September 29, 2022
Washington, DC – It was a busy week for International Fresh Produce Association and its members as they spent 3 intensive days in Washington, DC, preparing to connect with policymakers and regulators to advocate on a wide range of policy priorities, ranging from food safety to immigration reform to nutrition to organics to supply chain. To spell out what happened during The Washington Conference, it was all about:
A – Advocacy. Also, Authority and Action. First IFPA Washington Conference sets attendance mark of 450+ total registrants making the produce and floral community’s voice heard on Capitol Hill. Combined with the Spring Policy & Regulatory Forum, and IFPA members are making things happen in DC. Congrats to DNO Produce for being recognized as the 2022 IFPA Produce Industry Advocate of the Year.
D – Diet and Disease. IFPA and its members talked about nutrition prioritization in federal feeding programs and dug into how fresh produce plays a crucial role in reducing diet-driven diseases. The Washington Conference also coincided with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, where fresh produce was a key part of the new national nutrition strategy. IFPA’s Cathy Burns and Mollie Van Lieu represented the industry.
V – Vote. Mid-terms are coming and the upcoming elections have implications for produce and floral. We were joined by noted political pundit Nathan Gonzalez who commented “every vote matters because every seat matters” in the November mid-terms.
O – Oversight. On the other side of what happens on the Hill is what happens in the regulatory agencies who oversee our industry and its products. We met with high-level officials at FDA, USDA, USTR, and multiple embassies to talk about what our industry needs.
C – Coalitions and Congress. Through a variety of coalitions and its own work, IFPA updated its members on state of play for immigration reform. It’s time for Congress to pass a workable solution for agriculture.
A – Appeal and Abundance. IFPA celebrated the Joy of Fresh with an abundance of free fruits, vegetables, and floral during Fresh Festival reception hosting Congressional leaders, their staffs, and the community around The Eastern Market.
T – Time. It’s now for fresh produce and floral.
E – Economic impact. Produce and floral are a big deal in terms of the just-released IFPA economic impact study, employing about 1.2 million professionals and contributing $43.7 billion a year.