The theme of ISGA’s 2016 Convention was diversity. The convention did not disappoint. There was a lot of diversity—commercial sprout growers and suppliers of goods and services to the sprout industry came from Asia, Australia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, and the European Union to share their ideas, knowledge and experiences with each other. Some growers were regional in size and others had businesses with branches on two or more continents. Attendees also included those who promote sprouting and those who supply sprout consumers with seeds, sprouts and equipment for growing sprouts.
The convention provided a place and time for attendees to come together. They learned about new ways of dealing with the challenge of sprout safety, were informed of new products and services and had the opportunity to meet, socialize and network with others in the sprout industry–all of this in beautiful Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
One of the presentations was a memorial to Steve “Sproutman” Meyerowitz who died in an auto accident in September 2015. Those present learned about Steve’s dedication to and promotion of healthy living and sprouting from his sons, Noah and Ari, who showed pictures of “Sproutman” which spanned decades .
Other presentations provided valuable information to attendees in the following areas: nutrition, FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, biological means of controlling dangerous pathogens, safety training for commercial sprout growers, and a comprehensive presentation about the challenges and opportunities of building the organic seed sector. Presentations in PDF format are in the membership area of the ISGA website. To access them, click “conventions” in the membership area, then select the 2016 convention under the “conventions” heading. If you were an attendee, but are not an ISGA member, contact the ISGA Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a presentation.
There were two panels: a Marketing Panel and a Seed Supply Panel. The Marketing Panel was moderated by Carmen Wakeling of Eat More Sprouts & Greens. Those who sat on the panel were Liz Reilley of Jonathans Sprouts, Stijn Baan of Koppert Cress, and Sprout Brothers, Noah and Ari Meyerowitz. A discussion of changes between marketing in the past and present led into a discussion of social media and its impact on the companies represented by the panelists. A discussion centering the questions “what is your passion?” and “what is the most important message to take back to sprout consumers” also took place.
The Seed Supply Panel was moderated by Marialice Galt. Those who sat on the panel were Ray Jones of ISS, Maggie Mumm of Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds, Corey Caudill of Caudill Sprouting, and Hilde Mazereeuw of Rijk Zwaan.
Attendees got a view of what is involved in a DNA extraction analysis during a tour of a local Biome lab.
The convention ended on a less technical note with a tour of El Yunque Rainforest, a biologically diverse area with hundreds of species of plants and animals, and cascading waterfalls and nature trails.