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MIAMI — A delegation from the Produce Marketing Association’s Floral Council met here Nov. 8 with about 50 floral industry executives seeking members to join this new arm of the PMA exclusively dedicated to floral.

Michael Schrader of Schnuck Markets in St. Louis, chairman of the Floral Council, announced that to make its debut at the 2013 PMA Fresh Summit, the council has secured a commitment from PMA to dedicate 5,000 square feet of prime floor space within the convention floor just for floral vendors. The 2013 Fresh Summit will run Oct. 18-20 in New Orleans. The floral pavilion will serve as a networking center for floral professionals.

Mr. Schrader was joined by council member Joe Don Zetzsche of H-E-B in San Antonio, TX. Tony Parassio, a senior vice president for PMA, and Becky Roberts of the PMA staff, who serves a variety of the association’s volunteer groups, also attended the two-hour meeting at the Fire Fighters Memorial Building here.

An observer opined that the 30-member Floral Council has a “chicken and egg” problem as it seeks to attract funding through memberships without a program, which cannot be developed until it has funds. The new affiliate is an independent, self-supporting voice “for the industry, by the industry,” as Mr. Schrader put it. It intends to bring together all segments of the industry to help each other with their individual challenges and to give floral more visibility, he added (see “The PMA Floral Council: A call to action for a work in progress,” May 7, 2012, page 68).

The PMA Fresh Summit has traditionally featured produce vendors putting on a dazzling display of everything produce, including packaging and equipment.

Over the years, more and more floral vendors started to appear on the floor, squeezed in somewhere between the peanut butter and asparagus booths.

Then the supermarket floral industry got its own convention, the International Floriculture Expo, initially called the Super Floral Show. That successful show pulled many of the floral vendors away from PMA since they were no longer lost and overshadowed by the big produce vendors. Additionally, the growing number of floral vendors catering to the mass markets created more demand than floor space could accommodate.

Floral has come a long way and PMA has come a long way, too, with a floral affiliate to guide its floral programs and rebuild floral participation in Fresh Summit.

Williee Armellini is editor and owner of the FlowersANDcents website. He can be contacted at