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PMA InSight: Telling the story of the Joy of Fresh

By
Lauren M. Scott

At the Produce Marketing Association, we have always championed the joy of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but never more so than over the last seven months. As our members know, we expanded our Joy of Fresh platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support farmers, growers, and every level of the supply chain during this unprecedented economic downturn. 

The Joy of Fresh was conceived as a way to share our optimistic perspective — during good times and, since March, extremely difficult ones — to highlight how that optimism quite literally stems from the power of fresh fruits, vegetables and florals. It has also proven to be a powerful tool to arm consumers with information about the safety and essentialness of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables — disassembling false information, while also teaching how to properly select, wash, and store them — and about the mental and physical health benefits of fruits and vegetables, plants, and flowers during COVID-19 and in the approaching flu season. 

The Joy of Fresh vision began as a way for PMA to amplify the industry to the world, magnifying the colors, tastes, and versatility of our products as well as the innovation, creativity, and good work of our members. This was never more true than during the first months of the pandemic when members stepped up in their own communities, decorating new home offices with fresh flowers, delivering orchids to community members in need, offering pounds of fresh produce to food banks, and more. 

But as we’ve seen over the past several months, Joy of Fresh has become much more than a phrase; it’s a movement, an outlook, a philosophy, and a way of life that will continue to expand and evolve for years to come. Having a platform to celebrate our industry is vital, especially at a time when our world needs so much help and encouragement. 

It has been invaluable to me, and I hope our members feel the same way. Through Joy of Fresh and the inspirational resilience and optimism shown by the fresh produce and floral industries, I’ve learned that it is critical to lift up simple moments of joy — no matter how small — when there is so much negativity and uncertainty at seemingly every turn.

 And what’s joy without connection? Connecting and engaging with like-minded people is an indispensable initiative during these socially distant times, and the Joy of Fresh has become a way to both celebrate and support our members and provide necessary, relevant information to consumers. PMA is committed to keeping Joy of Fresh moving forward, and to do so, we must be able to connect — at all levels — from seed-to-consumer. By fostering new relationships and asking questions across the global supply chain, we can learn from others and plant the seeds that allow us to continue to support farmers, growers, shippers, and retailers — by messaging to consumers the importance and joy of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

The pandemic has shown us just how connections built over decades kept the critical supply chain whole, not only for farmers, growers, shippers, and retailers, but for every consumer around the world — particularly those in food deserts or experiencing food insecurity. 

Joy of Fresh has given us some much-needed light during these dark times, while also providing us with opportunities to meaningfully celebrate our members in the fresh floral and produce communities. 

We see the Joy of Fresh movement as an important way to increase consumption of fresh produce and maintain perpetual floral purchases. Joy of Fresh will create a significant pathway to help us work toward PMA’s overall mission of growing a healthier world — an important undertaking yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I hope you will join us. 

(Lauren M. Scott is the chief strategy and membership officer for the Produce Marketing Association)

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