National Kale Day Grows from Grassroots Effort
By Grocery Headquarters Staff
Kale continues to make starring appearances on menus, farmers markets and retail shelves, and now a grassroots effort has put the spotlight on kale for a national day. October 1, 2014 marks the second annual National Kale Day. It all began with kale ambassadors Drew Ramsey, M.D. and Chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of the book 50 Shades of Kale, who brought together consumers, chefs, nutritionists, doctors and farmers to help launch National Kale Day in 2013. Thanks to the efforts of a few to connect the masses, millions of connections, impressions and servings were of kale were made in a single day around the globe. When asked why kale, Dr. Ramsey, a psychiatrist by trade remarked, “I treat the whole person and believe that food impacts how we feel. As I studied the nutritional value of foods I continued to be impressed by the superfood power of this leafy green and wanted consumers to see beyond the trend to the lifestyle value of kale.” Helping to drive the conversation about healthy eating, they see a movement that celebrates kale. Iserloh commented, “Culture and media is one of the best ways to introduce consumers to a new food and remove the fear factor. As a chef, I can prepare delicious dishes, but having the trends drive consumer awareness fuels trial.” The industry notes that kale sales are up 20-30%. National Kale Day 1.0 generated millions of impressions by providing tools to consumers and influencers, live Google Hangouts with dozens of national experts and a huge kale party in downtown New York City. National Kale Day 2.0 has even bigger plans including online events, national media, retail promotions and school events that will include offering a citrus kale salad to the 1.1 million students in all New York City public schools. In fact kale ambassadors have already logged commitments to promote kale in all 50 states and 10 countries on National Kale Day. “Grassroots influencers are an important part of the success of National Kale Day and every movement that promotes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables,” says Melinda Goodman, managing partner of Full Tilt Marketing and produce industry advocate. “But the kale growers and brands of the world are the first step in advocacy and we are excited to be working on opportunities to work together to raise awareness for this special superfood.” Because of the success of the first year event, National Kale Day has created sponsorship packages for kale growers and supporting brands to get involved.