What You Want and the Importance of a Collaborative Relationship with Your Produce Distributor

In this session, a school nutrition leader and produce distributors will discuss their commitment to making fresh produce more readily available in school meals. The school operator will detail how she sets goals and plans procurements, while distributors will share how they work with school customers to maximize quality, variety, and overall collaboration. Together, their goals are to provide students with great tasting produce that encourages increased consumption of these healthy foods. Additionally, distributors will provide guidance about how schools can request and spec certain items for their bid, share their knowledge about local and year-round growing seasons, and on-farm factors that may impact the supply of various produce commodities. This conversation will also provide an opportunity to share what information and flexibilities each party may need from each other to enhance the overall business partnership.

Garrett Berdan, RDN, Education and Training Specialist, Institute of Child Nutrition


  • Anneliese Tanner, Executive Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Boston Public Schools (Boston MA)
  • Alex DiNovo, President & Chief Operating Officer, DNO Produce (Columbus, OH)
  • Katie Whitehurst, Director of Brand, Royal Food Service (Atlanta, GA)
  • Jaynelle Nash, Senior Director of Sales Strategy, Pacific Coast Fruit Co. (Portland, OR)



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