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Industry NewsCanadian produce convention recognizes industry contributions

Canadian produce convention recognizes industry contributions

The 2023 Outstanding Women in Produce recipients with Senator Rob Black, a CPMA 2021 Produce Champion, centre. From left: Leona Neill, Red Sun Farms; Emily Murracas, Mucci Farms; Evelyne Rivard, The Little Potato Company; Audrey Desnoyers, Oppy; Rochelle Sardinha, Gambles Group of Companies; Haley Cookson, Save-On-Foods; Liron Meschel, Sobeys; Amanda Knauff, Taylor Farms; Ramila Mudarth, Loblaw Companies. Missing from the image is honouree Melanie Wilson, IGA in Nipawin, Sask.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) recognized individuals for efforts supporting the produce industry during the 2023 CPMA Convention and Trade Show held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. On April 26, the CPMA, in conjunction with Grocery Business, celebrated the achievements of women in the industry during the 2023 Outstanding Women in Produce reception. Several others were presented during the Awards Brunch on April 27.

CPMA and Grocery Business launched the recognition program in 2021 to honour the women who work in retail and on the supply side of the produce industry whose contributions have helped the industry grow. The recipients are nominated by industry peers.

Attendees at the Outstanding Women in Produce reception
Larry Bonikowsky, publisher and content director, Grocery Business
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Sam Silvestro, senior director, Walmart Canada.

Silvestro has been working in the industry for forty years. He is currently an executive consultant for national brands and has previously held senior roles at Sobeys and Walmart Canada, including special projects manager, director of produce, and director of merchandising. He has been involved in a number of government committees on food safety and the import and export of food products and also served on several boards including CPMA and Ontario Produce Marketing Association.

Sam Silvestro, Walmart Canada, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, with Mike Eckers, Vineland Growers Co-op
  • Young Professional Award: Greg Palmer, procurement director, Loblaw Companies

He joined Loblaw in 2022 and comes from a recent stint as a performer in an Ottawa dinner show called “Oh Canada Eh?” Before that, he worked at Costco for over six years; his most recent prior role there was assistant buyer.

Greg Palmer, procurement director, Loblaw Companies

Other awards during the CPMA Convention and Trade Show:

  • Fresh Health Award: Mucci Farms
  • Best Snackable Product: Naturipe Farms
  • Best Organic Product: Mastronardi Produce
  • Best Packaging Innovation: Cascades
  • Best New Product: Nature Fresh Farms

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