FOR the first time, Good Fruit & Vegetables had a booth at the trade display within Hort Connections 2021 in Brisbane in June.
While the magazine has covered hundreds of conventions, conferences, shed meetings, annual dinners and workshops over the years, this is the first time (under this editor at least) the magazine has had a visual presence at such an event.
Adding to the excitement was new merchandise - a sponge-front trucker cap, pens and a cheeky bumper sticker. (Incidentally, if you'd like a "Honk if you're horti!" bumper sticker for the farm ute, forklift or family Prado, drop us a line.)
Now that the dust has settled somewhat from the event, it has been rewarding to reflect on the value of having a stand.
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It was an eye-opener to the work involved in designing and executing a booth, which in turn has given a greater appreciation for the work each exhibitor puts in.
Of course, some businesses (perhaps those at the higher end of the market) simply pay a professional outfit to design and physically build the stand.
For many though, setting up a trade display means many trips back and forth to the work vehicle/ute/Tarago packed to the hilt with gear, then trying to figure out how that display banner frame goes together before realising the feet have been left back at head office.
But there is a buzz about it though.
At the "bump in" (ie. set up) of the trade display, exhibitors are enthusiastically laying out displays, lining up brochures and filling lolly bowls with individually-wrapped Mentos.
There is an anticipation about showing off what's new or a redesigned logo or even just meeting the "neighbours" either side of the booth to make a new connection.
It can be stressful as well. With a professional convention centre, safety is paramount and no entry is allowed without high-vis wear, while all electrical cords need to be tested and tagged.
Pulling down an exhibit can be even more tense as a two-hour window is given to have everything out.
Most trade show visitors will have no idea of the effort involved, similar to the way many consumers would have no idea about the effort required to produce a successful crop of vegetables, fruit, nuts or herbs.
The point behind these insights was the fact that the Australian fresh produce industry is highly professional.
Companies involved with the industry know they must put their best on show to engage with growers, marketers and researchers in order to make a sale, create a contact or foster a relationship.
Anyone outside the industry, even those from somewhat "sacred" beef, wool and broadacre sectors would do well to wander through a major horticulture convention to gain an insight into the technology, drive and expenditure that's involved.
There really is plenty of reasons to "honk if you're horti".
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