New and engaging events are in store for the 2019 Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention and Expo, including new ways for members to connect with technology and food safety training.

PMA has entered into a three-year strategic partnership with SGV Ventures THRIVE to connect PMA growers with the latest technology, Cassidy Taylor, communications coordinator for PMA, said in a press briefing. 

“SVG Ventures will lead a panel conversation on agrifood and ag tech at Fresh Summit,” Taylor said. 
“Debuting this year, the organization will launch the THRIVE Fresh Summit challenge live-pitch competition.”

Startup businesses creating technology in the produce and floral industries will be able to compete for a chance to pitch live on stage at Fresh Summit, she said.

One judge for the competition will be Robert Herjavec, entrepreneur and lead shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” 

Other judges are John Hartnett, CEO of SVG Ventures THRIVE; Ted Taylor, head of new ventures and business development for Taylor Farms; and Jennifer Maloney, food stakeholder manager for Bayer Crop Science.

The winner of the THRIVE Fresh Summit Challenge will receive a $100,000 investment award.

PMA is also launching the Fresh Ed certificate program in partnership with Alchemy, the global leader in food safety training, Taylor said. 

The online program’s first course teaches the essentials of produce safety, she added. It is an affordable online option for businesses of all sizes. More information will be shared about the program at Fresh Summit and attendees can also visit booth No. 2736 at the event.

Continuing from last year’s global theme, there will be a welcoming reception called the Global Street Festival. The event will highlight three countries — Thailand with the theme of festival of food, flowers and light; Brazil with a carnival theme; and the U.S. showcasing the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

“This welcoming reception will be an opportunity to meet, mingle with colleagues and immerse yourself in culture, fun and flavor,” Taylor said.

Fresh Summit will also have the FreshTival, an outdoor experience open Oct. 18-19 in the grand plaza. This event will feature tastings, companies in attendance and interactive ways to engage with other attendees, Taylor said.

Some new and returning features of Fresh Summit include a merchandise shop, mobile registration carts available to register for the event without having to visit the registration table, and a press room.

Extension experiences will also take place in between forums at the convention. These will give attendees the opportunity to connect with peers, have conversations with industry leaders or take a break. More information about each experience extension can be found at bit.ly/FreshSummit-EE.

A full schedule for PMA is available at bit.ly/FreshSummit-schedule

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