In Our Community

We are very grateful to the communities in which we operate. JV Smith Companies believes strongly in giving back. We also feel strongly about sharing the message of nutrition. As our tagline states, we want our communities to know we are truly growing "Produce for a healthier tomorrow." There is nothing more rewarding than sharing this message with children.


POWer PLAY'te, Yuma, AZ

JVSmith Companies in Yuma, Arizona is partnering with the owners of Limelight Creative Group to entice local elementary kids to eat healthier using an innovative approach and unusual allies....the lunch ladies and a paper plate.

POWer-PLAY'te-Cafeteria-Team-OtondoBut, not just any plate. The POWer PLAY'te is a paper plate designed to encourage children to fill their plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. It resembles the USDA's Choose My Plate design but includes illustrative, loveable characters and bright colors that introduce fun into eating healthy.

The tagline "Grow on, PLAY with your food!" encourages kids to play with their food by "driving" their fresh broccoli into the dairy depot to add ranch dressing. Or, "partnering up with peanut butter" to make the banana more appealing. "The playful part of the program and the fact that it is taking place in our local schools is what we believe will set it apart from other marketing campaigns designed to help kids make better choices," he added.

The POW'er PLAY'te program consists of the PLAY'tes as well as a "crop of the week" educational program geared to encourage teachers to introduce kids to the website The program was unveiled September 12, 2012 in Yuma elementary schools. Every elementary school in Yuma School District One and Crane Elementary School District is serving lunch on the PLAY'tes once per week.

POWer-PLAYte-Photo"JV Smith Companies has generously agreed to fund the entire Yuma project so that every child will eat on the PLAY'tes in schools," Kristan Sheppeard, co-owner of Limelight Creative Group, said. "The support that Vic Smith has shown for this project is overwhelming. When we first approached him with this idea, he didn't hesitate and offered to completely fund the project to improve the health of Yuma kids."

The philosophy of the POW'er PLAY'te program is.. don't try to educate them every time they pick up a fork. "Children learn better through play. The PLAY'te is designed for play and before you know it, they are trying something new that they thought they didn't like," added Kristan Sheppeard.

final-plateKaren Johnson, past President of the School Nutrition Association is the Director of Yuma School District One's Child Nutrition Programs. "I am thrilled to be a part of this program that I believe could eventually be in every elementary school in the country. Our staff is on board to help!" She believes the POWer PLAY'te project couldn't come at a better time. The USDA has made changes to the meal pattern this year, and we will be putting more fruits and veggies on the student's plates. "The timing couldn't be more perfect to join forces with POWer PLAY'tes to make it fun and to teach students that good nutrition includes fruits and vegetables. We believe in this program and hope that the PLAY'te will encourage them throughout the year to try something they wouldn't have tried before."

Jane Johnson, School Nutrition Director of Crane Elementary District agrees, "The fact that our nutrition staff is being provided fun, logoed t-shirts on the POWer PLAY'te day will help empower our team to take ownership and encourage the kids to eat what is on their PLAY'te.

Sunrise Elementary School Field Trip, Yuma, AZ

JV-Field-Trip1YUMA, ARIZONA- In March, 2012, JV Smith Companies spearheaded and funded a community effort to educate youth about where their food comes from. Agriculture in Yuma, Arizona is no surprise. Children in the "Winter Vegetable Capital of the World" see fields, harvesting crews and trucks non-stop from Oct-March. However, many of these children don't understand the connection from the green fields to what they eat on their dinner plates at home.

"Our goal with these field trips," said Victor Smith, President, JV Smith Companies, "was to not only share the process but to inspire children to make healthy eating choices. We believe that by offering kids a first-hand, interactive field experience, they will be more likely to pick "color" for the plates. "

JV-Field-Trip-4The idea sprouted because of Smith's passion for nutrition and community. "What better way to give back, than to show these children what's growing in their own backyards. Our goal is that these kids will become ambassadors at their schools and in their homes and will continue to spread the message they learned about agriculture and nutrition.

Thanks to our partners: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yuma Visitors Bureau, Dole, Yuma County Farm Bureau, Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Department of Agriculture informational brochures, Western Growers Foundation, The Growers Company, Yuma County Public Health Services District, and Earthbound Farms.

"Our companies are made up of people*that care about bringing consumers healthy and safe food. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to educate these children," Smith proudly added.

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Nutrition Facts

Arugula is a good source of Vitamin A.