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IFPA grows membership, advocacy bases for produce and floral community

International Fresh Produce Association officially opened its doors on Jan. 1 and the association is quickly making its new name known throughout the industry and within influential circles involved in policy making and consumer media.  

“It’s been almost a year since we first shared the news of our intention to bring together United Fresh and PMA to form a new association to serve our  industry,” said Co-CEO Tom Stenzel. “We worked diligently to ensure that our members’ needs and voices were front and center as we created this new organization. We knew that our success would be measured by our members, and I am very appreciative of the support we have seen from the industry.” 

Co-CEOs Cathy Burns and Tom Stenzel launched a call for member volunteers to help drive industry priorities in a variety of areas. Since that call to action, the industry has responded in force, with more than 1,000 volunteers stepping forward to  serve the IFPA and industry on more than 32 committees. 

This diverse group of volunteers will provide insight and leadership across a wide range of committees and councils, including groups focused on retail, foodservice, food safety and also the country councils in Brazil, Chile, Southern Africa and more. 

The strong industry support is reflected in other areas including membership growth, of both new and returning members and early program participation. IFPA opened Early Bird Booth Applications for the Global Produce & Floral Show and by the end of the application period, more than 290,000 square feet of expo show floor was sold. The Global Produce & Floral Show will take place in Orlando from Oct. 27-29 and will convene the entire global produce and floral supply chains for three full days of connections and content. The show will be a transformation of the previous PMA and United Fresh legacy events, Fresh Summit and United Fresh’s Convention & Expo. 

“When we launched IFPA, we promised that we would be the association that the industry needed now to address the new and evolving challenges ahead of us,” said Burns.  “This could not have come at a more critical time as industries and consumers alike are experiencing great disruption in areas we’re poised to provide solutions and insights.” 

Providing solutions and insights means developing resources and experiences for the industry, but also serving as an advocate for the industry in non-industry spaces.

In the last month, IFPA staff experts have collaborated with  policy makers in D.C. to share industry needs and recommendations; with national, consumer-facing news outlets (including CNN, Bloomberg, POLITICO, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal); and also connected these same influencing outlets with members and volunteers who can speak directly and expertly on a variety of topics from floral consumer behaviors to the impact of rising transportation costs.  

“The way the industry has welcomed the new association is humbling,” said Stenzel.  “We know we’re not quite ‘new,’ given the long history of United and PMA, but we have promised a new way of serving our members  and the industry. We look forward to continuing to deliver value for our members, and welcome new members as we continue to show how we serve this wonderful community.”

Those interested in being a founding member of the International Fresh Produce Association can visit the website to find more about what to expect as a member and how to join the association and gain immediate access to IFPA’s resources and member benefits.

 

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