Cancel OK

Advocacy in action: TIPA hosts second produce giveaway in Austin

tipa in austin
The Texas International Produce Association held its second advocacy event on the Capitol steps in Austin on April 19, distributing more than 16,000 pounds of fresh produce to lawmakers and the public to raise awareness for issues the Texas produce industry faces, and to celebrate Texas Fruit and Vegetable Month.

AUSTIN, TX—I had a few flashbacks when I took my son Ike to work with me at the state Capitol.

On April 19, he joined me for an advocacy event for the Texas International Produce Association, helping distribute about 16,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to lawmakers and the general public.

I brought him to see government advocacy in action, to see some behind-the-scenes action of how my job and how the produce industry works, and honestly, because he’s a strong kid and could help lug some boxes of produce around for me.

This wasn’t his first time at an industry event at this very location, however, but last time he wasn’t so big and brawny. I came across this photo from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of me on the job, wearing my tiny baby Ike talking to Ray Prewett, now-retired executive vice president of the Texas Vegetable Association at a similar event 14 years ago.

Baby Ike, left, in Spring 2009, left, and not-so-baby Ike ready to lend a hand on April 19.

Nowadays my baby boy is in 8th grade, towers over most grown adults (he eats his fruits and veggies!), and was eager to help. He had a lot of questions about what the event was for, how it could help the industry, and some social commentary about some of the people streaming in and out of the Capitol.

“I thought it was interesting,” he said. “I learned about how law works and the produce people got was great. Overall a great experience.”

He also had advice for the many people picking up fruits and vegetables.

While most people were thrilled to load bags of fresh produce we were distributing – onions, beets, parsley, kale, cabbage, carrots, grapefruit, limes, and jalapeños – more than a few weren’t sure what an ataulfo mango is, or what to do with tomatillos. My Tex-Mex loving son had the perfect advice – mangos are great with Tajin, and tomatillos get roasted for salsa.

I’m going to follow-up on this even with my own demo on how to make roasted tomatillo salsa, for sure.

This was the second April in Austin event TIPA organized. From talking to participants, the grass-roots lobbying efforts were fruitful, with direct contact with lawmakers, and raising awareness for issues affecting the Texas produce industry.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.