2013 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo

Kristin Coppens

| 2 min read

Michigan is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the country, second only to California in variety of crops. Michigan grows over 300 different commodities, and 98 percent of Michigan farms are family-owned. The industry produces over $90 billion towards the state’s economy and employs almost 1 million different individuals.
As the Grand Rapids local farm-to-table movement strengthens its’ foothold on the region, farmers, markets, restaurants, and the community work together on partnerships and city initiatives. Additionally, the city has become a real contender in hosting conferences and expos internationally recognized.
Another notch on the city’s belt, the 2013 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo takes place December 10th to December 12th at DeVos Place Convocation Center. The Expo plays host to approximately 4,000 farmers and agricultural professionals from over 42 states and 7 Canadian provinces.
Over the course of the 3-day expo, attendees will participate in informational sessions and workshops, tours, and trade show with 380 exhibitors. With over 75 different educational sessions, participants have the opportunity to learn and gain knowledge over just about every facet of the industry. The goal will be to prepare growers and agricultural professionals for the next growing season.
Educational sessions and workshops cover topics such as: fruit and vegetable pollination, food safety, farm and institution marketing, labor, community food and agricultural systems, technology, and much more. In specialty sessions, attendees can learn more about crops like chestnuts, Christmas trees, hops, organic products, and how to transition to such.
To supplement the educational sessions, attendees can join two different bus tours to statewide farms and markets. The first tour, on December 9th (the day before the expo begins), showcases West Michigan farm markets and engages ideas, opportunities, and challenges. Hosted by Michigan State University Extension, the tour will also share current research projects and aid in new market ideas and partnerships. The second tour day, on December 12th, will highlight West Michigan greenhouses and area markets, including: the Downtown Market, Mast Young Plants, Countryside Greenhouse, Spring Meadow Nursery, and more.
For more information on how to attend the expo, summaries of educational sessions, and experts to anticipate, visit the expo’s main website.
What crops does your Michigan community specialize in?
Photo credit: GLEXPO

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