Seven of New Zealand’s best and brightest will vie for the title of Young Vegetable Grower of the Year in a competition in Pukekohe next Friday, 10 May.
The victor will be crowned Young Vegetable Grower of the Year, and move on to the Young Grower national final, to be held in Tauranga in October. There, they will join the winners of the Bay of Plenty, Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, and Gisborne regional fruit-grower events, to compete for the national title of Young Grower of the Year 2019.
Contestants will demonstrate their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful horticulture business, including tractor proficiency, sales and marketing, and health and safety. The winner will be decided at an awards dinner on Friday night, where they will speak to an audience from throughout the industry about growing in a climate of change.
This year’s entrants are:
- Austin Singh Purewal (18), Purewal Growers Ltd
- Jaeseung Lee (27), technical manager at Superb Herb.
- Isabelle Peterson (23), Planting Manager at Sutherland Produce,
- Sean Cannady (26), packing supervisor at A.S. Wilcox.
- Francis Dee (24), assistant grower manager in covered crops at Turners and Growers.
- Scott Harvey (28), technical support for potatoes at A.S Wilcox.
- Craig Botting (24), planting supervisor and tractor operator at Scott Fresh Ltd.
Prizes for the winner include a media and presentation development course and an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the national 2019 Young Grower of the Year final. There are also prizes for the winners of each individual competition event.
The Young Vegetable Grower competition is organised by the Pukekoke Vegetable Growers Association, with support from Horticulture New Zealand. Pravin Hari, chair of the PVGA, says this is a great competition for the vegetable industry.
"Young Vegetable Grower provides a platform for the younger members of our industry to test themselves," says Hari. "They also learn a few things along the way, both from the competition and their peers."
Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says this competition is a highlight of the year, and vital to the future of the growing industry.
"This competition not only helps to develop our future leaders, but also shines a spotlight on the dedicated young people who grow New Zealand’s healthy food," says Chapman.
"Understanding what goes into producing healthy vegetables and fruit is hugely important when planning for the future. These competitions demonstrate not only how we grow, but also what resources we need to grow; land, water and, of course, people.
"This is one of the biggest vegetable competitions we’ve had, with seven excellent entrants. Young Grower showcases the amazing talent we have working in horticulture, and the possibilities for exciting careers in our industry," Chapman says.
The Young Vegetable Grower of the Year competition and awards dinner will be held at the Pukekoke Indian Association Event Centre in Pukekohe, and a small number of tickets are still available. For more information on the competition and tickets, visit younggrower.co.nz.