ORLANDO, Fla. — Produce For Kids here has been working to spread its message of healthy eating through a new parent advisory board “Parents on Produce” and updated website functionality.
PFK Marketing Manager Amanda Keefer explained the organization's goals are twofold: to raise money for worthy children's organizations and serve as a healthy eating resource for parents.
“While we'll still have our two annual campaigns to raise money, we're trying to move a little bit more towards being known as a year-round healthy eating resource for parents rather than just awareness during the campaigns when they are drawn [to the website] during that time period.”
The group is made up of five different parents, each with a different focus: a pediatrician, a psychologist, a time management guru, a meal-planning expert and a teacher.
The advisory board members write articles posted on PFK's site, and their PFK profiles link to social media profiles so parents can ask questions directly.
In addition, Parents on Produce members will give PFK an outside parent's perspective on its initiatives. So far, PFK has solicited feedback from teacher member Lana Shuman on the fall “Play With Your Produce Classroom Challenge” where teachers submit lesson plans based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new nutrition guidelines MyPlate to be eligible to win money for their classrooms.
How PFK uses the groups' diverse expertise will evolve over time, but there are already plans to solicit feedback from the group on PFK's website functionality.
Keefer, who has had her own blog for several years and has observed the power of fellow parents involved in social media firsthand, said the creation of the Parents on Produce group came from the idea to use real parents as advocates to spread PFK's message.
In order to help parents use its resources, PFK has also updated the organization and search capabilities of www.produceforkids.org.
During its campaigns PFK, with a chef and nutritionist, creates “Ideal Meals” recipes that are available as recipes cards for customers in-store as well as online. The new search option allows parents to search for these meals, comment on them and rate them.
“I just thought opening the conversation a little bit for anyone who is utilizing the meals on there could help other parents,” said Keefer.
Keefer suggested parents could use the recipe comments to note recipe modifications they experimented with and mention appropriate substitute ingredients for their kids with specific allergies.
PFK's other article resources are also all now searchable, and the homepage is broken into different sections for easy navigating.