You may not see the natural connection between peanut farmers and New York City. However, I recently had the chance to see both worlds collide during a National Peanut Board meeting in the big apple. In addition to the normal items of business, the board also planned some unique peanut-inspired events for New Yorkers.
The National Peanut Board is one of the more than 20 industry Research and Promotion Programs that my agency – the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees. These self-help programs that are requested for and completely funded by the industry are charged with developing cutting edge marketing campaigns and supporting nutrition research that benefits all of the industry’s members. The Peanut Board recently invaded the streets of New York to connect the city to the more than 7,000 peanut farming families the board represents. This proved to be very successful as everyone soon learned that our peanut farmers have a strong connection to New Yorkers and to people all over the world.
For almost a week, New Yorkers were immersed in a world of all things peanuts. Some of the highlights of the peanut butter and jam-packed week included: a pop-up space where visitors could try tasty peanut and peanut butter foods, the delivery of free PB&J sandwiches to 250 people in Manhattan, and the celebration of National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day by making and donating nearly 1,000 PB&J sandwiches to those in need at the Bowery Mission. Local bloggers were also invited to a food tasting party featuring the flavorings of Chef JJ Johnson, while the Nutrition Twins hosted an event that enabled local dietitians to taste new recipes and learn about peanut nutrition facts.
The events offered the perfect venue to showcase some great peanut recipes and foods, but it went much further than that. The events gave our farmers a chance to talk candidly about their family businesses. Our farmers talked about their commitment to growing quality foods. They also talked about their humanitarian efforts. This includes supporting programs like Peanut Butter for the Hungry where the industry donates peanut butter – a popular shelf stable item – to food banks in the U.S. This program also delivers ready-to-use therapeutic food to food insecure countries. Our farmers talked about their dedication to being good stewards of the land as the industry continues to improve its environmental standings in factors such as energy use and water use.
The time in New York is part of the Peanut Board’s Perfectly Powerful Peanut campaign. Through the campaign, the board is reminding everyone about their childhood adoration for peanut and peanut butter products and finding new ways for people to renew their love for these items. If you didn’t get a chance to join in on the peanut fun in New York, check out the Perfectly Powerful Peanut website to see when the tour comes to a city near you.
All of us here at AMS are committed to creating opportunities for our nation’s farmers and ranchers. We encourage you to visit our Research and Promotion Programs website to see how the National Peanut Board and other groups are strengthening their respective industries.