The Council Connection September 2023


Race to Discover “What’s New?” at Southern Innovations!

Know Before You Go

Registration Desk Hours

Location: Charlotte Convention Center Concourse C Registration Desk

  • Thursday, September 14th: 7:30am – 5:00pm
  • Friday, September 15th: 7:30am – 5:00pm

*If you are arriving on Thursday after 5:00 pm, you may use the QR code within our "What to Know Before You Go to Southern Innovations 2023" member emails to scan at the Welcome Reception, however, you must retrieve your conference badge at registration on Friday to attend all other sessions.

Badge Lanyard Color Codes


All session/activity transportation will take place at the Charlotte Convention Center East Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Entrance:

  • STEP-UPP Team Building Experience
  • Founders Memorial Golf Tournament
  • Martin Eubanks Sporting Clays Classic
  • Local Tour

Convention Center Information

Charlotte Convention Center | 501 South College Street | Charlotte, NC 28202

Stay Connected

Expo Wi-Fi is complimentary. Charging Stations will be available throughout the conference.

Network: SEPCSI2023

Password: WhatsNew?

Follow us on Social Media

Don’t forget to use the hashtag: #SEPCSouthernInnovations

Exhibitor and Attendee Etiquette

  • Exhibitors and non-exhibiting attendees shall not congregate or solicit trade in doorways or aisles.
  • Conduct of exhibitors and attendees shall be professional and courteous at all times.
  • Exhibitors and non-exhibiting attendees may not enter the exhibit space of another exhibitor without express permission. If admission has been granted, exhibitors shall be courteous and move aside when the host exhibitor is showing merchandise to prospective buyers.
  • Under no circumstances shall an exhibitor or non-exhibiting attendees interrupt another exhibitor showing merchandise to a prospective buyer.
  • Exhibitors or non-exhibiting attendees may not have models, signs, or other solicitation devices outside assigned exhibit space or in aisles.
  • No furniture, product or packing materials may be left in the aisle during show hours.
  • No exhibit will be permitted which, in the view of Show Management, is offensive or poses a danger or potential danger to exhibitors or buyers.
  • Exhibitors or non-exhibiting attendees must keep their badge on at all times. Badge swapping is prohibited.


Produce Donations

The SEPC is proud to donate all leftover produce from Southern Innovations to Society of St. Andrew. A Society of St. Andrew representative will be dropping stickers off to each booth during the Expo on Friday. If your company is interested in donating leftover product, please attach the stickers to donated product and leave in your booth after the Expo. If you have any questions, please stop by the AGS Service Desk.

Who’s Attending?

The attendee list can be accessed by logging in to your registration and selecting “Attendees” within the “Post Registration” dropdown.

*Please note that any external company solicitation has not been approved by the SEPC.

What Do I Wear?

Overall conference attire is business casual. Use this guide to help decide what to wear throughout the weekend (also available in the conference app).

Welcome Reception (Thursday): Business Casual

Chairman’s Dinner Dance (Friday): Dressy Casual

Saturday Activities:

  • Founders Memorial Golf Tournament: Golf Attire
  • Martin Eubanks Sporting Clays Classic: Shooting Attire
  • Local Tour: Casual Attire with comfortable walking shoes
  • Ultimate Tailgate Experience: Sports Casual Attire (Wear your game day shirts or jerseys and proudly show support for your favorite team!)

***Please note, you must wear your conference badge and bring a valid ID to each of the events. Any badge swapping will result in dismissal from the event***

Fun Stuff

Southern Roots Reception Gift Card Giveaway

SEPC’s Southern Roots Reception is taking place just across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center in the JW Marriott Ballroom; as our Southern Roots ladies arrive, they’ll have the opportunity to leave a business card/name card to be entered into a drawing to win one of our $100 gift cards donated by our session sponsors!

Expo Extras

We will feature a refreshment lounge as well as a relaxation station during the expo on Friday. We’ll also have Happy Hour during the final hour of the expo. All badge-wearing attendees of Southern Innovations are welcome…and did we mention it’s complimentary?!

Ultimate Tailgate Experience

New this year – Pickleball! Team up and try your hand at America’s fastest growing sport – a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton.

Don’t forget to go Buy-a-Square! ½ of the proceeds will be donated to charity and ½ will be awarded to the winner!!

Team up for our epic cornhole tournament! It’s a single elimination tournament with a grand prize for the winning team!!

Al Finch Memorial Prayer Breakfast

We invite SEPC members and family to join us in worship and fellowship on Sunday morning during our SEPC Prayer Breakfast. Coffee and pastries will be served.

What’s New? Silent Theater Schedule

During the expo, Race to Discover industry innovations within our interactive What's New? Silent Theater & Kiosks Pit Stop!

