'Tis the Season of Tradeshows

‘Tis the season… for networking
August 31, 2017
Written by
September 2017 – It’s the trade show/conference season, the chance to review the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. Or will soon be offering.


There’s so much to absorb. Attending them is the best investment you’ll make this year.

It’s all about life-long learning. Socrates described education as “the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

My journalism career began on an Underwood typewriter (about the weight of a small pleasure craft anchor) and an antique 35mm camera that had manual shutter speed, focus and aperture control. I can now use a wafer-thin iPad to do these jobs – writing and photography – and post a feature to our website within minutes of an interview. The technology improvements in publishing over the past 39 years have been impressive.

The technological changes in greenhouse horticulture have been equally impressive. And growers have been equal to the task in mastering the new systems.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates. “The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

Trade shows are essential events for growers. For many, it all begins here. The latest technologies, processes and varieties are showcased, and the employees manning the booths are all leading specialists in their fields. If you’re having a problem with a crop or production system, there’s a solution or two on every trade show floor.

The same goes for conferences. It’s one thing to read about something new in a magazine or online, but to be able to talk to a speaker about the latest system or trend or plant takes it to the next level.

Conference attendance trends indicate growers are eager to learn about the latest products, services, varieties, challenges, regulations and opportunities. Numbers have been rising.

The Canadian Greenhouse Conference (Oct. 4-5, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls) is one of the largest events of its kind in North America. The speaker program easily compares with any other conference, registration fees are probably the lowest on the continent, and the trade show sells out pretty much every year.

The regional shows also offer great value – relatively low admission fees, leading edge educational sessions, and one-stop shopping in the trade show. Among shows to check out this season would be:
  • Saskatchewan Green Trades Conference and Tradeshow (Nov. 7-9 in Saskatoon).
  • Expo FIHOQ     (Nov. 15-17 in Drummondville).
  • Green Industry Show & Conference (Nov. 16-17 in Calgary).
A key ingredient of all shows is the networking. And it’s not just with the company specialists or session speakers, but with fellow growers. This has always been an industry eager to share information and to help when asked.

“You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative,” said author Walter Lippmann. “The jolliest steamroller will not plant flowers.”


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