The Council Connection December 2023

Renew Your SEPC Annual Membership for 2023 - 2024!

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!


Heroes, we salute you!

Join us at Southern Exposure – PRODUCE: The Unseen Heroes as we celebrate not only the men and women who serve in camouflage but also the men and women who serve our industry by plowing fields, harvesting crops, sorting produce, loading trucks, stocking shelves, and prepping meals.

This year’s Southern Exposure will take place March 7 – 9, 2024 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Explore the possibilities to Be All You Can Be together!

Exhibitors must complete their registration within the Exhibitor Portal using the link provided via email to the primary contact on file.

Celebrity Keynote Speaker

Kurt Warner | NFL Quarterback & Analyst | Founder of First Things First Foundation

Southern Roots Luncheon Speaker

Kristen Hadeed | Motivational Speaker & Author | Founder of the Human Leadership Program

Gear Up With our Southern Exposure Digital Toolkit Now Available!

Instagram: right click to save
Facebook: right click to save
Twitter: right click to save
LinkedIn: right click to save

Bright Ideas Fresh Arrivals

The SEPC is excited to feature your new products within our Bright Ideas Fresh Arrivals showcase!

How to Submit Your Showcase

  • As you register for Southern Exposure, select Bright Ideas Fresh Arrivals as one of your sessions.
  • Once you register, you’ll receive a submission link via email for your showcase information.
  • Submit your information for your Bright Ideas Fresh Arrivals showcase through the submission link by Friday, December 15, 2023 to be included in our conference directory.
  • Cases are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited.
  • You must include one (1) high-resolution image of your product as well as a detailed description (50 words or less).

If you miss the Friday, December 15, 2023 deadline, your showcase information may still be included within our conference app.

Once you register, you will receive an invoice for your showcase.

Showcase Information

Price: $500

  • Case Dimensions: 37” W x 13” H x 25.5" D
  • Space is limited to one (1) case per member company (unless approved by the SEPC).
  • All shelves include lighting.
  • Cases will be locked before and during the exposition.
  • Display items must not adhere to the case itself.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Your company must be a member of the Southeast Produce Council and in good standing.
  • Your new products must have been submitted to market since March of 2023 or will be launched before July 2024.

Here is an example of our Bright Ideas Fresh Arrivals showcase with last year’s theme: Produce - The Final Frontier!

Innovation Stations

Our Innovation Stations are also back by popular demand in which one (1) of your team members may highlight a new product, product line, or service during our Southern Exposure Expo.

How to Submit Your Innovation Station Application

  • Submit your application for an Innovation Station through the link below by Friday, December 15, 2023.
  • Stations are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited.
  • Priority will be given to waitlisted companies who meet the criteria as well as companies who are interested in joining the SEPC.
  • You must include your logo, one (1) high-resolution image of your product (or product family), as well as a detailed description (50 words or less).
  • You will be notified via email by Friday, December 15th, regarding your application.
  • If approved, you will then receive an invoice for your Innovation Station.

Price: $1750 (does not include individual/group registration fees)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Company must be a member in good standing of Southeast Produce Council.
  • Company is not currently exhibiting at Southern Exposure (unless prior SEPC approval).
  • New product, product line, or family of items must not exceed 4 individual SKUs.
  • New product must have been presented to market since September of 2023 or will be launched before July of 2024. (Verification required)

Innovation Station Guidelines:

  • Space is limited to one (1) Innovation Station per member company.
  • One company member allowed in station at a time. (Individual registration required. Additional associates would also need to purchase individual registrations or register as part of a group registration.)
  • No additional signage, banners, display racks, etc. will be allowed!
  • Sampling is permitted per convention center policies (see exhibitor kit).
  • One (1) stool will be provided at each station.
  • Storage space is available within the desk area of the station.
  • Innovation Station setup during listed Exhibitor Setup hours.
  • Innovation Stations are branded with the conference theme; submitted company logo will be included on the face of the desk (within the white circle as pictured below)

Here is an example of our Innovation Stations this year’s theme: Produce: The Unseen Heroes!

LINKS Reservation Options for SEPC Retail/Foodservice members*

LINKS Meeting Description Options

  • LINKS Meeting(s) with Grower/Shipper Companies
  • Internal Company Meeting

A La Carte Menu

  • A/V option (1. Projector/Screen 2. PA System)
  • Food & Beverage Service (at reserving company's expense)

(*Note that requests will be accommodated as they are received, and we will do our best to coordinate your space needs with what is available. LINKS meeting requests must be submitted/approved through SEPC.)

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars to meet us in Nashville, TN for next year’s Southern Innovations held September 12 – 14, 2024. Registration will open in March 2024.

