Growing the North Set For February 18-19

By Jocelyn Turner, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune

Thursday, January 8, 2015 5:46:18 MST PM

Planning for the sixth annual Growing the North Economic Development conference is going well, said Dan Pearcy, organizing partner and CEO with the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce.

The event schedule is firming up and only a few slots are left to fill.

“Basically, we’re just waiting on confirmation on some of the political speakers that we’ve invited to the conference, other than that, the slate is pretty much set,” he said.

“We’re down to the final strokes of getting the conference together and the lineup is looking pretty good. We have a good diverse group of speakers coming again representing pretty much all sectors and also some entertaining speakers.”

The conference will have speakers discuss various industry topics including stakeholder engagement, advertising, business solutions, energy, agriculture, forestry and research and development to be held at the ENTREC Centre in Evergreen Park from Feb. 18-19.

This year, there are two keynote speakers for residents to take in: Jay Ingram science broadcaster and writer and former co-host of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet on Feb 18; and Terry O’Reilly, award winning copywriter, advertising veteran and director, and host of the CBC Radio One series ‘Under the Influence’ and ‘Age of Persuasion’ on the final day of the conference.

Pearcy said he’s interested in hearing chief agriculture economist of Farm Credit Canada J.P. Gervais speak to the economy.

“It’s always something that’s very important and near and dear to my heart, trying to keep a pulse on what’s happening in Canada… and around the world as to how it impacts us here,’ he said. “I always find that, myself, very interesting, and just hearing from industry leaders as to what’s happening in their industry and what are some of the trends that are going on and what are some of the changes that are happening out there.”

A schedule and full list of confirmed speakers is available online at

Tickets to the event are still available with the option to purchase a ticket for the entire conference at $249 plus GST or, a single day pass for $179.

For more information, contact the Chamber at 780-532-5340.


Taste of the Peace

Kicking off the conference will be the annual Taste of the Peace event, this year taking place at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre on Feb. 17.

Organizer Shari Johnston said 15 vendors have been confirmed.

“We’re hoping to be (at) around 20 or so by the time the event comes around,” she said.

Booths at the event will feature a wide variety of local produce including organic cocoas and teas, honey, lamb and cherries.

“We also have First Nature Farms (Jerry Kitt)… he’s one of our larger producers in the area. He sells a lot of his product (organic meat) in Edmonton, Vancouver and places like that,” said Johnston.

“Last year we had for the first time Shawn Pearson from Shawn’s Custom Meat Cutting, he’s coming back this year… obviously, he’s a butcher but he also does a lot of his own sausages and jerky and things like that.”

The idea behind the event is to give residents a chance to learn about what foods are grown locally and give the producers a chance to network.

“The whole event started with that in mind, helping the producers grow and linking them up with the people who can help them take their business in the direction that they want to go… but it’s evolved (into) trying to get the word out to the general public,” she said.

In addition to new vendors, this year’s Taste of the Peace will have two chefs cooking up some tasty snacks instead of one. Alex Hebert, executive chef of The Office at the Pomeroy and Shaun Paton of the Stonebridge Hotel will be putting together dishes using the produce available at the event.

With about a month remaining until the conference, Johnston said she’s still looking for vendors.

“Anybody as long as they meet the requirements, can contact me and we get can get them a booth for sure,” she said.

“They have to be (in the) Alberta Peace (Country)… grown, produced or processed in the Peace region. They’d like the producers to earn income 10-12 months out of the year and potential to grow is also something that we look for.”

For more information about the requirements or to sign up as a vendor, call Johnston at 780-882-1764.



Registration forms, which can be emailed, mailed, faxed, or dropped off at the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, are available by clicking the image below. For more information, please call 780-532-5340 or email

* Printer friendly version:

Thank you to our 2015 Sponsors!



 Location: ENTREC Centre Evergreen Park
Grande Prairie, AB

For more information including directions, please visit


Copyright Growing The North Conference.
Website by