Press Releases

PBH Honors 2019 Have A Plant™ Promoters of the Year

Katie Toulouse, Marketing & Communications Director
Produce for Better Health Foundation
[email protected]

New Recognition & Awards Platform Salutes Industry Leaders, Influencers, Retail Dietitians, Foodservice and Public Health Representatives for Stellar Produce Marketing Initiatives

April 8, 2020 – The Produce For Better Health Foundation (PBH) is recognizing passionate produce leaders, as well as those who have shown support of the Have A Plant™ Movement through its 2019 Have A Plant™ Promoter Awards. Originally slated to be honored during the annual awards and recognition luncheon at its signature Consumer Connection Conference the week of April 13, the consumer- and influencer-facing nonprofit is announcing this year’s recipients virtually.

“In this time of unforeseen circumstances, we wanted to provide a virtual standing ovation to honor our members, influencer partners and other industry leaders who have been true trailblazers in their support to promote fruits and vegetables for happier, healthier lives,” says Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, president and CEO of PBH. “We humbly recognize that it takes more than PBH to address what we believe is a chronic consumption crisis. Now more than ever, we must be united in our efforts to inspire consumers with the many benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables – the original plants. We want to commend and showcase those who are advancing new fruit and vegetable consumption behaviors as well as the Have A Plant™ Movement.”

The awards and their recipients are as follows:

The Have A Plant™ Promoter Award recognizes industry, retail, foodservice and public health organizations that advocated for and amplified the Have A Plant™ Movement by significantly incorporating the call-to-action into their promotions and marketing efforts between April and December 2019.

2019 Industry Have A Plant™ Promoter Award Recipients

  • Barsotti Family Juice Company
  • Blue Book Services
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Naturipe Farms
  • Okanagan Specialty Fruits – Arctic® Apples
  • Pacific Coast Producers
  • Produce Business
  • Ruiz Sales, Inc.
  • Stemilt
  • The Packer
  • The Produce News

Coborn’s Inc.’s Registered Dietitian team (left to right) Emily Parent, Ashley Kibutha and Amy Petersen

2019 Retail Have A Plant™ Promoter Award Recipients

  • Coborn’s Inc.
  • SpartanNash

2019 Foodservice Have A Plant™ Promoter Award Recipient

  • Sysco/FreshPoint

2019 Public Health Have A Plant™ Promoter Award Recipient 

  • Meramec Elementary School Garden Club

PBH 2019 Have A Plant™ Promoter Awards for Fruit and Vegetable Ambassadors in Action (FVAA)

PBH would also like to recognize the efforts and dedication of its 2019 Fruit and Vegetable Ambassadors in Action (FVAA). The inaugural FVAA class of volunteers provided monthly content and expertise in support of PBH’s mission for an entire year.

The following elite influencers are being honored with a PBH 2019 Have A Plant™ Promoter Award for their amazing efforts in promoting fruits and veggies directly to consumers through their various social and digital channels. Together, PBH and its FVAA collectively reached more than 52 Million consumers on social media with the Have A Plant™ fruit- and veggie-loving message between April and December 2019.

  1. Valerie Agyeman – Flourish Heights (Washington, DC)
  2. Leslie Bonci – Active Eating Advice (Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Neva Cochran – Eating Beyond the Headlines (Dallas, TX)
  4. Beau Coffron – Lunchbox Dad (Edmund, OK)
  5. Andrew Dole – Body Fuel (Castle Rock, CO)
  6. Abbie Gellman – Culinary Nutrition Cuisine (New York, NY)
  7. Cara Harbstreet – Street Smart Nutrition (Overland Park, KS)
  8. Emily Kyle – Emily Kyle Nutrition (Livonia, NY)
  9. Kristina LaRue – Love and Zest (Winter Park, FL)
  10. Adam Rosante – Adam Rosante (New York, NY)
  11. Kimberly Schwabenbauer – Fuel Your Passion (Knox, PA)
  12. Lori Taylor – The Produce Moms® (Indianapolis, IN)
  13. Jonathan Valdez – Genki Nutrition (New York, NY)
  14. Manuel Villacorta – Manuel Villacorta (San Francisco, CA)
  15. Serena Wolf – Domesticate Me (New York, NY)

The 2019 PBH Retail Dietitian of the Year Award recognizes an individual retail dietitian who has gone above and beyond to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables at his or her retailer.

This year’s award goes to Natalie Gillett, MS, RD, ShopRite/Inserra Supermarkets for her commitment to creatively reach multiple audiences and inspire fruit and vegetable consumption. From a Have A Plant™ challenge for Inserra employees, fun and engaging programs for toddlers and school-age kids, to seasonal produce programs and promotions, she reaches shoppers with important messaging on how adding more fruits and veggies to their carts can contribute to happier, healthier lives.

