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FPFC South focuses on ‘Navigating Future’

“Navigating the Future” will be the theme of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Southern California Expo July 15 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. Over 1,500 floral and produce professionals are expected to attend and a capacity crowd of 225 exhibiting companies have reserved 194 booths on the show floor, Carissa Mace, president of the FPFC, told The Produce News.

The keynote speaker will be Capt. Richard Phillips whose ship, the Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. Capt. Phillips was held hostage by the pirates for five days and wrote a 2010 book about his experiences entitled, A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea. His story was the inspiration for the 2013 movie, “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.

Capt. Phillips will speak at the breakfast session about his ordeal at sea and the decisions that both risked and saved his life, according to a council news release.

Also at the breakfast, the FPFC Floral Achievement Award will be presented to recognize an individual who has provided outstanding service and dedication to the floral industry.

Other events at the expo, which will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., include a floral design contest for retail floral clerks, in two experience divisions, creating centerpieces in 40 minutes using a mystery package of materials, and the Best of Show booth award.

Students from local universities and their mentors will be guests on the expo floor, learning about the floral and produce industries and meeting FPFC members as part of the Career Pathways Program of the Produce Marketing Association’s Foundation for Industry Talent.

At the end of the expo, all exhibitors’ remaining floral product will be donated to senior centers and schools for disabled children and food product remaining will be donated to the Orange County Food Bank.

The FPFC was established in 1965 and its four-member staff plans over 16 events a year from its offices in La Mirada, CA. Rich VanValkenburg, retired director of produce for Ralph’s Grocery Co., is chairman of the council.