WHILST COVID-19 has changed the way the East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days (EGVID) will be attended in 2020, the data, the insights and the learnings will certainly not be lost.
The organising committee, in collaboration with a supportive group of sponsors and industry bodies is busy building a digital engagement plan that will bring people from all over the country into a virtual experience on site, through the creation of videos, webinars and live streaming.
Like many events in these unprecedented disruptive times, EGVID is maximising the opportunity to reach and connect with people and industry online.
An award-winning horticulture event in 2017 that attracted almost 1000 growers and industry people to the East Gippsland village of Lindenow, it is regarded as one of the best of its kind for showcasing innovative practices, sharing new trends and networking.
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But the networking will take on a different vibe this time.
EGVID director, Andrew Bulmer, said connecting with the grow site from afar via phones and computers is a new field for everyone, but he looks positively at the upside of being able to reach people who might not have ordinarily travelled to the region.
"Whilst nothing can replace the impact of walking onsite, touching the crops and talking face to face, by hosting a wide range of content online, as well as live streaming when those crops are at their planned peak on the 7th and 8th of May, ironically, we are likely to reach thousands more," Mr Bulmer said.
"This engagement strategy could very well set a new benchmark for how field days like this can create evergreen content that is used as an valuable resource well after the grow site is finished."
The event attracts significant support from many of Australia leading seed and ag-chem companies, and leading industry organisations and everyone is working together to make it a success in these unprecedented times of change and disruption.
EGVID co-director, Stuart Grigg, is confident that the trials will still deliver significant benefit to the industry.
"With planting of long-and-short cycle vegetable crops just about complete and agricultural chemical and fertiliser trials all established, we know that we will have valuable information to share as we live stream, and we're working hard on the best way to capture all the data and insights in an easy and engaging video format that can be accessed for many years to come," he said.
"We want to share learnings and innovative practices, as well as showcase the collaboration with key industry stakeholders, including the ten seed companies - South Pacific Seeds, Fairbank Seeds, Terranova Seeds, HM.Claiuse Pacific, Seminis, BASF Vegetable Seeds (Nunhem's), Rijk Zwaan, Lefroy Valley Seeds, Enza Zaden and Bejo Australia - and nine agricultural chemical companies - Corteva, Syngenta Australia, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, BioFlora, Biostart, Omnia, Nufarm, Stoller and Sumitomo, " Mr Grigg said.
There are also ongoing discussions about the Tenth International Spinach Conference still being held in the Southern Hemisphere, with options being considered about the how, where and when, post COVID-19.
More details will be available soon about how to make a virtual connection with the East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days, as the committee works with industry to find the most effective and accessible home for the video resources.