Produce needs your help for SXSW 2020

produce with pamela

You might recall I spent some time hanging with the produce community at South by Southwest in my home town of Austin, TX.

SXSW, for the unfamiliar, is basically where the cool kids gather to talk about how to make everything better. Tracks cover technology, entertainment, food, education and more. It has a massive media presence and a massive reach across social media. (also one massive display of cheese, but I digress)

I, like many, was frustrated at the representation the fresh produce industry received in the food track of the hundreds of presentations and panel discussions.

The biggest offender was this panel, starring Mark Bittman. Read up on it here.

I walked out of this year’s conference thinking “who are these people and how did they get chosen to represent us?”

Well. It turns out there’s a process, and it’s going on now. The Produce Marketing Association BB #:153708 has put together a plan for a panel that’s up for voting in the SXSW Panel Picker right now. Voting runs through August 23.

I talked with Vonnie Estes, PMA’s VP of Technology, about the plans for next year’s panel, which revolves around brining young growers from the fresh produce community to share their story.

Estes told me she believes bringing a panel of young farmers together is something that will resonate well with the typically-young SXSW attendance.

I agree. I recently traveled to Salinas and Watsonville, and was surprised that nearly everyone who guided me on field tours was younger than I am. I think a lot of people out there are unaware of this growing contingent of our workforce and they need better representation with Millennials and Gen Z.

So, here’s what PMA needs you to do:

Go vote!

And while you’re at it, take a look around at the other panels up for consideration and cast your vote on those, as well.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.