December 10-12, 2013

Trade Show Hours

Tuesday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo will be held December 10-12, 2013, at the DeVos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. Some of the special events will be held in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. DeVos Place features 4 acres of exhibit space. In 2012, nearly 400 companies exhibited, taking 748 booth spaces.

The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo will again be held concurrently with the Great Lakes Expo, bringing in many new companies and members.

The combined membership for the 2012 convention was just under 4,000. The membership is not only from Michigan; people from 40 other states and six provinces of Canada, as well as members from other international countries, attended last year. This convention brings together tree fruit, bramble, grape, vegetable and greenhouse growers, as well as all types of farm marketers.

There will be over 400 companies located in the exhibit hall. In addition to the trade show, concurrent educational sessions will take place. Members can attend and learn about many topics, including new products and better growing techniques. This year, there will again be greenhouse-related topics and bus tours. For more information, visit


Registration admits you to the trade show and all education sessions offered by the Great Lakes Expo and the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo (except the greenhouse workshop on Thursday, which requires an additional fee). For the convenience of those arriving in Grand Rapids the day before the conferences open, registration will be open on Monday, December 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. During the conferences, registration will open at 7:30 a.m. each day. Registration will be open until 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and until noon on Thursday. The registration area will be located in the Grand Gallery of DeVos Place.

A special registration fee of $40 is available for admission to the trade show and education sessions on Thursday. This is good for Thursday only. If you preregister for this reduced rate and decide to attend on Tuesday or Wednesday, you will have to pay the full on-site registration fee.

For additional registration information, contact Jim McClure, registration manager, Association Management Resources, at 734-677-0503 or


Monday, December 9

All dayFarm Market Bus Tour

4 – 6 p.m.Expo Registration

Tuesday, December 10

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.Expo Registration

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Trade Show

9 – 11 a.m.Education Program

11 a.m. – 4 p.m.Midwest Pickle Association/Pickle & Pepper Research Committee

11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Grape Industries Luncheon & Discussion

12 – 1:30 p.m.Industry Luncheon

2 – 4 p.m.Education Program

4:15 p.m.MSHS Annual Meeting

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.Fruit Variety Showcase

4:30 – 6:30 p.m.Meet the Buyers Reception

4:30 – 6:30 p.m.Michigan Floriculture Growers Council Reception & Annual Meeting

5 – 6 p.m.Michigan Agri-Tourism Association Gathering

6 p.m.Farm Market Roundtable

Wednesday, December 11

7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.Expo Registration

7 a.m.Prayer Breakfast

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.Trade Show

9 – 11 a.m.Education Program

11:15 a.m.MVC Annual Meeting

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.Michigan Apple Growers Luncheon

2 – 4 p.m.Education Program

6:30 p.m.Expo Banquet

Thursday, December 12

7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.Expo Registration

8 – 9 a.m.Tasting of the Winning Ciders

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.Greenhouse Bus Tour

8 a.m. – 1 p.m.Trade Show

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.Education Program

1 – 4 p.m.Education Program

3:30 – 5 p.m.MOFFA Annual Meeting

Farm Market Bus Tour

The sixth annual Farm Market Bus Tour will be held on Monday, December 9, the day before the Great Lakes Expo opens. Last year’s tour filled three buses and attracted farm marketers from 18 states and four Canadian provinces. In 2013, attendees will visit six top farm market and agritourism locations in southwest Michigan. The tour stops are all different from past tours.

The Farm Market Bus Tour is a great opportunity to network with other farm marketers, learn new marketing tips and discuss strategies. While traveling on the buses between stops, there will be interactive discussions to share information and research findings with others on the tour, which will be moderated by Michigan State University Extension educators.

The cost of the tour is $155 per person. This includes lunch and snacks. If you register after November 15, the cost is $179 and subject to availability.

Greenhouse Bus Tour

Participants will visit three of west Michigan’s leading greenhouse operations and the new Grand Rapids Downtown Market on the Greenhouse Bus Tour. This is a special event at the 2013 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo. The tour will take place on Thursday, December 12. It will be an all-day tour, departing the convention site at 8:30 a.m. and returning by 3:30 p.m.

Consider joining other greenhouse industry growers on this tour to see retail, wholesale and propagation operations that grow high-quality plants for the marketplace. Greenhouses to be visited include Mast Young Plants, Grand Rapids; Spring Meadow Nursery, Grand Haven; Countryside Greenhouse, Allendale; and the Downtown Market, Grand Rapids.

The cost of the tour is $79 per person. This includes transportation to the greenhouse stops, lunch and refreshments. A minimum of 20 participants will be needed for this event to occur.

Industry Luncheon

The present and future of agricultural teaching, research and extension will be the focus of this year’s luncheon program, scheduled for Tuesday, December 10. Key leaders from Michigan State University, led by Fred Poston, dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture & Natural Resources (CANR), will listen to comments and answer questions from those attending a “town hall” discussion of where things are now and what’s ahead for the college, the experiment station (AgBioResearch) and extension. Also participating in the discussion will be Doug Buhler, director of AgBioResearch; Tom Coon, director of MSU Extension; and Kelly Millenbah, CANR’s associate dean and director of academic and student affairs. Tickets are $25 and available through preregistration only.

Meet the Buyers Reception

Fruit and vegetable growers will have an opportunity to connect with retail, wholesale and institutional buyers at this event to learn how to get more of their fresh produce into the value chain and onto store shelves. Scheduled for Tuesday, December 10, this event is hosted by Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) in partnership with the MSU Product Center and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, with support from a number of industry sponsors. More than 400 farmers attended this popular event last year. A Pre-Meet the Buyers workshop will be offered on Tuesday morning for growers wanting suggestions on how to maximize this opportunity to meet and connect with buyers.