By RACHEL CHAMBERS | COMMENT
THIS year holds special significance for QFVG, aka Growcom, aka COD, as it commemorates our 100th year in operation.
Achieving a century in any business is a remarkable accomplishment, and for those who have been part of our journey, you know it’s filled with numerous stories, challenges, and successes we wished to share.
We also wanted to recognise the remarkable individuals who played a role in our century-long journey.
At the outset of our 100th year, we self-declared it the ‘Year of Horticulture in Queensland,’ this was a bit of a surprise to government, as they thought they’d missed the event over the previous 99 years.
We made this special one-off declaration to celebrate the industry, educate government officials and consumers, and advocate for the future of horticulture.
Instead of solely celebrating ourselves, we believed it was more meaningful to celebrate others.
We did, however, reserve one day of the year for our own birthday party—a day dedicated to celebrating, paying homage, and sharing the stories of Queensland horticulture’s past century through a unique gala dinner event scheduled for November 17. Many of you may have marked this date in your calendars.
Today, we are announcing our decision to cancel this event. Typically, when discussing an event cancellation, one might say, “We have made the difficult decision to cancel”, and it was a difficult decision, however in the end it simply felt like the right thing to do.
Here’s why: Our growers are currently enduring one of the most trying periods they can recall. It felt inappropriate for us to request that growers, who are grappling with financial, mental, emotional, and physical hardships, travel and participate in a gala event to commemorate our 100 years of supporting the industry.
Similarly, it didn’t feel right to approach sponsors and ask them to invest in a single night’s celebration when there is a pressing need for substantial investment to help our growers weather the current challenges and survive.
Regional gala events have been and will continue to be held to highlight and celebrate industry.
What felt right was the decision to cancel. What felt right was redirecting our resources toward our campaign to assist growers, rather than investing in an event that would conclude in a single day.
Let there be no doubt, we are all disappointed. We were looking forward to a grand celebration. The history of QFVG is extensive and incredibly fascinating. However, our primary focus is safeguarding the future of our growers, and they require our undivided attention at this moment.
We hope you understand our reasoning and invite you to also support our growers and champion their cause at this unprecedented time in horticulture.
*Rachel Chambers is the CEO of Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers