The Food and Agriculture Alliance (AFF) hosted its fifth Safe Fruits and Vegetables Farm Tour for dietitians, writers and health and nutrition influencers on September 12, 13 and 14, highlighting featured crops in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Tour participants visited peach, plum, nectarine and citrus farms and vineyards as well as packing and chilling facilities in this agriculturally rich region of the country.
“This tour allows our guests to experience a day in the life of agriculture and learn how farmers and farm workers work to provide safe and healthy fruits and vegetables every day,” said Kate Tynan, council chair. AFF Board of Directors and Senior Vice President of the Northwest Horticultural Council. . “These influencer tours reinforce AFF’s efforts to share our factual information with media and consumers about farmers’ care and commitment to growing these nutrient-dense foods.”
“We’ve heard the word ‘amazing’ quite a bit over the past few days from our guests,” said AFF executive director Teresa Thorne. “They were not only impressed by the farmers’ passion for what they do, but also by their resilience, ingenuity and pride in providing fruits and vegetables to consumers in our country. »
The 2022 AFF Tour guest list included: Julie Andrews, Deanna Belleny Lewis, Mandy Enright, Maya Feller, Lauren Harris-Pincus, Sally Kuzemchak, Heather Mangieri, Vandana Sheth and Manuel Villacorta.
These guests are contributors to NBC News, ABC News, Self, Food Network, US News and World Report, Cooking Light, Today’s Dietitian, Parents, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Health Magazine, Univision, Fox News Latino and Prevention, amongst others.
On the first day, AFF guests toured the Porterville Citrus Packing Plant in Terra Bella, HMC Farms in Kingsburg, where they viewed peach orchards and packing, followed by a varietal fruit tasting at Family Tree Farms in Reedley.
On day two, Jasmine Vineyards in Delano hosted AFF guests where they watched the harvest, toured the packinghouse and chilling facilities, and enjoyed a traditional Croatian barbecue lunch. The tour ended with a visit to the McKellar family farms in Ivanhoe, followed by dinner in their orange grove.
“We can’t thank these farms and facilities enough for all of their hard work in sharing what they do with AFF guests,” says Ian LeMay, AFF Vice President and President of the California Fresh Fruit Association. . “It is such a busy time of year for them and they have generously opened up their farms and facilities and provided guests with invaluable information on growing, harvesting and packaging these wholesome fruits.
Sponsors that made the 2021 tour possible included California Citrus Mutual, California Fresh Fruit Association, California Table Grape Commission, International Fresh Produce Association, Pear Bureau Northwest and Western Growers Association.
The AFF also includes scientists on the tour to provide technical expertise. Joining the tour this year was Dr. Trevor Suslow, Distinguished Extension Research Fellow, University of California, Davis, Department of Plant Science and Principal of T&K Suslow Consulting LLC.
“We have seen the benefits of engaging and sharing AFF factual information by these influencers over the past few years,” says Tynan. “Their mainstream and social media efforts have helped AFF’s Safe Fruits and Veggies campaign systematically reach more consumers to counter the disparaging and misleading rhetoric used by product safety activist groups.”
AFF’s goal is to provide science-based information on the safety of organic and conventional products so that consumers can make the best purchasing choices for themselves and their families. The cornerstone of AFF’s outreach efforts is the safefruitsandveggies.com website, which includes information on agriculture, nutrition, health, toxicology and risk analysis for consumers, media, nutritionists and dietitians.
In addition to real-time social media posts during the tour, influencers will provide more in-depth content about their experiences and what they learned. AFF will share and distribute this new content to industry, media and nutrition communicators.
“Our sincere thanks to all of our guests, sponsors, Dr. Suslow, farmers and facility managers for making this tour such a special event,” Thorne said. “These tours are always so educational, dynamic and insightful for everyone involved. There’s no better way to show the passion and commitment of farmers than by visiting their farms and meeting them in person. And these tours invigorate all of us who proudly represent farmers to keep working hard on their behalf.
The Food and Agriculture Alliance is a non-profit organization established in 1989 that represents organic and conventional farmers and operations of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to fruit and vegetable growers, companies that sell, market or ship fruit and vegetables, or organizations that represent fruit and vegetable growers. Our mission is to deliver credible information on the safety of fruits and vegetables.