Annual Meeting 2004 Announced

The 2004 Annual Meeting will be a first of it's type. This will be a truly joint meeting of NNGA and NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers). A few times in the past both organizations held their meetings at the same location with NNGA being held the first portion of the week and NAFEX the last half of the week. This meeting will be joint with attendees being able to attend nut and fruit sessions, which ever they choose. In the past to attend both meetings required a full week of lodging, two registration fees, two banquet fees and longer absence from home, seven days not counting double travel time. Most technical sessions were subjects particular to the members association.

This meeting will be central in the US, in Columbia, Missouri which is 1.5 hours drive west of St. Louis on I-70.  The date is Aug. 15 (Sunday) through Aug. 18. (Wednesday).  Location, Ramada Inn located on I-70.  We were able to get a very low conference lodging rate which includes a restaurant hot buffet breakfast.  All functions will be held in Ramada's conference center in the same building as lodging, except of course, for the field trips.

Here is the proposed agenda. Board meetings Sat. and Sunday.  Sunday afternoon registration and evening social mixer with cash bar.  For your enjoyment a Dixieland Jazz band will be playing followed with a buffet meal.  This will be followed by members show & tell from both groups. Monday morning, NNGA business meeting followed by two concurrent fruit and nut technical sessions. Attend the subjects of your choice.  Speakers are invited from research, professional growers and back yard growers covering all nuts & fruits.  Monday evening auction.  Tuesday morning, continuation of papers followed by the field trip to the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center.  This will be followed by an optional evening visit to the Les Bourgeois winery and evening meal overlooking the Missouri River.  Due to limited seating only the first requests (reservations) for this event can be accommodated. Others will return to the Ramada with dinner on your own.  Wednesday morning field trip to Starks Nursery.   That evening, banquet with the featured speaker being Dr. Chiranjit Parmar from the Himalayan Mountain region delivering a slide presentation on nuts & fruits of that area. Following his slide presentation the two groups will separate for their respective business meetings.

Dr. Parmar will also be speaking at the technical sessions.  If we can get the proper import permits from the USDA, Dr. Parmar will bring seeds that can be purchased by members having previously inspected and passed. 

The NNGA's ladies group, CAP, is working with Julie Rhoads with the Univ. to organize events for the spouses and those accompanying members on Monday and Wednesday.  Nothing has been firmed yet, but in addition to fruit jams,  preserves and crafts on Monday morning they are considering:   1) Tour of State Farm Flower Gardens near downtown Columbia.  This is a very large and beautiful landscaped area and one of the most beautiful things to see in Columbia.  2) Columbia Mall is very near the gardens with about 100 stores.  3) Rock Bridge State Park - large park about 5 miles south of downtown Columbia with raised walking trails and caves.  4) Self or guided tour of the MU campus located just south of the downtown area.   There is an Art and Archeology museum on campus.   Guided tours can be arranged.  5) Trip to the Lake of the Ozarks which is located about 70 miles south of Columbia.  There are cruise boats that go out on 1-2 hour long cruises all day long and a lunch cruise could be arranged.  For families with children there is also a very large children's playland called "Miner Mikes" located directly across from the Lake Ozark outlet mall which has 125 stores.  If there are any children going, those families could be dropped off and picked up easily at the mall and the ones wanting to shop could and those wanting to play at "Miner Mikes" could go across the street to do that.

The goal is to have something for everyone. Mark your calendars now, Aug 15, through 18, 2004 and plan to attend this joint meeting.