Online Engagement a big winner for East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days
An engaging online presence allowed the East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days to deliver significant benefit to the horticulture industry last week, whilst adhering to strict rules to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
The event pivoted to be a national demonstration and data collection site from 5-7 May with a very limited number of people allowed on site, but through a series of regular live events every day on social media, was able to connect thousands of people from near and far via the small screens of their smartphones.
Through careful consultation with relevant authorities, permission was granted to allow a maximum of 50 people on site at a time, with strict adherence to social distancing and hand hygiene rules.
The feedback from the three days has been positive beyond expectations.
Growers, together with the participating seed and agricultural chemical company representatives, indicated that the limited numbers allowed them to engage in longer, more open conversations, affording everyone the time and space to talk privately about varieties and data.
It is feedback that is music to the ears of the Organising Committee, and a fitting reward for the twelve months of planning and countless man hours that had been invested into making the site the spectacle it was for the first week in May.
“We were really pleased to be able to give the industry access that has still been very worthwhile, as well as driving huge increases in virtual engagement via our social media across the three days “ said EGVID Co-Director, Stuart Grigg.
And the online access to the data, learnings and insights will take on another dimension in the coming months, with a big library of professional videos produced from the event set to be hosted on the AUSVEG website.
The content will include in depth discussion about varieties and products, accompanied by virtual tours of individual company plots, creating a valuable reference point that will be available for many years to come.
Spread across two hectares in Lindenow, the EGVID site featured over 1500 lines including lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, baby spinach leaf, kale and celery, as well as a number of different herbs.
And the plans for 2023 ? They’re up for discussion, according to EGVID Co-Director Andrew Bulmer.
“There’s been some fantastic learnings in how we successfully adapted this year that if we go again in three years time, we’d be definitely incorporating some of those changes into a future event structure” he said.
The 2020 event was generously sponsored by Hort Innovation, Corteva, Agriculture Victoria, East Gippsland Shire Council and AusIndustry.
The production of the videos has been made possible thanks to the support of the Victorian Farmers Federation, OneHavest, Nufarm, East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Enza Zaden, AgCo, Boomaroo and Grolink.
The online library will launch on the AUSVEG website in the coming months – there is a huge amount of footage to edit & produce!