Much of the work of the director of communications for the National
Watermelon Promotion Board is "currently focused heavily on kids."
Leslie Coleman said that her communications efforts from NWPB headquarters
in Orlando, FL, involve projects that primarily target the youth of the United
"We are more involved with the Agriculture in the Classroom program," which
is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "I am on the board of the
Florida program," and the watermelon industry is also involved at the national
level with the USDA program, said Ms. Coleman. In late June, she will be
attending the Agriculture in the Classroom national conference in Baltimore.
The NWPB will sponsor the meeting when it is held in Florida in 2011.
According to the USDA, "Agriculture in the Classroom is a grassroots program
coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Its goal is to help
students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy
and society so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural
In another activity, Ms. Coleman on May 6-7 attended the 2010 Spring
Industry Boot Camp-Selling to the Foodservice Market. The event was in
National Harbor, MD, and presented by the School Nutrition Association. Ms.
Coleman described the event as an intensive crash course in the complexities
of working with schools. The association targets suppliers of commodities
and brands that are trying to reach the school cafeteria marketplace. Since
the boot camp, Ms. Coleman has been sharing with the industry what she
learned about serving more watermelon in school cafeterias.
Ms. Coleman's work also sponsors a summer feeding tool kit targeting school
foodservice programs that prepare meals in the summer months for camps
and local communities.
The NWPB has given in excess of 5,000 teacher information kits to promote
watermelon in classrooms and cafeterias.
She continued, "On the overall picture, we are doing a lot to promote the
[consumption of a] whole watermelon. With the economy being tight and
value a huge issue," watermelon is a great value on a per-pound basis when
consumers are planning picnics and parties.
To promote that idea, the NWPB is producing "brochures for retail and also
running spots on Delta Airlines. We are producing a spot with the Mr. Food
program that is airing on Delta Airlines this summer."
The NWPB in recent years launched a program of buying promotional time on
the television monitors of airline flights, which literally leverages the
attention of a captive audience.
(For more on watermelons, see the May 31, 2010, issue of The Produce