STARS students hear the benefits of a career in fresh produce
ORLANDO, FL — Students in the Southeast Top Agricultural Recruits Scholarship Program heard about the many benefits of a career in the fresh produce industry during the Southeast Produce Council's Southern Exposure 2021, here.
Megan Zweig, vice president of DMA Solutions, and Wendy McManus, executive leadership coach at Connect 2 Potential, addressed the students at the STARS Breakfast, held Wednesday morning, April 7.
The STARS program is co-chaired by Raina Nelson of Renaissance Food Group and vice chairman of the SEPC Board of Directors, and Clark Roper of Piggly Wiggly and a member of the SEPC Board of Directors.
On the topic of why fresh produce is so important and relevant, Zweig said that "people are more concerned with the environment, safety and policy" than ever before.
She noted that fresh produce is very important to those in the United States, where 67 percent of adults and 18 percent of children are overweight.
She said that the fresh produce industry accounts for 43 percent of all food sales, and has a $550-plus billion economic impact. Fresh produce goes "beyond the trend," it is "the original plant-based food option" and it is "dependent on talent," she told the students.
As to why the students should definitely consider a career in produce, Zweig noted that the U.S. population is increasing, there is a generational shift as the members of the huge baby boom generation continue to retire, there is job diversity, there is a shortage of agricultural graduates, and the industry is growing.
"It's a rewarding career," she concluded. "We're on the right side of good. We need and want you."
Photo: Raina Nelson, co-chair of the STARS program, with Megan Zweig, vice president of DMA Solutions, and Wendy McManus, executive leadership coach at Connect 2 Potential.