The 87th National Fruit show on 22 October will be held online as a ‘virtual’ show and for this year renamed as National Fruit Show Live.
The event will be hosted in partnership with the Fresh Produce Journal and The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, it was announced at the Marden Fruit Show Society's first online AGM this week.
The show will include a series of debates and presentations from policy makers, industry representatives, Nuffield Scholars and leading researchers in top- and soft fruit, as well as viticulture.
In a further development of the partnership, a dedicated National Fruit Show stream will take place within FPJ Live on 6 October, giving further opportunity to discuss key topics of interest to the topfruit industry.
Delivered using the services of the global event company CVent, the 2020 National Fruit show will encompass the latest virtual event software, enabling a fully interactive exhibition hall with virtual stands for all regular attendees. This service includes live meeting rooms, links to websites, company literature downloads and calendar appointment services housed in a company-branded micro site.
Sarah Calcutt, MFSS chair, said: “We are delighted to confirm that Lord Krebs will be with us to deliver the opening address and to open the new-format, one-day show. He will be joined by a cross-industry and parliamentary panel of speakers including Tom Bradshaw, NFU vice-president, to debate the future of British food and farming. Our partnerships with the Fresh Produce Journal and the Fruiterers Livery are such an exciting development for the show; there are many plans in development for a different kind of event that still has the great knowledge and big heart of all of the other 84 fruit shows.”
2020 will only be the third time that the fruit show has not been held face to face; during the Second World War one show was cancelled due to bombing in Marden and another was unable to proceed due to catastrophic frost damage in all major growing areas. The decision to take the show online was not taken lightly and was made after extensive consultation with sponsors, stakeholders and growers, MFSS said.
With the advances in virtual event technology it will be possible to deliver the level of depth of technical knowledge to enable the show to be registered for essential NRoSO and BASIS points, it added.
Chris White, managing director of the Fresh Produce Journal, added: “Our readers and the FPJ team know that the National Fruit Show has a special place in the topfruit farming calendar and as a live event it will be missed this year. However, its virtual format will enable it to continue to connect the industry in new ways. It’s a bold response to an unprecedented situation but with the best interests of the industry it serves at its heart.”