Those working and investing in the natural industries, such as agriculture and resources management, have an intimate knowledge of the many ecosystems that help bring their products to market. These may be obvious—energy from water, sunlight, and wind—or more subtle— photosynthesis, oxygen production, or decomposition.
One other service our environment provides that can often be overlooked is wisdom. In addition to products and services, our ecological communities supply generationally proven instruction about how to live, grow, and scale sustainably.
The most basic lesson in nature’s business primer is the need for connectivity. Scientists believe that it was the establishment of mycorrhiza, the mutualistic relationship between fungi and plant roots, which first allowed plant life to establish on land. Of course, the web of complex and beneficial relationships we know today only increased from there.
As Adam Werbach, author of Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto, explains, “From an ecological standpoint, few companies can ‘go it alone,’ regardless of their internal capacities or resources. The challenges will be too great.” Increasingly, businesses in the dynamic sector of Food & Agriculture are coming to this same conclusion and responding to this need by building collectives, associations, and networks that share information and resources.
Farmfolio Attends Largest Produce Gathering in North America
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is a trade organization that, like the network of fungal hyphae surrounding a plant’s roots, enhances the growth of individual businesses by connecting them with ideas, partners, and market research from the around the world. The PMA currently boasts 34,000 member contacts from 2,800 companies in 53 countries.
While many of these resources and connections are available online, one of the great strengths of an organization like PMA is the opportunities it provides for building face-to-face relationships. October 19-20, industry leaders from around the world will gather in Orlando, FL to discuss growth opportunities and challenges facing the agricultural and floral markets, and the Farmfolio team including Peter Kern (CEO), Oscar Baracaldo (Operations Manager), Paul Vergara (Panama Golden Pineapple COO), Thomas Conell (Investor Relationship manager), and Dean Chenna (Investor Relationship Executive) will be on site for all the action.
If you can’t make it to Orlando yourself, you can connect with the Farmfolio team as they produce Live content throughout the conference via Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, or by tuning in to one of two Farmfolio webinars, live from Fresh Summit 2018: Thursday, October 18 at 11a.m. EST and Friday, October 19 at 5:00p.m. EST.
As CEO and Co-Founder of Gems Group Inc. Carlos Oramas explains, “These coming together opportunities help us facilitate business, because… all business ultimately is personal.” Though connections of any degree are valuable, “when you get to sit face to face with members of the industry and talk about the growth opportunities that are out there, stuff gets done.”
Director of Business Development at Black Gold Farms and Co-Chair of the Fresh Summit Committee Leah Halverson says Fresh Summit is a can’t-miss event because it is “the largest gathering in North America of everything produce.” The size “allows us to network and build relationships with the entire supply chain.”
Halverson’s own business has greatly benefited from participating in past Fresh Summits. “While on the show floor,” she says, “we are able to talk to not only our customers, but [also] get a feel for what others are thinking and what they are doing. Networking events have also allowed us to meet and build relationships with others in the industry—potential vendors, partners, and friends. We leave every year with excitement, ideas, and new business.”
Learning from past gatherings, the 2018 Summit has been streamlined to maximize networking time, provide opportunities for meetings outside of PMA events, and make it even easier for producers and consumers to connect. Big name keynotes include NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, PMA CEO Kathy Burns, Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine Greg Williams, and actor and musician Leslie Odom Jr.
“This year’s exposition is a record setter with more than 1,200 exhibiting companies displaying over 330,000 net square feet, with more than 125 first time exhibitors,” Halverson exclaims.
Taking advantage of this network of resources, relationships, and information is about more than soaking up some Florida sunshine or putting another event on the calendar—this is nature’s way of building long-term growth.