MONTEREY, Calif. — As regenerative agriculture is reshaping the production of how food is grown, a panel of large-scale organic growers will discuss their involvement with this new method of growing and what it may mean for the future of organic fresh produce at the sixth annual Organic Produce Summit.
Regenerative Ag 101: Is Regenerative the “New” Organic? will feature experts from four of the most progressive specialty crop growers in the nation offering their insight on growing regenerative crops, the future of regenerative production, and how the retail community may manage and market these items to consumers.
Moderated by Shelby Layne, director of environmental social governance for Bolthouse Farms, the session will include the following panelists: Eric Morgan, vice president environmental science and resources for Braga Fresh Family Farms; T. Bruce Taylor, vice president of organic for Taylor Farms; and Vernon Peterson, owner of Abundant Harvest Organics.
Regenerative agriculture has been described as an alternative means of producing food, which advocates claim lowers environmental and social impacts. Regenerative organic agriculture prioritizes soil health and also includes high standards for animal welfare and worker fairness. The idea is to create farm systems that work in harmony with nature to improve the quality of life of every creature involved.
“The word regenerative has become part of the everyday vocabulary of many in the organic fresh produce industry. Despite the widespread attention it has been receiving, there is no legal or regulatory definition of what the term means—or what the ramifications and implications of regenerative mean for producers, as well as consumers who purchase the products,” said Susan Canales, President of OPS. “This session is designed to be a first step in helping the industry better understand what regenerative means, how it’s different from organic, and what regenerative products mean for retailers and consumers.”
OPS 2022 is a two-day event specifically designed to bring together organic fresh produce growers, shippers, and processors with retail and buying organizations from across North America. The sixth annual event will be held July 13-14 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, CA.
In addition to the educational session on regenerative agriculture, other ed sessions slated for OPS 2022 will explore controlled environment agriculture (CEA), branded vs. private label organic offerings, sustainability across the supply chain, organic sales data (from the first half of 2022), and the impact of inflation on consumer purchasing behavior.
OPS 2022 will feature three keynote presentations for OPS attendees. In the first, John Ruane, senior vice president and chief omnichannel merchandising officer for The GIANT Company, will discuss The Growth of Omnichannel Merchandising That’s Driving Retail Sales and how consumers will spend more and become more loyal to a brand with an effective omnichannel merchandising and marketing program.
In the second keynote presentation, David Katz, founder of Plastic Bank, will share how the world’s most progressive companies are stewarding the collection of ocean-bound plastic waste and empowering communities to thrive.
The third keynote, The Future of Grocery Retailing, will be moderated by Walter Robb, principal of Stonewall Robb Advisors, senior executive partner at S2G Ventures, and former co-CEO of Whole Foods. Joining the conversation will be Karen Christensen, senior vice president of merchandising for perishables for Whole Foods, and Madhavi Reese, vice president of marketing for Whole Foods. Featuring candid commentary, this insightful and informative conversation between a trio of respected industry leaders will discuss how Whole Foods is addressing supply chain issues, the role of technology and e-commerce, consumer shopping behavior, new formats, and innovations in grocery retailing.
OPS 2022 also includes a selection of field tours for qualified retailers and buyers, a gala opening night reception, and a sold-out trade show floor featuring over 150 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and the globe.
More information will be made available in the coming weeks as the event’s program becomes finalized. Registration to attend OPS 2022 is available at www.organicproducesummit.com.
–Organic Produce Summit