Southeast Produce Council's First STEP-UPP Virtual Classroom was a Success
MILLEN, GA - While virtual classrooms have become the new norm, the knowledge and experience we absorb today is still as important as ever. The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) held its first STEP-UPP Virtual Classroom in the SEPC Virtual Garden this past Wednesday.
“Our first Virtual Classroom day was a huge hit with this year’s class,” said Mike Roberts, Director of Produce Operations for Harps Food Stores. “I cannot say enough how great the content was that the selected companies provided. What was even better was the engagement the class had with each presenter and the hard questions they asked! I think this new session within the SEPC Virtual Garden was another great platform that the SEPC and STEP-UPP can add to educate and invest in the future leaders of our great industry."
STEP-UPP, which stands for Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals, is SEPC’s flagship program which provides retail and foodservice professionals a better understanding of the industry via strategic orientation and hands-on experience.
The virtual session, which took place from 9am until after 3pm, began with a welcome by STEP-UPP Committee Co-Chairs Mike Roberts of Harps Food Stores and Gary Baker of Merchants Distributors, according to a press release, followed by a series of virtual farm and facility tours by industry leaders such as Shenandoah Growers, Shuman Farms, Southern Valley, Fowler Packing, Giumarra Companies, and Chelan Fresh. Following a lunch break, the session then resumed with an informative segment by Adam Lytch of L&M Family of Companies, and culminated with a testing period during which the 10 participating class members answered a series of questions drawn from the virtual tours.
“The SEPC’s first Virtual Classroom was a great experience and day for our STEP-UPP class! I thought it was a great way for these produce professionals to gain knowledge and communicate with our vendor community who gave great presentations,” explained Gary Baker, Senior Director of Fresh at Merchants Distributors. “The level of engagement from each student was a true testament on why these students were selected as members of STEP-UPP. I truly enjoyed the day and look forward to continuing to use this format in the future for other classes.”
The graduation ceremony for the STEP-UPP Class of 2021 will take place at Southern Innovations on September 10 in Savannah, Georgia.
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