A decade after a pivotal speech in which he cast a vision for a fresh produce snack program for school kids, Sen. Tom Harkin is returning to address the United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Public Policy Conference.

Harkin, D-Iowa and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, will speak the morning of Oct. 4 to the WPPC at the Hyatt Regency Washington, according to a press release from United Fresh.

“Sen. Harkin’s vision for the school snack program in 2001 was extraordinary,” Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh said in the news release. “I remember sitting in the WPPC audience, immediately recognizing the perfect simplicity of the idea, but also the hurdles we’d face in trying to implement a brand new program like this. But we all rolled up our sleeves and got to work.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program has grown from a pilot project authorized for a handful of states in the 2002 farm bill to a $1.2 billion program that will allow more than 4 million kids across the country to have a free fruit or vegetable snack every school day.

Harkin’s address adds to a schedule that also includes Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. The event will also feature discussions with federal regulators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration, according to the release. More information about the event can be found at www.unitedfresh.org/programs/wppc.