The Nemunas Valley Exposition is celebrating its first jubilee: This is the fifth independent exposition held at the exhibitions organized by Aleksandras Stulginskis University. The initiator of this exposition is the Nemunas Valley Association, which is the coordinator of the Valley and works to enable its founders and partners to deliver the innovations they have developed, acquaint the public with the creators of the innovations, and listen closely to visitors’ comments.
As part of the exhibition organized by Aleksandras Stulginskis University (ASU), this exposition has gradually grown and intensified. Each event had its own theme and mission, but they all share a common goal: to turn every innovation into a business and encourage students and young researchers to actively pursue the implementation of their ideas. Therefore, the exposition already has a permanent name, “From Craft to Business,” and a slogan, “See, learn, and taste!” The theme of the 2013 exposition was Farm-to-Table. For the first time since the exposition’s start, all the Valley founders, representatives of education and research institutions, were actively involved in organizational activities. ASU Vice Rector for Research Laima Taparauskienė together with a group of ASU staff helped to shape and prepare the concept of the exposition. Thanks to them, the ASU researchers played a very active part in the exhibition presenting the capabilities of the Agriculture and Forestry Joint Research Centre and the technological laboratories.
The theme of this exposition was dictated by time. Since the creation of the Valley 5 years have passed. So we can say that the Valley is also celebrating its first jubilee. In February 2008, the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science and the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy allowed the Nemunas Valley initiators to prepare a development program. After 5 years the Valley already has something to enjoy and share with the public: they have completed the creation of the material base of the Valley: buildings built, the latest scientific equipment purchased, and the researchers enhanced their skills and are ready for even greater development of innovative products and services for consumers. Therefore, all the Valley competence centres and laboratories, their scientists’ services and already developed products were presented in the exposition.
The exposition was presented by: Kaunas University of Technology’s (KTU) Food Science and Technology Centre of Excellence, which started its activities first at the end of 2010; the open access LSMU Veterinary Academy Animal Health and Animal Raw Materials Centre of Excellence, which opened its doors in September 2012; and, the Joint Research Centre of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, opened in early December 2012. This centre is the largest and is located in the heart of the Valley: ASU uniting the Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (LRCAF) and the forces of ASU. In addition to these centres, laboratories also participated in the exhibition, whose activities the Nemunas Valley plans to develop. This totality of equipment and scientific potential will be providing services and products to the entire agricultural sector, starting from the pre-sowing, plant variety development, improvement, and maintenance to food science technology development and food safety. That is why the theme of the exposition was Farm-to-Table.
Businesses also took part in the exhibition: Nemunas Valley participants and partners who use the services of the researchers or develop innovative products together. Working together they all demonstrated their latest developments and introduced the processes of creation to all who were interested, as well as prospects and opportunities in the future. Visitors had the opportunity to taste test and then also to buy the products developed.
The exposition developers were particularly motivated to work productively because the President of Lithuania was in attendance and visited the scientists’ innovations at the International Agricultural What Will You Plant...in 2013 Exhibition. The exposition participants had the opportunity to present their activities to the President, and hear her opinion and greetings.
The exposition was also visited by the Minister of Agriculture, Members of Parliament, and other respectable people. All of them had the opportunity to see firsthand that the Nemunas Valley name continues to sound out louder, brighter, and more coherently, and the scientists are ready to bring new innovations to market.