December 4-6, 2012, Grand Rapids, MI

The Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo will be held December 4-6, 2012, in conjunction with the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo at DeVos Place and the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Great Lakes Expo is sponsored by the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Michigan Vegetable Council, in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension. The Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo is sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association and the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association, in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension.

In 2011, 4,000 people from 42 states and six Canadian provinces attended the event. This year, it will feature 71 education sessions and workshops over three days, covering fruit and vegetable commodities, greenhouse production and marketing, farm marketing ideas and issues, and general topics of special interest to growers. The trade show, with 380-plus exhibitors, will cover 4 acres of exhibit space. There will be a preconference bus tour for farm marketers and a bus tour for greenhouse growers.

Farm Market Bus Tour

The fifth annual Farm Market Bus Tour will be held on Monday, December 3, the day before the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo opens. Last year’s tour attracted participants from 15 states and Canada. In 2012, attendees will visit six top farm market and agritourism locations in southwest Michigan. The tour is sponsored by the Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News, with support from the Michigan Agri-Tourism Association.

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 projects 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 transportation to the farm market stops, lunch and snacks.

Greenhouse Bus Tour

Four of west Michigan’s leading greenhouse firms will be visited on the Greenhouse Bus Tour. This is a special event at the 2012 Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo. The tour will take place on Thursday, December 6. It will be an all-day tour, departing the convention site at 8:30 a.m. and returning around 3 p.m.

Consider joining other greenhouse growers on this tour to see retail, wholesale and propagation businesses that are energy-efficient, mechanized operations that grow high-quality plants for the marketplace. Greenhouses to be visited include Romence Gardens in Grand Rapids, Pell Greenhouses in Hudsonville, and Walters Gardens, Inc. and Meadow Ridge Greenhouses in Zeeland.

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.


Registration covers admission to the trade show and to all education sessions offered by both conferences (the Farm Business Transition Workshop on Thursday requires an additional registration fee).

For the convenience of those arriving in Grand Rapids the day before the conferences open, early registration will be open on Monday, December 3, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. During the conferences, registration will open at 7 a.m. each day.

Education Program

Morning education sessions start at 9 a.m. each day. Afternoon sessions start at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Many of the sessions will offer recertification credits for private and commercial pesticide applicators and continuing education units for certified crop advisers.

All sessions and workshops offered in the education programs of the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo and the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo will be open to all attendees (except for the OFA Greenhouse Workshop, which requires an additional fee). A multitude of topics will be covered in presentations by university researchers and extension specialists from Michigan State University and many other universities and research stations across the United States and Canada. There will also be presentations by growers, farm marketers and others involved with fruit, vegetable and greenhouse production and marketing.

2012 Special Events

  • Farm Market Bus Tour
  • Industry Luncheon
  • Midwest Pickle Association: Pickle & Pepper Research Committee for MSU
  • Michigan State Horticultural Society Annual Meeting
  • Meet the Buyers Reception
  • Michigan Agri-Tourism Association Gathering
  • Michigan Apple Growers Luncheon
  • Michigan Vegetable Council Annual Meeting
  • Expo Banquet
  • and more…

For registration information, contact Erin Fontana, registration manager, Association Management Resources, 1390 Eisenhower, Ann Arbor, MI 48108; call 734-677-0503; fax 734-677-2407; email; or visit