LAS VEGAS — The United Fresh Produce Association's Research and Education Foundation last week announced plans to develop a new Center for Global Produce Sustainability, which will initially be funded by a $1.1 million endowment grant over four years, given by Bayer CropScience.
The announcement was made here at the United Fresh Show 2009 by United Fresh Chairman Tom Lovelace of McEntire Produce, and John Smith, director of the Horticulture Region for Bayer CropScience.
During a press conference about the center, Smith noted that the world's population is only increasing, and that there are still limited arable acres available to grow produce. “We believe that our mission is about new technology — innovating new technology and services to address this growing demand for food,” he said.
United Fresh President Tom Stenzel added that primary goals of the center would include defining a set of metrics that businesses throughout the produce supply chain — including retailers — could use to assess their sustainability performance, and developing educational tools, services and programs to help those businesses incorporate sustainability efforts into their day-to-day practices.
Initial plans for the center include recruiting an advisory board of produce industry leaders. Stenzel also noted that the grant will also allow United Fresh to hire a new staff member to focus on these sustainability initiatives.