From the Executive Director’s Desk

September 20th 2018

by Vicki Reich

It’s hard to believe that in two short weeks from the time I’m writing this we will be gathered in Hood River for the Annual Provender Educational Conference.  The months of hard work many of us have put into the conference will start to pay off as we educate and inspire each other.

This year marks my twelfth conference and the second conference I’ve coordinated.  Every year I feel the same way Troy did after his first conference when he thought “I can’t wait until next year” and now next year is upon us and I truly can’t wait to see everyone.

I’m also excited to find out how attendees like the changes we’ve made this year.  We’ll start off Wednesday night with a new cocktail party/Meet and Greet featuring food and beverage selections from small farms and producers, then, after dinner, we will educate each other during the first ever ProvX, a combination of an informal Ted Talk and open mic night (sign up now for a spot on stage).  On Thursday, Meet Your Makers will be in the Gorge Room for the first time.  We have 34 exhibitors and there is more room and more time to wander around and find out about why these makers do what they do.  Thursday night we’ve planned what we hope is the best scavenger hunt you’ve participated in since you were a kid.

And last but certainly not least, is our new conference app.  I hope those of you who are coming to the conference get time to download the app and play around on it before you arrive.  We are using the app in lieu of the paper program, but it contains so much more information than the paper program ever could.  Lay out your schedule before you arrive and make appointments to see old friends and colleagues ahead of time.  Find your workshop room quickly and see who is at each table in Meet Your Makers so you don’t miss a company you really want to talk to.  Find out more about our incredibly important sponsors and give feedback to the generous donors to the Snack Room.  Fill out workshop evaluations quickly (and still get a raffle ticket for doing it) and post pictures of what you are learning.  Download the presentations that you attend and the ones you had to miss, plus have the contact information for speakers right in the palm of your hand.  Even those of you who aren’t coming to the conference will get a glimpse of what’s going on by following our Social Media Feed on the website, which is made possible through the app.  And don’t worry if you don’t have a smart phone or tablet, we can get you set up with the website version of the app and we will have paper versions of the schedule available at the registration desk.

As you can see, there is so much to look forward to and there is still time to register if you haven’t yet.

I look forward to seeing many of you soon!