The SEPC Southern Roots committee announced Melissa Thrasher of Whole Foods Market as the Southern Roots Member Spotlight for November 2023. Please take a moment to get to know Melissa!

Cultivating IdeaS | Growing Relationships | Producing Results

Each year, the SEPC strives to curate an impactful series of industry programs and networking events for our members. The SEPC Virtual Garden is our newest platform through which we will continue to keep members abreast of the latest developments in produce—whether those are happening in the soil, in the cloud, or anywhere in between.

Through the SEPC Virtual Garden, we have begun planting the seeds from our founding pillars – Networking, Innovation, Community, and Education – so that our members will reap the benefits of harvesting quality experiences guaranteed to increase the value of their membership.

In case you missed them, several sessions are available on demand!

The key to the success of our SEPC Virtual Garden is the community who tends it, and we are eager to serve alongside our SEPC family to see what we can grow together.

2024 STEP-UPP Foodservice Class

Thank you to all of our applicants! Stay tuned as we prepare to announce our inaugural STEP-UPP Foodservice Class!!


Community Updates

“Thank you to the Southeast Produce Council for all they have done and continue to do for Bridge the Gap Ministries. Our 1st annual golf tournament was phenomenal, and we couldn't have done it without you all. We appreciate you more than words can describe. Truly, Thank you.” ~ Bridge the Gap Ministries
On Saturday, November 18, SoSA and the SEPC participated in the 15th annual Crop Drop Destin. Three truckloads were brought in for this amazing team event, including one full load of apples from West Virginia, thanks to the Farmlink Project. Over 450 volunteers helped pack, load, and distribute 102,000 pounds of produce to a record-breaking 50 food agencies throughout the Florida panhandle. Recipients received sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, onions, dragonfruit, pineapples, sweet corn, cucumbers, greens, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, squash, cantaloupe, radishes, leafy greens and limes. Agency volunteers were once again overwhelmed with the variety and amount of food they received. SoSA would like to thank the following SEPC Cares members for their generous donations:
  • Nickey Gregory
  • Penrose Farms
  • Coosemans Farms
  • The Satusma Company
  • Pure Flavor
  • Farm-wey
  • Bland Farms
  • Shuman Farms
  • Southern Valley
  • Herndon Farms
  • Ark Foods
  • Edmenson Farms
  • Mack Farms
  • Freshway Produce
  • Colimex Inc.
  • Chestnut Hill
  • Roth/Heritage Farms
Thank you to John Greene Logistics, who provided the transportation for two trucks! Thank you to all who helped provide 408,000 servings of fresh, nutritious food to over 7,000 families. ~ Kelly Stainer, SoSA FL Regional Director
“Thank you Southeast Produce Council, Inc. and the many members who donated over 100,000 pounds of fresh food to the 15th annual Crop Drop Destin. Huge thanks to The Farmlink Project for donating a semi load of sweet, delicious apples, too! Because of the amazing SEPC farmers and partners, including John Greene Logistics Company, who arranged freight and multiple pick-ups, thousands of hungry families in the Florida panhandle will have 20 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables on their Thanksgiving table.” ~ Kelly Stainner, Florida Regional Director, Society of St. Andrew

Our featured #SEPC Cares charitable partner for December is Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christ-centered, fully licensed and accredited home offering a second chance to young men since 1961. The Home focuses on helping transform the lives of troubled young men and their families from all over the country, meeting them at their point of need, and providing a Christian home environment in which they can rebuild their broken lives through a process of recovery, restoration, and redemption.

Through our partnership with Paul Anderson Youth Home, we support efforts with their Goodness Garden, Ag Business Class, annual Bike Ride, and Golf Tournament.

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.


The Vorhees Vision Scholarship was created to reward the achievements of young individuals who demonstrate a true entrepreneurial spirit in their lives as they pursue their educational goals. This scholarship is named in honor of the late Terry L. Vorhees, founder and first Executive Director of the Southeast Produce Council. Because of his vision and efforts, the Southeast Produce Council became and remains one of the best resources in the produce industry today.

Scholarship Details

One college-aged student (graduating high school senior or current college student) will now receive a one-time scholarship of $10,000 to their enrolling college/university. The 2nd place recipient will receive $1,500, and the 3rd place recipient will receive $1,000.

The application can only be submitted online through our link beginning December 11, 2023.

The application deadline is January 12, 2024 at 5pm EST.

Congratulations to Logan McCumber of Shuman Farms for being the first to answer our November SEPC Fruit & Veggie Trivia Question correctly!

December Trivia Question


Which vegetable is traditionally turned into a pie for the holidays?

  • Pumpkin
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Sweet potato

Contact us

Please note that our mailing address has changed! See our new mailing address below in the contact information.

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