This year’s Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference will be a virtual event taking place Feb. 17-18, with a full slate of sessions, speakers, meetings and, yes, a great exhibit as well.
Go to https://pheedloop.com/cfvga2021/site/ for full agenda and conference information.
On its website, coloradoproduce.org, participants can access the event via a Pheedloop platform that allows incredible flexibility and opportunity to message other attendees in the platform and also features “video meeting capabilities as one-to-one and group meetings with attendees, exhibitors and produce buyers.” If you’re planning to attend, you’re advised to “schedule meetings with exhibitors and produce buyers before Feb. 17 to ensure the business networking you want.”
Here’s the skinny: CFVAG provides a tutorial “showing how to use Google Chrome as your browser (recommended), how to set up your profile so that attendees can network with you, how to navigate the platform, how to test your video connection so you can join video meetings, and how to schedule meetings with attendees, exhibitors and buyers.” The team can also help exhibitors set up booths and show them how to engage with visitors and the ins and outs of lead retrievals in Pheedloop.
Registration is $20 for members and $30 for non-members prior to Feb. 1. After that date, it’s $25 and $35, respectively. If you have questions ahead of time, contact email@example.com or 303-594-3827.
The conference kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 17, with a 9-9:40 a.m. session that features an introduction from Association President Robert Sakata and keynote address from Kimbal Musk
Musk is “chef, restaurateur, philanthropist and real food entrepreneur” whose personal mission is “to pursue an America where everyone has access to real food.” He has been named a Global Social Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum and is co-founder and CEO of The Kitchen Restaurant Group. He is also co-founder Executive Chairman of Big Green and Square Roots. Kitchen Restaurant Group and its three concepts – Next Door, Hedge Row, and The Kitchen – serve “real food at every price point and has created hundreds of mission driven jobs.” The fare is “sustainably grown food from American farmers, stimulating the local farm economy to the tune of millions of dollars a year.” Musk’s non-profit organization, Big Green, “builds permanent, outdoor Learning Garden classrooms in hundreds of underserved schools across America reaching over 350,000 students every day,” and his “tech-enabled food company, Square Roots, builds urban farms in climate-controlled shipping containers with the mission to bring real food to people in cities around the world by empowering next-gen farmers.”
Kimbal Musk additionally is on the board for Tesla and SpaceX. Follow him on Twitter @Kimbal and Instagram @KimbalMusk.
A labor breakout session from 9:45-1045 a.m. will address “Findings from the 2020 Colorado Agricultural Labor Survey,” with Extension Agent Adrian Card and Assistant Colorado State University Profession Alexandra Hill looking at preliminary findings from a statewide employer-based survey that seeks to characterize the Colorado agricultural workforce. “The presentation will highlight current wages and benefits employers offer to workers, perceived challenges Colorado ag workers are facing, current challenges faced by Colorado ag employers, use and need for solutions to domestic worker shortages, including migrant and H-2A workers and labor-reducing technology adoption,” the agenda said. That session will be followed by a live Q&A session.
Also from 9:45-10:45 is the breakout session on organiccontrols for cucurbit and solanaceous diseases led by Mike Bartolo, Vegetable Crops Specialist from Colorado State University. The session will look at the specific diseases that most often effect curcurbit and solanaceous crops in Colorado, examining how these diseases are transmitted and the management strategies for organic production.
Other breakout session from 9:45-10:45 will look at success with online sales; safe production and use of compost tea with Eduardo Gutierrez-Rodriguez, Assistant Professor in Fresh Produce Safety at CSU; and a general session with exhibitor pitch videos.
The first round of exhibit hall and networking will run from 11 a.m. to noon on Feb. 17, and attendees can find and visit exhibitors in the virtual exhibit hall and networking rooms. Exhibitors can be found by running a category search in the online hall, with text chat with booth staff available.
Noon to noon:30 is lunch on your own, and there will be digital breaks during the day as well.
The second round of exhibit hall and networking room visits will run from 12:30-2 p.m. on Wednesday, with the same format in place as the first round.
A grower/buyer room will be presented from 2-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. And from 3:30-4:30 p.m. there will be a group networking session and discussions, with discussion start times at 3:30, 3:50 and 4:10. Attendees can choose a new discussion group for each start time.
Thursday, Feb. 18, kicks off with a 9-9:40 a.m. opening session and introduction by Robert Sakata and Ag Update from Colorado Ag Commissioner Kate Greenberg.
Morning breakout sessions are from 9:45-10:45 and include COVID food system adaptions; controlled environment ag production trends; ag water treatment; food safety; and “Maximize Effectiveness by Discovering Your Management Style,” which will be led by Anna Bilderbach, HR Learning and Development Manager at Western Growers Association. There will also be a Special Crops Block Grant Programs report during the time slot.
A virtual member meeting and awards presentation will take place from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch on your own and a digital break from noon to 12:30. The exhibit hall and networking room visits will run from 12:30-2 p.m., and afternoon breakout sessions will run from 2-3 p.m.
They address consumer trends during COVID and beyond; new technology in vegetable farming; keeping farm workers COVID-safe; Colorado’s Produce Safety Rule program; and a Special Crops Block Grant Program Reports.
The final general session will be a 2021 weather outlook moderated by Robert Sakata and featuring weather experts Laurna Kaatz, Climate Program Director, Denver Water; Russ Schumacher, Colorado State Climatologist, Colorado State University; and Tracy Kosloff, Deputy State Engineer, Colorado DNR – Division of Water Resources, from 3-3:30 p.m.