The Council Connection April 2024

Membership Registration for 2024-2025 will open April 15th!

Behind every piece of produce are countless people who helped along the way – the skilled hands, sharp minds, and big hearts that comprise a critical industry in our country. SEPC brings these worlds together. Because together, we create a strong, vibrant industry now and for decades to come.

Together We Grow Higher!

Please review the membership information on our website and select which annual membership* best suits your company's needs.

*Please note that our annual membership period runs June through May of the following year. We do not prorate our membership fees.

**All conference attendees are required to be SEPC members in order to attend any events. Exhibitors are required to maintain a corporate membership.**

Our Sponsors

SEPC sponsors are a vital part of our existence. Simply put, sponsor contributions help us bring more to the table for everyone. Like better networking and education events, fresh talent, and a broader awareness of best practices throughout our industry. And of course, when you help us promote produce, your organization will gain crucial exposure at our events and engagements throughout the year. Together, we create a strong, vibrant industry now and for decades to come.

Together We Grow Higher!

APRIL Sponsor Spotlight

Registration is now open for Southern Innovations 2024 which will be held September 12th through September 15th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. Discover “What’s New?” within our industry as we springboard new product items and technologies into the marketplace. Brush up on best practices, keep up with emerging trends, test new products, hear from national thought leaders, and network with other council members who share the same passions you do. Educational sessions led by industry leaders complement our tradeshow, offering an opportunity to hear how to elevate your brand in an increasingly competitive field and receive valuable fact-based data to strengthen and improve your business. And as always, you’ll be able to sample a taste of true Southern hospitality as you fellowship with friends and colleagues.

Thank You for Attending Southern Exposure 2024 – Produce: The Unseen Heroes

We are so grateful you were able to join us at this year’s conference where we celebrated heroes within our industry and provided abundant opportunities for Networking, Innovating, Connecting, and Educating – Together We Grow Higher!

To keep our conference fresh on your mind, check out our recap info below:

Feedback Survey

Please take a moment to complete the surveys. We truly value your feedback to help make Southern Exposure for next year!

Click here to respond

Attendee List

Don’t forget that you can still connect with fellow attendees through our conference app. You may also download the final attendee list or access it by logging back into your registration and selecting Attendees List from the dropdown menu. It is our Board’s policy that we do not provide contact information with this list.

Conference Photos

All of our conference photos can now be viewed in our Google Photos Album.

Conference Videos

SEPC University Educational Sessions

Download your copy now with our discount code: FMISEPIC-40 to receive a 40% discount from FMI (valid 3/8/2024 until 4/20/2024)

Session slide deck also available upon request

(Southern Roots Luncheon available upon request by women in produce only)

We sincerely appreciate our Sponsors, Committee Members, Exhibitors, and Retail & Foodservice Heroes for making Southern Exposure 2024 such a success!

Our industry is about passion. Every member of SEPC puts in extra time on the job because of the satisfaction that a better yield in crops, businesses, and relationships brings us. But there are a select few who stand out among us who unite our region through tireless effort, extraordinary instinct, and a genuine love for our industry. We’re proud to recognize them with our Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Award.

Faye Westfall, Vice President of Where The Food Comes From/Southeast Produce Weekly, has been a member of the Southeast Produce Council since the beginning. She started serving on the SEPC Board of Directors in 2010 and held all offices before becoming SEPC Chairman of the Board in 2017. She was awarded the SEPC Lifetime Membership Award in 2020, and she proudly became a member of the SEPC Board of Governors in 2022. She is actively involved in several SEPC Committees of which her true passion is being the “Den Mother” of the STEP-UPP program where she has been involved since its inception.

Faye started in the produce industry at the very young age of 14 while working part time in Ruskin, Florida, at Ruskin Packaging with her mother and father. Ruskin Packaging later became Crews & Garcia, a company that was well ahead of their time, packaging a variety of greens, coleslaw, and salads. After trying different occupations (nursing, modeling, trucking, etc.), Faye went back to her first love of produce. She worked at Stake Tomatoes where she ran the production line and later joined the J.C. Valenti Company in Tampa where, in the beginning, she also ran the production line and then later moved into sales. In April of 1991 Paul DiMare purchased JC Valenti where, during these almost 4 decades, Faye acquired the title of “Tomato Lady”.

In 2020 Faye decided it was time for a change and joined Chip Carter at Where The Food Comes From where she is responsible for obtaining sponsorships for the TV program and ads for the newsletter Southeast Produce Weekly as well as promoting the show. She is thoroughly enjoying this exciting new avenue in produce.

Faye’s faith is very important to her, and she enjoys singing in the praise team at her church. Her family consists of 4 children: Shelly Riley, Melissa Giaquinto, Marina Phillips, and Joe Potter; 5 grandchildren: Jeffrey Burnett, Abigail & Sadie Potter, Anthony & Nicholas Giaquinto; and 3 great grandchildren: Wade, Lilah, and Dean Burnett.

