The last few months have been an intense experience, to say the least. And I’m sure most of you feel the same way. First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and keeping safe. With pain in our hearts, we’ve been watching the waves of sorrow flooding our industry sectors and our communities. Since March, I’ve spoken to many of you, asking you to share your thoughts on how we can get through these difficult times together. So now, I’d like to share my story with you.
It was March 12th, and there was so much to do. We had two major events planned, one of them only weeks away. Our first event ever in Mexico - GreenTech Americas - was to take place, and we couldn’t be more excited. The floor had been sold out for months already, and visitor registration was spiking.
Was I surprised when the virus ‘suddenly’ knocked on our doors? To be fair, yes, and maybe not. Of course, we’d been keeping track of it, but as an organiser, we still had to go full steam ahead with preparations. Everything happened fast. The decision was quick, easy, but painful. No-one wanted to ask our exhibitors and visitors to travel and put themselves at risk. GreenTech Americas was rescheduled to August, soon after, GreenTech Amsterdam was postponed to October.
My country, like many others, went into lockdown, and RAI Amsterdam had to close its doors. In the 127 years of its existence, RAI has never closed. Not even during WWI or II, not during the Spanish Flu, not after 9/11. The world, as we knew it, has changed.
After doing my utmost to keep my family safe, I found it difficult to sit down and take the time to let everything sink in. By now, our team, exhibitors, visitors, sponsors, and speakers would have been preparing their travel and presence for GreenTech Amsterdam 2020. In an email such as this, we would’ve updated you about the progress we’d been making, about which new companies would join us during the show, and which theatre sessions you really need to put in your schedule. But here we are.
Some may say that this is not a good time to be an event organiser. But unexpectedly, this is the proudest moment in my 25-year career. In the past weeks, I’ve had heartfelt conversations with fellow industry professionals from all over the world. While we struggle with the current challenges, one thing always floats to the surface: people are helping each other, every day, in all our sectors, in every company, every country, and city. I am convinced that with a little help from each other, we will come out of this stronger than ever.
A new light is shining on food production, and the entire human population sees it. Change will come, but it will be for the better, and you can help guide the world in the right direction. The GreenTech team and I will do everything that needs the be done to lift our industries. We will continue to connect people, so we can exchange knowledge to take on the challenges of not only feeding the world but making it more beautiful for our tired Zoom eyes. #flowers
I cannot wait to see you all in person again. For now, an extra special thank you to all of you who are making sure that we can feed our families healthy food every day. From the people working on the automated seeders, doing pest control, picking the fruit, the packers, truck drivers, and so many many others. Thank you!
Stay healthy, stay safe, and take good care of those that depend on you, and that includes you :-)
As Charles Dickens once said, "The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again."
I wish you all well, and see you soon.
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