Created by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association as a pilot program,
the Passion for Produce program provides rising stars within the produce
industry the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the supply chain
through mentorship and participation in various events.
Passion for Produce is meant as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for
participants to learn about the produce industry in an interactive setting while
receiving an education on key aspects of the produce supply chain from field
As part of their ongoing commitment to the produce industry in Canada, the
association launched this brand new mentor-driven pilot project at its 85th
annual convention and trade show, held in May in Vancouver, BC.
Eleven candidates were nominated by members of the CPMA's directorship
and participated in the inaugural Passion for Produce experience: Ryan Fisher
and Gord Morrison of B.C. Tree Fruit Ltd.; Kiran Parghi of The Oppenheimer
Group; Jeff Phung of Loblaws Cos. Ltd.; Matthew MacEwan of The Ippolito
Group; Vaughn Smith of Thomas Fresh Inc.; Kyle Moynahan of J-D Marketing
(Leamington) Inc.; Melissa Vaughan of King's Produce Ltd.; Shaun Doo of
Walmart Canada Corp.; Nikki McKnight of C.H. Robinson Co. (Canada) Ltd.;
and Alex Monette of Courchesne Larose Ltd.
During their three days together, the candidates, led by Bev Appleby, the
association's manager of standardization and government relations, attended
CPMA's trade show and spent time with industry leading volunteer mentors,
including Eric Biddiscombe and Larry Kieswetter of Loblaw Cos.; Ron Turner of
Nova Agri; Ghislain Perron of Metro Inc.; and Wayne McKnight of McKnight's
Insights & Solutions Inc.
The program also gave the candidates the opportunity to attend various
related events, such as CPMA's Awards Brunch and entertainment events, a
retail tour and guided tours of the Windset Farms, and Loblaw's distribution
center facilities near Vancouver.
These off-site visits offered a great opportunity to experience the field-to-
fork theme of the Passion for Produce program.
As a pilot project, the Passion for Produce program has been very successful.
The candidates who participated in the program are expected to receive
recognition of service from the employers, positive motivation that is
leadership based, increased produce industry knowledge within and outside
the scope of their current role, and personal development opportunities that
build on current leadership skill sets.
The CPMA is now gathering information about the pilot and feedback from its
participants to determine the next steps for the Passion for Produce program.
"We are looking forward to what the Passion for Produce program might have
in store for the next generation of our industry," said Mr. Biddiscombe, who
is also the CPMA's education committee chair and PFP mentor.