The Council Connection June 2021


Registration is now open for Southern Innovations 2021 which will be held September 9 – 11 at the Savannah Convention Center in Savannah, GA.

We invite you to discover “What’s New?” within our industry as we reinvigorate Southern Innovations to springboard new product items and technologies into the marketplace. Join us for our annual tradeshow and conference focused on highlighting the latest innovations within the fresh produce industry, from organics and new product developments to technology and unique brand approaches.

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.

Be a part of an event designed by buyers for buyers!

Interested in exhibiting at Southern Innovations?

To reserve your space, please register before July 23, 2021.

Please note that Southern Innovations allows eight (8) booth associates as part of the exhibitor registration. To maintain our intimate space, additional booth associates will not be allowed. All exhibitor registrations require approval.

Southern Innovations Digital Toolkit Now Available!

The SEPC is pleased to provide you with our newest digital toolkit. We hope you will take advantage of these digital tools available for you as you prepare to join us in Savannah for Southern Innovations! Customize each graphic for your company's booth number and information.

Email Signature: right click to save
Facebook: right click to save
Instagram: right click to save
Linked In: right click to save
Twitter: right click to save

Short for “Learning, Interacting and Networking with Key players in the Supply Chain,” LINKS is an educational leadership program where exceptional Southeastern growers and shippers can connect with Retail/Foodservice providers in the region in a non-competitive environment. By enhancing each side’s understanding of the retail supply chain, we can facilitate our mutual goals to better service consumers and drive Southeastern produce consumption. The SEPC will provide a meeting space at Southern Innovations to participating Retail/Foodservice members who facilitate the program with invited Growers and Shippers.

LINKS Reservation Options for SEPC Retail/Foodservice members*

  • LINKS Meeting Platform Options: Onsite LINKS Meeting | Virtual LINKS Meeting within the SEPC Virtual Garden
  • LINKS Meeting Description Options: LINKS Meeting(s) with Grower/Shipper Companies (Note: if hosting onsite, due to safety precautions, we recommend hosting separate individual meetings with member companies) | Internal Company Meeting
  • A La Carte Menu: A/V options (projector/screen & PA system) | Food & Beverage Service (at reserving company's expense)

*LINKS Meeting Reservations must be submitted/approved through SEPC by August 9th to ensure we have ample time to accommodate your meeting setup needs.


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.

Join us in the garden for our upcoming session: June 22nd – SEPC University Educational Session: Workplace vs. Workspace

In case you missed them, several sessions are already available on demand and are now located on January 1, 2021 within the schedule!

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!


We are now accepting nominations for our Next Generation Award. Nominations will only be accepted for SEPC members 39 years or younger who have been employed in the produce industry for at least four years and have made a significant contribution to the industry.

To qualify for the Next Generation Award, members must also be in “Good Standing” with the SEPC through regular attendance and contributions to our council (SEPC member companies who are in “Good Standing” may nominate an employee who is not currently on the active SEPC membership role).

NOTE: Neither SEPC employees or contractors or their immediate family are eligible for the award. The term “immediate family” includes spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren, whether as “in-laws”, or by current or past marriage(s), adoption, cohabitation or other family extension, and other persons residing at the same household, whether or not related.


Community Updates


The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life Superhero Sprint tradition returns at a new location with the option to participate either in-person or virtually. Join us for a 5K and 1 mile 'fun run' event on Saturday, June 5, 2021. This family event at Suwanee Town Center will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Strong4Life movement, dedicated to reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity and its associated diseases in Georgia.

We invite you to join our team as we support this super benefit, and as an SEPC member, family member, employee, or co-worker, you will receive free registration and a complimentary t-shirt. Search for the "Southeast Produce Council" team when registering and use discount code sepc2021 (lowercase) to receive free registration.

Or if you aren’t up for the run, but would like to help out, we encourage you to make a donation to this worthy cause. Your tax-deductible donations go towards helping children and their families that need a little hope.


For the past few years, Southeast Produce Council has been the Title Sponsor of the Strong4Life Superhero Sprint and gives away fresh, free produce to event attendees.

We encourage any SEPC members who'd like to volunteer to meet us at Suwanee Town Center (located at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and Buford Highway in Suwanee, Georgia) around 6:00 am Saturday morning.

We’re thankful for the generous support and hope that you all are able to join us! Please contact Southeast Produce Council at info@seproducecouncil.com or 877-720-SEPC (7372) if you have any questions.

Our featured charitable partner for June is Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children where children’s health and well-being are at the heart of what they do every day.

For more than 30 years, families have been able to find an environment where healing and hope are inspired by the fearless spirits of the kids they treat; where you’ll enjoy the most advanced technology, Central Florida’s only pediatric Level One Trauma Center and ED, and compassionate doctors, nurses, and staff who have your child’s health as their top priority.

We are honored to partner with them in many ways, including their annual Walk For Winnie fundraising event.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have gained valuable insight into SEPC’s theme for 2021 – Produce: Powered by People. The produce industry has been deemed essential during this pandemic, and whether companies are serving from the fields or delivering to our tables we have all felt the tremendous impact. We would love for you to share how you have witnessed essential workers from your company or others within our industry who have risen above the challenges to make a difference in the communities we serve.

Share your support of Produce: Powered by People!


We are now taking applications for our 2022 STEP-UPP Class.

STEP-UPP gives Retail and Foodservice produce professionals a greater understanding of the industry through an emphasis on strategic orientation, personal leadership, and hands-on field experience. Twelve (12) individuals are selected through an application and interview process based on leadership experience and interest in developing a career in fresh produce. Potential candidates must be active members of SEPC.

Recipients of the SEPC Member Scholarship will each receive a scholarship of $1,000 towards their educational goals for the upcoming school year. The SEPC is proud to have awarded 53 scholarships ($53,000) in 2021 thanks to the dedication of our members.

Congratulations to our 2021 SEPC Member Scholarship recipients!

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.


2021-2022 SEPC Annual Membership

Join the SEPC Today and Thrive

As an SEPC member, you’ll join a diverse group of like-minded produce professionals, from farmers to distributors and retailers to chefs. It’s about growing your knowledge, sharpening your skills, sharing your passion with others, and enjoying what makes this corner of the country extra special: its long tradition of bringing people together through food that is grown, distributed, and cooked with love.

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.

Interested in becoming an SEPC Sponsor?

We thank you for your support and look forward to boosting your business in return.

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


Congratulations to Clark Roper of Piggly Wiggly for being the first to answer our May SEPC Fruit & Veggie Trivia Question correctly!

June Trivia Question


This royal fruit stops ripening naturally once it’s picked; however, placing it “topsy-turvy” on its crown is a clever trick to help it sweeten a bit more at home.

Can you name it?

Contact us

315 Hwy 17 North | Millen, GA 30442 | 877.720.SEPC (7372) | info@seproducecouncil.com