The Council Connection MAY 2024

Membership Registration for 2024-2025 IS NOW OPEN!

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!

May 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.

Limited Exhibit Space Available!

The Southeast Produce Council’s STEP-UPP Retail Class embarked on their spring tour in April, taking participants into the field and on plant tours to gain hands-on experience in how to partner with growers more effectively.

The STEP-UPP Retail Class tour began Wednesday, April 9th, as participants arrived that evening for food and fellowship at The Manchester Arms Pub, a group favorite. The next day, the class began their tour bright and early with an amazing series of facility, farm, and field tours hosted by the following SEPC sponsors: EarthFresh Foods, Pure Flavor®, and Genuine Georgia/Lane Southern Orchards. The tour resumed Thursday with more fantastic facility, farm, and field tours hosted by the following SEPC sponsors: Herndon Farms/SuperFit Greens, Bland Farms, and Shuman Farms; and the day’s excursions also included a tour of the Vidalia Onion Museum. Culminating the trip, the class toured Paul Anderson Youth Home, one of the SEPC Cares charitable organizations, before they depart for home.

Thank you to all of our hosting SEPC member companies for your true Southern hospitality and outstanding educational offerings!

APPLY NOW for one of our 2025 STEP-UPP Classes

Are you, or do you know, a retail or foodservice professional looking to develop a greater understanding of the produce industry through strategic orientation, personal leadership, and hands-on field experience?

If so, we invite you to find out more and apply for our 2025 STEP-UPP (Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals) available to both Retailer and Foodservice members where you'll experience exceptional networking opportunities and learn the inner workings of the supplier side of the industry.

The 2025 class year for both our STEP-UPP Retail and STEP-UPP Foodservice participants officially starts in January 2025 and will provide a variety of experiences through both classroom experiences and on-the-ground field tours in the spring and summer. The year will culminate with graduation at Southern Innovations held September 2025 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC.

We will be accepting applications for the 2025 Retail and Foodservice classes now through Friday, July 12, 2024 before 5:00 pm EST. Only 10-12 students are accepted each year within each class, so get your application in today!

For more information about the STEP-UPP program as well as other SEPC educational opportunities, please visit the Education page of the SEPC website.

COmmunity Updates

Our Featured Charitable Partner for May is Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Paul Anderson Golf Classic is one of the Paul Anderson Youth Home's largest annual fundraisers and has been for the last 31 years! To date, the tournament has raised over $7 million in support of changing the lives of young men struggling with behavioral problems and issues of discipline, anger, and depression. Through your generosity, they are able to offer these boys a last chance before incarceration and introduce them to Jesus Christ and His Word. There are four different levels to choose from. Please visit their website to learn more about how to become a sponsor.

“We would like to thank The Southeast Produce Council for being a faithful sponsor. You have contributed to us financially and poured into our young men the importance of being good stewards of the land. Your investment in the PAYH has made our young men better men!”

We are forever grateful for you, allowing us to be one of your mission partners. Our partnership has taken our ministry to a level we never could imagine in such a short period of time. We have been able to help so many men and will continue to be able to help many many more overcome the ravages of addiction and alcoholism. Again, thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Bridge the Gap Recovery Ministries

“2nd Annual Welcome Home Banquet”

Join Us for a Food Distribution


On June 21, in collaboration with Atrium Hospital, the Southeast Produce Council and Society of St. Andrew are hosting a Community Resource Fair where attendees can gather resources from different agencies tabling the event. Agencies present at the Resource Fair provide services ranging from food as medicine literature, mental health, food assistance, family support, legal services, and much more. It is a free event to attend, including a major drive-through food distribution (made possible by SEPC members).

SEPC members who are interested in volunteering or donating products, please contact Kelly Stainner at or (863)224-0472 to coordinate.

Date: Friday, July 21, 2023

Volunteer Time: 7:30 am - 1:30 pm

Location: 3780 Eisenhower Parkway, Macon, GA 31206

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.

Thank you to all of our applicants!

The application deadline was April 26, 2024 at 5pm EST.

Recipients will be announced May 20th!

SEPC Member Scholarship Application Info link -

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 was provided beginning March 25th. The application deadline is May 24th at 5pm EST.

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

Nolan Family Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship was established to memorialize Jim Nolan, who took an ethical stand on a business matter at great cost to himself. As a result of his professional ethics, Nolan was ostracized by colleagues and remained isolated in his efforts to maintain moral integrity in his workplace. It would have taken only a few others with the courage to speak out to change the course of events. Tragically, Jim died before the trial that finally vindicated his actions by a judge and a jury of 13 who found in his favor. Our sincere thanks to Theresa Nolan for providing this scholarship to the members of the Southeast Produce Council. She is a lifetime member of the SEPC and is always available to lend a helping hand wherever needed.

Scholarship Details

One college-aged student (graduating high school senior or current college student) will receive a one-time scholarship of $5,000 to their enrolling college/university. The scholarship will be awarded based on GPA (3.0 or higher), references, and quality of essay.

The application can only be submitted online through our link which will be provided beginning May 13, 2024. The application deadline is June 28, 2024 at 5pm EST.

Visit our website for more scholarship information!

Congratulations to Laura Ross of Bonsai Produce for being the first to answer our April SEPC Fruit & Veggie Trivia Question correctly!

MAY Trivia Question

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

Which of the following contains the most vitamin C?

Bell Peppers




May Birthdays

Contact us

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