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New organic event aims to educate New England retailers

The New England Produce Council and the Organic Produce Network have partnered to start a one-day education event that plans to better educate Eastern retailers about organic produce.

Set for May 1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, the meeting will have three sessions and a keynote speaker.

“The East Coast, they say there’s a genuine hunger for more education on organic,” said Matt Seeley, co-founder and CEO of the Organic Produce Network, Jan. 30. “We want to work with various elements in the industry to grow organic.”

Seeley said the sessions will be:
-Data dive with organic figures from Nielsen
-Organic 101
-Retailer roundtable

Follow the sessions will be keynote speaker Shannon Allen, the creator of grown, a 100% organic fast food restaurant that opened in March 2016 in Miami.

According to a news release, grown focuses on “delicious, organic, nutrient-dense fare; the innovative concept marries the quality of farm-to-fork cuisine with the convenience of fast food dining. Shannon lives in Miami with her husband, Ray Allen (two-time NBA champion) and their five children.”

Seeley said many retailers involved in the NEPC pushed for the event.

“Retailers will bring produce managers to better understand organic, labeling and merchandising,” he said. “There’s a lack of information on what organics are and the challenges and opportunities.”

He said the goal is to make it an annual educational event.

Seeley also said, depending on the outcome of Sunday’s Super Bowl, the event in the New England Patriots home stadium could have a heavy football theme if the Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services