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Lorelei DiSogra to be honored at Reception Honoring Women in Produce

Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at the United Fresh Produce Association, will be the honoree and featured speaker at the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Wednesday, June 14, at United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. Prior to her decade of service to the industry at United Fresh, DiSogra was the director of the National 5 A Day Program at the National Cancer Institute 2001-05, vice president of nutrition at Dole Food Co. 1991-2001, and the director of intervention for the California 5 A Day Campaign 1985-91.  

The Reception Honoring Women in Produce is held each year in conjunction with the United Fresh convention and expo. The event recognizes the contributions of all women working in the produce industry, and selects one individual to share her personal experience of service. The featured speaker is selected from nominations submitted by United Fresh members across the industry. Nominations are evaluated by a committee of past honorees and United Fresh officers based on the candidate’s involvement in the industry, contributions to the industry and inspiration for others working in the industry.

“Lorelei has been a relentless advocate for the produce industry in service to a greater public health mission,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “She has worked tirelessly to increase children’s fresh fruit and vegetable consumption throughout her career. I’m thrilled that a distinguished group of past honorees wanted her to share her passion that has inspired so many of our industry members over the last four decades.”
After launching the 5 a Day campaign for the state of California, the first public-private partnership between produce growers and public health officials, DiSogra started her produce career at Dole Food Co., where she developed the very popular 5 a Day Adventures CD-ROM, one of the first CD-ROMs ever developed, which was used in more than 70 percent of all elementary schools nationwide. Developing five iterations of the CD-ROM during her tenure, she worked with several Dole International divisions to localize it for their countries.

To make fruits and vegetables come alive for children, DiSogra developed Bobby Banana and 40 other fruit and vegetable characters that encouraged kids to eat “5 fruits and vegetables a day.” Bobby Banana, and Pamela Pineapple became marketing icons for Dole.

To encourage supermarket retailers to engage local schools and play a leadership role in their communities, DiSogra developed 5 a Day Supermarket Tours and trained produce managers nationwide on how to conduct the school tours. Working with a leading San Francisco-based composer, DiSogra created a Jammin’ 5 a Day Songs CD for schools; the music was used on the CD-ROM, became the impetus for the 5 a Day Live play for schools, and was performed at the White House.    

During her career at NCI, DiSogra collaborated with USDA to implement the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program pilot, which United Fresh had worked to pass in Congress, and developed the first Salad Bar Guide for Schools. Prior to the release of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, DiSogra did the formative research to develop the "fruits and vegetables half your plate" message. She joined United Fresh in 2005, where she worked to further expand the FFVP to schools in all 50 states, and to revise WIC Food Packages to include fresh fruits and vegetables. Continuing her focus on increasing children’s fruits and vegetables consumption, DiSogra worked to update school meal nutrition standards that doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables to the benefit of more than 32 million students a day.  

As one of the creators of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, DiSogra collaborated with the Obama White House, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the salad bar founding partners, United Fresh members and health foundations to make salad bars the norm in schools nationwide to ensure children have access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day at school lunch. To date, more than 5,000 salad bars had been donated to schools across the country.
DiSogra holds a doctoral degree in nutrition education and a master’s segree in public health nutrition and nutrition education from Columbia University and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Public Health Association.

DiSogra will join a distinguished group of women:

  • Dan’l Mackey Almy, DMA Solutions Inc.
  • Tonya Antle, Organic Produce Network
  • Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s Inc.
  • Karen Caplan, Frieda’s Inc.
  • Margaret D’Arrigo, Taylor Farms Inc.
  • Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
  • Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable Co.
  • Joline Godfrey, An Income of her Own
  • JoAnn Hines, Women in Packaging
  • Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle Inc.
  • Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Co.
  • Julie Krivanek, Krivanek Consulting Inc.
  • Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission
  • Lisa McNeece Miceli, Grimmway Enterprises Inc.
  • Teri Miller, The Fresh Market
  • Martha Rhodes-Roberts, Roberts Associates
  • Steffanie Smith, Andrew Smith Co.
  • Heather Shavey, Costco Wholesale
  • Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet International/Greenyard USA
  • Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
  • Jenney Tenney, The Kroger Co.
  • Claire Thornton, The Fresh Approach

The Reception Honoring Women in Produce is one of the most popular networking events at the United Fresh annual convention. Tickets are required for the event, and are included in the All Access Package. For more information about the reception, contact United Fresh Senior Director of Member Programs & Education, Amanda Griffin at or 202/303-3412.