September 28, 2022

IFPA recognizes DNO Produce with advocacy award

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) has named DNO Produce, Columbus, Ohio, as the 2022 Industry Advocate of the Year Award recipient.

IFPA announced the award at The Washington Conference’s Sept. 28 breakfast general session. The award recognizes an IFPA member company each year that serves as an advocate for the entire produce industry.

DNO Produce President and CEO of DNO Produce Alex DiNovo, accepts the IFPA 2022 Industry Advocate of the Year Award during The Washington Conference on Sept. 28. PHOTO: IFPA

“We are humbled and honored to receive the Industry Advocate of the Year Award this year,” Alex DiNovo, president and CEO of DiNovo Produce, said when he accepted the award, according to a news release. “We are committed to advocacy because our work and our produce is changing the trajectory of global human health.

“That is something that everyone in our industry should be proud to be a part of,” he said. “Our livelihood is genuinely a good thing that creates a more vibrant and healthier world.”

DNO Produce has been an active and engaged advocate for many years but has demonstrated outstanding support over the past year in particular, according to the release. In addition to having its team members engaged with grassroots and industry public policy conferences each year, DNO also has an impressive list of engagements with U.S. representatives and policy makers, including:

• In July, through the American Business Immigration Coalition, DiNovo appealed to lawmakers to address the need for agricultural immigration reform.
• In August, DNO hosted the senior legislative assistant for agriculture from the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), providing a tour of its wholesale operations and fresh-cut processing facility. DNO shared policy recommendations regarding government procurement, nutrition programs and the farm bill.
• In September of 2021, DiNovo and Marissa Drake, DNO’s director of communications and public affairs, were selected to attend a meeting with U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition Stacy Dean and USDA Senior Advisor for Nutrition, Kumar Chandran. In this meeting they focused on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, Produce Prescriptions and more.
• DiNovo has provided an industry perspective through numerous articles to encourage industry involved in government relations advocacy to increase consumption and improve produce availability in school meal programs, among other topics.

“DNO has prioritized proactively reaching out to their members of Congress throughout the year ― not simply when something is needed,” IFPA’s vice president of nutrition and health Mollie Van Lieu,” said in a news release. “This is a textbook example of effective engagement and I’m thrilled to see DNO and Alex’s team recognized for their hard work.

“Alex and DNO have been a trusted and responsive resource throughout many of the less glamorous, but essential, parts of policy work including weighing in on technicalities of programs and policies,” she said in the release. “It is work that requires constant attention and DNO has been unwavering in their advocacy work on behalf of the industry.”

DNO Produce has been an especially vocal advocate for child nutrition policies that are providing school children with greater access to fresh produce on a daily basis. Not only has DNO Produce and DiNovo participated in education and support to representatives in Washington, but has also offered invaluable support and advice for school nutrition leaders.

“Over the last two years, as distributors continued to experience challenges with everything from labor, gas, freight rates and more, Alex and his team at DNO Produce was always willing to lend their time to support the association’s programs and virtual networking opportunities,” Andrew Marshall, who leads IFPA’s engagement with the wholesaler-distributor sector and K-12 school foodservice operators, said in the release. “DNO Produce is an example of a company that’s comfortable putting on their ‘industry hat’ and looking for ways to grow business and collaborations for all companies in the sector. Alex is passionate about increasing children’s consumption of fresh fruits and veggies, and he’s willing to put his time, energy, and treasure into willing his vision into reality.”

“Alex, and particularly Marissa Drake, have helped DNO find ways to lend their voice to issues like immigration, which have typically been the focus of the grower-shipper portion of the industry,” John Hollay, director of labor/workforce at IFPA, said in the release. “By providing the perspective of the wholesaler-distributor sector, they have given a whole new perspective of the impact of this issue, and why Congress needs to address our labor challenges.”

For more information about the Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award and how you can get engaged, contact Angela Tiwari, director of grassroots and political action for IFPA, at 202-303-3416.

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