ABREAK FROM THE COLD AND SOME NATURAL SUNLIGHT are not the only elements drawing attend- ees to this year’s Southern Exposure conference.
The event, which will take place from
March 3-5 for the first time in its new location
of Holly wood, Fla., promises to bring together
the best of the Southeast Produce Council’s
suppliers and buyers under one roof, offering
an abundance to see, hear and eat.
The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC)
and Southern Exposure were built upon three
fundamental principles, says David Sherrod,
executive director of the SEPC, based in
Millen, Ga. “The first was to create the best
networking event environment in the indus-
try; secondly, we would strive to bring relevant
educational programs to our members; and
lastly, we would give back to charitable orga-
nizations that we could help by our efforts.”
Southern Exposure consists of a variety of
events and a day-long tradeshow. The festivi-
ties will kick off with a gala on Friday night,
which Sherrod says is one of the biggest
attended galas in the industry.
The keynote luncheon speaker this year is
former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy
Johnson. Johnson, now an NFL analyst and
motivational speaker, plans to tie his past
experiences in with the produce industry.
Carey Lohrenz, the first female F- 14 jet
fighter, will speak during the Southern Roots
conference. Southern Roots, a group that
began in the fall of 2014, is for women working in the male dominated produce industry.
Lohrenz will relate in that sense and speak on
The conference also features educational
workshops. Among them will be one with New
York Times bestselling author Michael Maltz.
Maltz wrote the novel Salt Sugar Fat and will
be speaking to attendees about how they can
gain market share from the food giants.
Overall, Sherrod says he is expecting more
than 2,000 attendees at this year’s event,
including more than 400 from the retail/
foodservice sectors. There are 278 exhibitors
signed up, and a waiting list.
“We could be bigger, but we have chosen not
to be so it provides more of an intimate atmo-
sphere for our buyers to be able to spend more
time with the exhibitors we have,” Sherrod
says. “We choose to be that way. We have a
waitlist of more than 100 companies waiting
to get into the show, but we’ve chosen to stay
on the smaller side so that people have time to
Growers and suppliers from across North America will migrate south this
winter for the Southern Exposure conference. BY ARIELLE SIDRANE