Industry Leaders Ramp Up for the California Central Coast Sustainability Exchange
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
SANTA BARBARA, CA - Whether you are a buyer, grower, or supplier, in our industry, if you want to succeed you need to be sustainable. For those looking for a seat at the sustainability table, your chair is waiting for you at the exclusive 2019 California Central Coast Sustainability Exchange (CCCSE) on October 15 and 16.
“Consumers are increasingly looking at purchases with an eye to sustainability, and so are our customers,” said John Carter, Limoneira’s Vice President of Global Sales. “We were part of the first Sustainability Exchange five years ago, and it was very successful. A lot has changed in sustainability over the past few years. With PMA Fresh Summit taking place in Anaheim this year, we all agreed it would be a great time to have retail and foodservice executives, industry leaders, and growers together here at Limoneira for another session.”
Everyone will have an opportunity to listen and share their experiences with sustainability at this intimate event at picturesque Limoneira Ranch in Ventura, California. There will be an opportunity to tour latest sustainability innovations at Limoneira and Calavo, enjoy a farm-to-table dinner, and network while being treated to specialty cocktails, entertainment, and more, courtesy of the sponsors.
"I am looking forward to meeting like-minded people in the industry and hearing what successful initiatives they have implemented. This industry learns well from each other. So, the more I can learn, the more PMA can help inspire others to be more sustainable," Ed Treacy, VP of Supply Chain and Sustainability for PMA, shared. "Part of our mission is to inspire industry members to adopt sustainable business practices that benefit the planet, and the people on the planet, profitably. Attending sustainability-related events like the CCCSE is a great way to see sustainability in action."
During the evening, attendees will hear representatives from across the supply chain about the benefits, challenges, and the growing demand to tell their sustainability story. This will include a range of voices from SCS Global and Dana Gunders to Produce Mom Lori Taylor and rPlanet Earth.
The following morning the event will wrap up with tours of some of the area's most sustainable local operations, including Duda Farm Fresh Foods and San Miguel Produce.
“We are so proud to have leaders in sustainability like Limoneira and Calavo partner with us as we return to Fresh Summit in Anaheim,” said Nikki Rodoni, Founder and CEO of Measure to Improve. “When we had the idea to revive the successful Sustainability Exchange, I couldn’t imagine a better host to lead by example in how sustainability is not just a good business practice, but good business overall. That is the message we are looking to spread as we invite key decision-makers to see sustainable operations in action with their own eyes.”
One of the influential minds of our industry that experienced the first Sustainability Exchange was Longo Brothers’ Director of Produce and Floral, Mimmo Franzone.
“The 2014 event was fantastic! The growers of Ventura County showed us first hand all the great things they were doing when it came to sustainability and innovation. Over the past five years, the produce landscape has changed dramatically and the need for more sustainable initiatives is definitely top of mind. I’m looking forward to this year’s event as I will be able to bring back a ton of insights to our teams at the store level, which will allow them to share with our guests all the great things our grower partners are doing to make the world—and its food—cleaner and safer,” Mimmo told me.
John agreed, also citing the innovations in sustainability that have taken place just in the few years since the inaugural exchange.
“There are many new and exciting practices and procedures being done region-wide and we want to shine a spotlight on them during the event. It’s going to be relevant, focused, and enjoyable. We’re looking forward to it!” he concluded.
It is not lost on me that, for many of us, this will be the busiest week of the fresh produce calendar. Every moment will likely be accounted for in the name of growing our respective businesses. So, while it may seem difficult to carve out time upfront, Nikki reminds us that the long-term pay-off will more than make-up for it.
“Sustainability is what everyone’s customers are asking for, so the value of seeing these initiatives for yourself is immeasurable. By working with suppliers such as Limoneira, Calavo, San Miguel, and many others seeking to achieve a completely sustainable operation, buyers will be able to confidently and credibly say they are sourcing their produce sustainably. An event like this brings an immediate return to a retailer or foodservice buyer who is in search of companies taking a proactive approach to telling their sustainability story,” Nikki explained.
One of the best parts of working in produce is the frequent intersection of bottom lines and better living, and increasing sustainable practices is the next step in strengthening those ties. Hope to see you at the table!
For more information about how you can get a seat at the table, contact Nikki Rodoni at [email protected]