HOUSTON, TX – Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands, announces Melissa Ackerman as the newest member of its board of directors. Ackerman will develop Brighter Bites’ partnerships with produce companies and organizations throughout the country, further strengthening its ability to distribute fresh produce and nutrition education to students and families. In this role, she will also help guide the organization as it expands beyond the eight cities in which it currently operates.
Ackerman is currently president of Produce Alliance (PA), a national produce company specializing in consulting and purchasing of produce from field to fork. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, PA was instrumental in delivering fresh food to those in need through the USDA’s “Farmers to Families Food Boxes” program. Ackerman played a pivotal role in the program, which ran during 2020 and 2021, and delivered over 100 million pounds of food in 9 million boxes to Americans.
“Melissa Ackerman’s experience at PA, and with the “Farmers to Families Food Boxes” program, syncs directly with Brighter Bites’ mission to create communities of health through fresh food,” said Lisa Helfman, founder and board chair of Brighter Bites. “We are thrilled to have her insight as we build stronger relationships within the produce community and expand into more cities around the country.”
Ackerman joined PA in 2012 and prior to serving as the President, she was Associate General Counsel, VP of Sales, and Executive VP of Sales. Ackerman has been a key player to PA’s growth in size, and its expanded impact within the produce industry. She most recently created the PA Foundation, a philanthropic arm of PA designed to be a first-line responder to emergent humanitarian situations.
Additionally, Ackerman sits on the Board of Directors for the International Fresh Produce Association where she is the Chair for the Food Service, and she also serves on the Advisory Boards of Freight Farms, The Center for Food Integrity’s Racial Justice, Inclusion and Diversity Initiative and YPO Chicago Chapter. Ackerman was a winner of Produce Business’ 40 Under Forty Best and Brightest in 2018.
“The evolution of food into mission-based programs that drives food equity and builds viable food ecosystems for all Americans is the heart of my life’s work,” said Ackerman. “I’m excited to bring that passion and experience coupled with Brighter Bites impact in schools and communities to continue shaping food and nutrition security.”
To accomplish the goal of making fresh produce more accessible to families in need and ultimately improving health outcomes, Brighter Bites utilizes three pillars; produce distribution, nutrition education and a fun food experience. To learn more about Brighter Bites, visit brighterbites.org, or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube.
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About Brighter Bites
Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites is an evidence-based, multi-component elementary school, preschool, and summer camp program that utilizes reliable access to fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and consistent exposure to recipes and messages that feature fresh food. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has provided over 40 million pounds of produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Southwest Florida and Salinas, CA. In January 2022, Brighter Bites expanded its programming to Los Angeles. To learn more about Brighter Bites visit www.brighterbites.org.