To say that Faye is overwhelmed at receiving SEPC’s Terry Vorhees Lifetime Achievement Award would be an understatement. She is humbled, grateful, and proud to add her name to the list of past recipients.

COmmunity Updates

Our Featured Charitable Partner for April is Palmer Home for Children, a faith-based organization that provides a family and community to children in need regardless of race, gender, or background. Palmer Home provides superior care for children while introducing the love of God through their service to each individual child.

Palmer Home ensures restorative environments where children feel safe, connected, and supported. Whether on campus or off, each child served by Palmer Home has a safe place to call home with trustworthy, supportive adults to guide them as they grow and develop into all that God created them to be. Palmer Home provides holistic care to each child based on their unique physical, emotional, spiritual and educational needs.

SEPC partners with Palmer Home for Children to coordinate efforts for children in need, including the annual Palmer Home Radiothon, Hope Grows Garden, and Ag Literacy Programs.

Save the Date for the 12th Annual Palmer Home Radiothon set for Thursday, July 11th!

2024 Southern Exposure Gleaning

“The Society of St. Andrew graciously thanks the Southeast Produce Council, Inc. and the many exhibitors who donated fresh produce at the 2024 Southern Exposure in Tampa! Approximately 50 SoSA volunteers packed over 60,200 pounds of beautiful, delicious fruits and veggies, which reached many hungry Floridians. Special thanks to Mack Farms for providing storage, transportation, and logistics. Approximately 39,000 pounds of produce was donated to His Compassion Food Bank, distributed to over 20 West and Central Florida communities. New Covenant UMC Gleaning Ministry (a SoSA gleaning partner) received over 8,000 pounds of fresh produce. This bounty was distributed to 15 Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties food pantries. Metropolitan Ministries received over 12,000 pounds and served families and communities throughout Tampa Bay. Thank you, SEPC!”

~ Kelly Stainner, Florida Regional Director, Society of St. Andrew

2nd Annual Welcome Home Banquet

Bridge the Gap Recovery Ministries is a faith based, residential, one year program based in Sevierville, TN. The program celebrated 2 years in operation in February 2024 and served over 100 individuals. Many of these folks have found freedom from addiction, restored relationships with family members, and found a place to belong.

There is no cost for our program. We are a 501C3 Non-Profit organization and rely solely on donations. We are gearing up for our 2nd Annual Welcome Home Banquet that will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 6pm with doors opening at 5pm. This incredible evening is themed, “Welcome Home” focusing on the collection of broken individuals we call family.

During the banquet, there will be a LIVE and SILENT AUCTION. We are contacting you to see if you would like to participate in the evening by donating goods or services to the auction. Businesses and individuals will receive a full retail tax credit for their donations. We ask that donations be received by April 7, 2024.

Attraction tickets, gift certificates, and small items can be mailed to:

Bridge the Gap

PO Box 1584 Kodak, TN 37764

For questions or to arrange donation pick up, please call or text (828) 577-8939

Thank you for investing in our ministry and community. Registration & Hotel Link

It will be here before you know it. The 2024 Paul Anderson Golf Classic is set to kick off Monday, May 6th, 2024. We're really excited about this year, as it is the 31ST ANNIVERSARY of the event. You can register via the website,, or scan the QR Code on the graphic below. Register now, as slots are already filling up.

To learn more about SEPC Cares and how you can join the Southeast Produce Council in giving back to the community by educating others about the benefits of healthy eating and habits, click the link below.


Scholarship Details

Recipients of the SEPC Member Scholarship will each receive a scholarship of $1,500 toward their educational goals for the upcoming school year. The SEPC is proud to have awarded 43 scholarships ($64,500) in 2023 thanks to the dedication of our members.

The SEPC Member Scholarship application can only be submitted online through our link provided March 11, 2024. The application deadline is April 26, 2024 at 5pm EST.

Recipients of the SEPC Fresh Chefs Scholarship will each receive one (1) of three (3) $1,500 scholarships towards their educational goals for the upcoming year. In addition to the scholarship funds, each recipient will also be expected to attend the SEPC’s Southern Innovations conference & expo. The SEPC will cover hotel and travel expenses to this event and will also provide an SEPC Fresh Chefs jacket for each recipient. The scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of produce industry grower/shipper members as well as the nation’s leading retailers and foodservice distributors.

The SEPC Fresh Chefs scholarship application can only be submitted online through our link which will was provided beginning March 25th. The application deadline is May 24th at 5pm EST.

Visit our website for application parameters, eligibility requirements, and more!

Visit our website for more scholarship information!

Congratulations to Kevin Dunleavy of Super Marketing Promotions for being the first to answer our March SEPC Fruit & Veggie Trivia Question correctly!

April Trivia Question

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $25 gift card!

This Chinese cabbage has a name meaning ‘soup spoon’ because of the unique shape of its leaves.

Can you name it?

April Birthdays

Contact us

242 North Masonic Street | Millen, GA 30442 | 877.720.SEPC (7372) |