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The 84th Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention & Trade Show is aptly themed "Produce: Powered by People." Melanie Richer, senior manager of marketing and communications, said that CPMA is anticipating record- breaking crowds at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The convention begins May 6 with registration and the annual general meeting, and concludes the evening of May 8 with the annual banquet reception and dinner.

"We are hoping to have over 4,000 participants," Ms. Richer told The Produce News. The CPMA web site indicates, "Attendees include all major stakeholders in the produce supply chain, with one of three visitors representing the retail-wholesale and foodservice sectors."

The boutique-style event is among Canada's larger dedicated to the fresh produce industry. Exhibitors from Canada, the United States, Central America, South America, Mexico, Asia, Australia and New Zealand will showcase their products and services. The venue offers a unique opportunity for attendees to communicate, network and enhance their bottom lines. "We're expecting this to be one of the best shows ever," Ms. Richer stated. "There will be lots to see and lots to participate in."

CPMA's staff will be available onsite to talk with attendees about the organization, its mission and priorities, and will provide assistance to visitors as may be required.

Adrian Abbott, marketing services manager for B.C. Tree Fruits Ltd. in Kelowna, BC, will be formally inducted as CPMA's chair for 2009-10, assuming the reins from outgoing chair Beth Pattillo. Recipients of several awards, including The Produce News Fresh Health Award, will also be announced during the convention.

Ms. Richer said that the business sessions are well rounded and designed to give attendees the information they need to conduct their affairs. Two sessions will be held on May 7. The New Labeling Regulations, Product of Canada & CPMA Labeling Tool session will give attendees a snapshot of Canada's changing landscape when it comes to labeling requirements. Working with Gen Y Employees will provide demographic information about up-and-coming young workers and talk about such issues as employee retention and grooming of future leaders.

On May 8, the first session, Doing Business in the US?, will discuss evolving food-safety and security regulations in the United States and give exporters the tools they need to meet the challenge. The second session of the day is Food Safety, Traceability, Buy Local & the Foodservice Experience. The discussion will focus on product traceability within the supply chain and the growing importance of the local marketplace as it affects consumer trends.

A retail tour has also been scheduled for May 8 to a number of retail outlets. CPMA indicated, "Each of the stores selected [is] undergoing extensive renovations to showcase their evolving marketing focus."

Ms. Richer said that keynote speakers at this year's convention will be crowd- pleasers. Michael (Pinball) Clemons, chief executive officer of the Toronto Argonauts and a football legend in his own right, will talk on the subject, My Job is to Provide the Vision. Mr. Clemons, who has a 20-year history with the Argonauts and who was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2008, plans to share his insights about putting "vision into action."

Mike Lipkin, a Toronto-based speaker, author, motivator and persuasion coach, is also president of Environics-Lipkin. He will talk about "a powerful blend of ideas, principles and observations that will help you achieve preeminence one conversation at a time." Mr. Lipkin's newest book, One Life, One Meeting, is hot off the press.

A companion program has been planned and includes several activities on May 7. A guided visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario and a luncheon at the historic Distillery District will be offered. Following the luncheon, participants will be able to tour the district and venture into the local shops. That evening, participants are invited to a kitchen party full of singing and dancing.

CPMA is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Ottawa, ON. The organization's membership includes over 670 Canadian and international members that are responsible for 90 percent of fresh fruit and vegetable sales in the country, contributing an estimated $8 billion (Canadian) to the economy. CPMA's seven priorities are marketing and promotion; networking; food safety; health and nutrition; industry efficiency technology; government trade relations; and education and training.