The 2019 PBH Foodservice Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual volume foodservice professional who has excelled in promoting increased fruit and vegetable consumption in his or her foodservice operation.

This year’s award goes to Ken Toong, Executive Director of Auxiliary Enterprises at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for his ongoing efforts to promote increased fruits and vegetables in all UMass dining environments. Ken and his team develop menus, programs, special events, and experiences that help the UMass community learn about how and where produce is grown, how to prepare and enjoy fruits and vegetables, and how plant-based world cuisines provide inspiration for greater flavor and enjoyment of fruits and vegetables.

Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN hosting a Have A Plant™ Facebook Live segment.

The 2019 PBH Influencer of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond in promoting happier, healthier lives through the consumption of fruits and vegetables by incorporating Have A Plant™ into their social media, digital and/or other personal outreach.

This year’s award goes to Manuel Villacorta, MS, RDN, Manuel Villacorta Nutrition for his passion for produce that shines through in his Facebook Live videos bringing consumers creative ideas and thoughtful nutrition tips for how to #haveaplant every single day for happier, healthier lives. An extremely dedicated member of the inaugural PBH FVAA class, he wears his Have A Plant™ T-Shirt every chance he gets and embodies the true spirit of the brand.

The 2019 PBH National Fruits & Veggies Month Advocate Award

PBH would like to honor a special Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action for her overwhelming support during National Fruits and Veggies Month in September 2019. Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, FAND, and author of Eating Beyond the Headlines blog posted her fruit- and veggie-packed meals on her social media channels every single day during the month of September. This kind of passion and engagement is truly commendable. This was true fruits and veggies superhero work that can make an impact as we collectively strive to inspire consumers every single day to eat more fruits and vegetables to enjoy healthier, happier lives.

The 2019 PBH Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate outstanding dedication to the growth of PBH through the advancement of membership, programming and/or thought leadership.

This year PBH would like to recognize this dedicated and distinct group of leaders who not only helped to drive PBH’s transformation in 2019, but truly help PBH to achieve exceptional growth year over year.

  • Matt Middleton, Ventura Foods
  • Jason Osborn, Wonderful Company
  • Roger Pepperl, Stemilt
  • Richard Ruiz, Ruiz Sales, Inc.
  • Trish Zecca, Past PBH Chair and formerly with Campbell Soup Company

2019 Have A Plant™ University Competition Winners

PBH is also recognizing three universities for their outstanding Have A Plant™ campus campaigns. Executed in the fall of 2019, the schools were charged with creatively encouraging college students to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. Whether it was through fruit and vegetable sampling programs or creative social media campaigns to encourage students to take the Have A Plant™ Pledge, the following three universities deserve their own standing “O”.

  • Arizona State University
  • Concordia University, St. Paul
  • University of Wisconsin

“It was an incredible year with the launch of Have A Plant™ and we couldn’t have reached as many consumers as we did without the support of our powerful marketing partners,” says Katie Toulouse, marketing and communications director of PBH. “Kudos to all of the winners in 2019! We hope to see more companies and influencers embrace the Have A Plant™ Movement to leverage their own brands and initiatives in 2020. Let’s grow this list for next year’s Consumer Connection Conference Awards and Recognition Luncheon; rally around National Fruits and Veggies Month this September; and get more Americans eating more plants every day! Let’s do this!”

For more information about how to qualify and apply for PBH’s 2020 Awards and Recognition program visit 2020 award recipients will be honored during the Awards and Recognition Luncheon at the PBH 2021 Consumer Connection Conference.

About the Produce for Better Health Foundation

Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is the only national organization dedicated to helping consumers live happier, healthy lives by eating more fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice, every single day.

Since 1991, PBH has invested decades into developing trended insights on attitudes toward all forms of fruit and vegetable consumption, in addition to campaigns and partnerships with government, food industry stakeholders, health professionals and other thought leaders to collaborate, facilitate and advocate for increased intake. Campaigns included first, the 5-A-Day program, and then, the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters public health initiative. While five fruits and vegetables each day is great advice, and more will always matter, PBH’s new behavior-based call-to-action is Have A Plant™. Rooted in behavioral science, PBH’s transformative Have A Plant™ movement is an invitation that will inspire people with compelling reasons to believe in the powerful role fruits and vegetables can play to create happy, healthy and active lives.

Be sure to join the Have A Plant™ movement and get new recipes, snack hacks, meal ideas and other tips from chefs, registered dietitians, as well as food and wellness experts by visiting Follow us on Facebook @fruitsandveggies; on Twitter @fruits_veggies; on Instagram @fruitsandveggies; on Pinterest @fruits_veggies; and on LinkedIn at Produce for Better Health Foundation. And remember to #haveaplant.