( File photo )

The Produce Marketing Association is returning to the South by Southwest festival, to spread the message of The Joy of Fresh.

The association will be connecting with members, media and consumers in three venues March 16-18 to promote produce and floral, according to a news release.

Numerous education tracks, including food-centric discussions, will be presented at SXSW, including a Focus 15 format, which is a group of four presentations in an hour that are linked by a common theme. The 15-minute PMA sessions, which begin at 12:30 p.m. March 17, are:

  • Making a Difference: Tech to Feed the Future: Vonnie Estes, PMA vice president of technology, will discuss how ag tech plays a part in sustainability;
  • Making Farming Fun Again: Gary Wishnatzki, president and CEO of Wish Farms and co-founder of Harvest CROO Robotics, speaks about how robotics addresses labor challenges in harvesting produce;
  • Elevating Our Food System with Vertical Farming: Mark Oshima, co-founder and chief marketing officer for AeroFarms, will speak about growing innovations that use minimal water but offer high nutrition levels; and
  • Nature Tech Meets Body Tech: William Li, physician and food scientist, will talk about unique benefits of eating produce and edible flowers.



PMA is inviting industry members to a number of networking events, which include the PMA Community Happy Hour on March 16 and the PMA-hosted Tech & the Food System Networking Dinner on March 17, according to the release. Estes and Li will continue the discussion started during their education sessions, talking about who fresh foods and produce are linked to health.


Connecting with consumers

More than half a million attendees are expected at SWSW according to the release, giving the PMA an opportunity to engage consumers on what it calls the Joy of Fresh.

PMA is hosting a series of events at The Drafting Room, and the association’s Global Street Farm will showcase produce and floral for the third year. The event is a hit on social media, according to the release.

PMA will update social media channels on the SXSW events March 13-22, and members can follow #PMAatSXSW.

Related stories:

Taking produce beyond health at SXSW

PMA hopes to get ‘primal’ with SXSW panel proposal

PMA's lessons from SXSW