Friday, April 24, 2009 by Bryan Silbermann

PMA leaders visit White House, USDA on economy, sustainability

PMA Chairman of the Board Dave Corsi of Wegmans and I found good reception indeed this week when we visited key U.S. government offices April 22-23 to carry industry messages about economics, food safety and sustainability.

White House domestic policy staff showed great interest in PMA’s new economic impact study, which for the first time documents the industry’s substantial contribution to the U.S. economy. We also discussed nutrition issues at length, including concrete ways to fulfill the administration’s stated goal of increasing fresh fruits and vegetables in the American diet.

Pictured: PMA President Bryan Silbermann and Board Chairman Dave Corsi at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses offices for key White House staff.

Pictured: PMA President Bryan Silbermann and Board Chairman Dave Corsi at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses key White House office staff.

At a breakfast meeting with Kathleen Merrigan, we discussed sustainability, as well as how to better connect growers and consumers. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan even solicited our advice on how to improve use of produce in the USDA cafeteria, so that the department can carry its mission into its own cafeteria.

One of our goals for these meetings was to bring real-world industry experience to Washington, D.C. – in fact, Dave took that mission personally, presenting Ms. Merrigan with heirloom tomato plants from Wegmans’ own Organic Research Farm for the USDA People’s Garden and the White House Kitchen Garden.

We were pleased to be able to advance PMA’s ongoing work in Washington with Dave as we connect the industry with Washington – and particularly happy to talk about issues like sustainability on Earth Day. I’ll be sharing more about our trip later this afternoon here on the PMA Field to Fork blog.

 

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One Response to “PMA leaders visit White House, USDA on economy, sustainability”

  1. Bryan Silbermann Says:

    What do YOU think about all the interest in public vegetable gardens?

    At PMA’s Produce Solutions Conference last month in Nashville, I was asked what I thought about the First Lady’s drive to start a White House Garden. My response: it’s a great way to get people excited about eating fresh and to build better understanding of the natural challenges in growing food — think of it as connecting consumers to their food and helping them realize that food isn’t made in the back room of the supermarket.

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