(UPDATED COVERAGE, July 13) In the first six weeks of the MyPlate campaign, the new nutrition guidelines icon attracted almost 10 times as many supporting members as did its predecessor, MyPyramid.

Since its June 2 unveiling, more than 2,000 organizations have joined the the Nutrition Communicators Network, set up by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion to promote MyPlate. About 250 organizations belonged to the MyPyramid Alliance, according to a USDA news release.

Jill Le Brasseur, communications specialist for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Hockessin, Del., said she couldn’t speak for the produce industry as a whole, but said the new icon’s emphasis on eating half a plate of produce was a positive.

“We were really pleased to see it,” she said. “It makes it clear how much influence produce has on proper nutrition and eating for better health.”

Le Brasseur said the positives go beyond the produce industry. She said she had heard from registered dieticians who had been using a plate model to instruct patients for years.

“It is a very clear, very simple way to get the message across,” she said. “It seems like something everyone can get behind.”

The PBH is one of the national strategic partners of the MyPlate campaign.

“This broad-based support is a testament to the appeal of the new MyPlate food icon and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and affirmation of what we know — that a healthy nation starts with healthy people,” agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.

The Nutrition Communication Network has two categories: community partners and national strategic partners. Community partners are generally local or regional organizations, both public and private, including schools, hospitals, churches, libraries, athletic centers and community nutrition centers.

National partners include various health associations such as the American Diabetes Association and other national groups, including the Food Marketing Institute, the Institute of food Technologies, Weight Watchers, General Electric and WebMD. Del Monte also is a national partner.

Additional information about the network’s activities and details on how to join is on the “Choose MyPlate” website.

PBH adds Web tool

PBH has added a Half-Your-Plate social media marketing toolkit on its website to help people encourage their Facebook friends and Twitter followers to follow the dietary guidelines for fruits and vegetables.

Designed for people in the produce industry, educators, and public health professionals, the toolkit has sample “tweets” and Facebook posts for use. The work of squeezing a message into Twitter’s 140-character limit is already done. Here’s a sample tweet: “Forget the measuring cups — new USDA guidelines show making half-your-plate fruits & veggies: http://tinyurl.com/bmodry.”

The foundation also encourages people to follow its Facebook or Twitter accounts, or subscribe to its e-newsletter, for the latest efforts to spread the half-your-plate message.

Staff Writer Garth Sears contributed to this article.