  • 1:10-1:30PM | Carbon Robotics – Brett Goodwin (VP Marketing)
  • 1:40-2:00PM | Rijk Zwaan – David Perie (Acc’t Manager of Retail & Foodservice/Sales)
  • 2:10-2:30PM | CIRT – Christian Foster (CPO); Kat Shayne (Co-Founder/CEO)
  • 2:40-3:00PM | CarbonSpace – Lydia Ashburn (Growth & Business Development)
  • 3:10-3:30PM | iFoodDS – Karen Long (VP of North American Sales); Andrew Kennedy (Principal Traceability Advisor)
  • 3:40-4:00PM | Bloomfield AI – Andrew Littell (Director of Sales & Marketing)
  • 4:10-4:30PM | Flashfood – Brody Slacer (Head of Growth & Impact)

We drop the green flag on Thursday afternoon as the ladies of Southern Roots host our Southern Roots Reception with guest speaker Shannon Spake, Veteran Sports Broadcaster for FOX Sports.

Then on Friday, be sure to make a pit stop for our General Session & Keynote Luncheon where we will share an informative State of the Council update, including the celebration of our STEP-UPP graduates. The session will conclude with an exciting keynote address with Darrell Waltrip, 3-Time NASCAR Premier Series Champion & NASCAR HALL of Fame Member, moderated by NASCAR correspondent Shannon Spake.

Join us to take an in-depth look at all things new in the world of fresh produce and have interactive conversation with your peers! The last few years have been a whirlwind of change and innovation — driven by an uncertain economic environment, labor shortages, and ever-evolving consumer wants and needs. SEPC has teamed up with Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics to conduct market research to gain a deeper understanding of consumer perceptions on innovations. The data insights and discussions are broken down to the key growth areas of value, convenience, health & nutrition, planet & people, and technology.

Ever wondered about building a virtual brand in Roblox? Consumers’ thoughts on dynamic pricing? Adding more functional benefits to fruits and vegetables? Don’t miss this session that will unveil SEPC’s research insights in combination with consumer interviews, best-in-class retail pictures, and robust round table discussions with your industry peers to identify 2024 fresh produce pockets of growth!

Take a pit stop and fuel up on our newest digital toolkit! Take advantage of these digital tools available for you as you prepare to join us in Charlotte for Southern Innovations!

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Our office will be closed Monday, September 11th through Monday, September 18th. Please contact us with any questions at info@seproducecouncil.com. Be sure to visit our FAQs section of the Southern Innovations website for help during our absence.

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity

Race y’all to Charlotte for Southern Innovations!

Registration Opening Soon!

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.

Our newest Southern Roots Member Spotlight features Kim St George of Dole. Please take a moment and get to know Kim!


Congratulations to our 2023 STEP-UPP Class Graduates!


Community Updates

Our featured SEPC Cares charitable partner for September is Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For the past few years, SEPC has been the Title Sponsor of the @wearestrong4life Superhero Sprint and gives away fresh, free produce to event attendees. All proceeds benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Strong4Life program, which helps Georgia families raise healthy, resilient kids.

We invite you to join our team each year as we support this super benefit, or if you aren’t up for the run, but would like to help out, we would love for you to volunteer with us!

“Thank you to the SEPC and many SEPC members for donating space, trucks, food, boxes, and volunteers for the Annual Macon Drop in Georgia. We distributed over 70,000 pounds of fresh produce to those experiencing hunger in Bibb County, GA. This year, we coordinated two trucks worth of donations from Florida, Georgia, and beyond! Thank you to Jear Logistics for providing the transportation from GA. Special thanks to Lane Southern Orchards and Mack Farms for providing the packing house space for members to deliver ahead of the event and Pratt AG for donating 3,000 boxes for volunteers to pack the food in. Thank you to Bland Farms, Shuman Farms, Southern Valley, Freshway Produce, Pure Flavor, Titan Farms, Mack Farms, Lipman Family Farms, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Nickey Gregory Company, Lane Southern Orchards Thanks to these members' support, we could give 20 pounds of fresh food to over 3,700 families!!!”


“Southern Valley donates a walk-in freezer to the Paul Anderson Youth Home. In the winter of 2021, they suffered a fire that destroyed their food pantry and walk-in freezer. Southern Valley saw an opportunity to help them by replacing the walk-in freezer they lost. The young men plant and grow fruits and vegetables from the "Goodness Garden". Each season, the abundance from the garden us used to fill the freezer. They are very blessed and grateful for the support and partnership.”

~ Victoria Shuman | Advancement Officer | Paul Anderson Youth Home

“The guys thoroughly enjoyed their field trip to Nickey Gregory Company and the Atlanta State Farmers Market. It's crucial that they discover where their food comes from and enjoy themselves while doing it. The boys were sent back with lots of yummy fruit for the home. We are blessed by the continual support from Nickey Gregory Company.”

~ Victoria Shuman | Advancement Officer | Paul Anderson Youth Home

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.


Registration for our fall session of Produce Inspection Training is now open! This session will take place October 3-4, 2023, and will be hosted by EarthFresh Foods, Inc. In order to receive your certificate of completion, you must complete both the spring and fall sessions.

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!

Check out this month’s Sponsor Spotlights on our social media platforms to learn more about each of our SEPC Level Sponsors!

Congratulations to Daniel Shurack of Freshpoint Atlanta for being the first to answer our August SEPC Fruit & Veggie Trivia Question correctly!

september Trivia Question


Which of the following are alternative uses for cucumber?

  • Breath freshener
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Eraser
  • All of the above

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) | info@seproducecouncil.com