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The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) said yesterday that its annual Fresh Summit, scheduled for October 13-15 in Dallas, now will be run as a virtual event.

PMA CEO Cathy Burns explained:  “Out of our utmost concern for the personal health, safety, and wellbeing of our guests, event partners, and staff – as well as after thoroughly reviewing responses from Fresh Summit attendees, exhibitors, and buyers regarding their comfort, willingness, and ability to travel this fall, and analyzing trends from state, federal and global health authorities.  It became abundantly clear that we could not hold a conference in Dallas as planned.”

“The world has correctly deemed our products and industry as essential,” she added. “Fresh Summit will continue, and like every year, provides an opportunity for our global members to grow their businesses, celebrate the industry, and look to the future.”

KC's View:

No surprise here.

I've actually had some experience with this stuff over the past few months, and am in the process of getting more.  One thing I think I have learned is that you cannot simply take a physical format and run it online … you have to fundamentally reshape it, with lots of short segments that give people the ability to drop in and out, because that's what they're going to do anyway.

And make it fun.  One of the best things about the "De-invest to Reinvest" online conference was that it had a musical act - the Struts, who were terrific, and even offered a business message about adapting to pandemic realities.