A new charity has been launched to get fresh fruit and vegetables to Kiwis in need.
The 2013 finalists are: Blair Chicken (Young Landscaper of the Year), Ben James (Young Grower of the Year), Laurence Speedy (Young Amenity Horticulture Winner), Matt Fox (Young Viticulturist of the Year), Jessica Mills (Young Florist of the Year), Kelly Jean Kerr (HortFert Young Achiever).
They won their sector competitions across floristry, fruit and vegetable, parks and gardens, landscaping, viticulture and nursery and garden.
Now in its ninth year, the competition is managed by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture Education Trust, in conjunction with partnering sponsors: The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), Fruitfed Supplies, and Turners and Growers.
"We are supporting these young horticulturists so they can identify a clear career path for the future, which will ultimately benefit the horticulture industry in general," explains Colin Lyford, general manager, domestic market for Turners and Growers.
As part of the competition the AGMARDT Market Innovation project is a written activity within the competition that the finalists complete in their own time in the lead up to the Grand. Judges look for new ideas in the horticultural field that demonstrate lateral thinking, balanced by a realistic and logical project plan. The project combines research, methodology and innovation.
Projects range from James' unique computerised scanning system to aid quality control from picking to packing of apples to Chicken's structural system for securing green roofs.
The winner of the 'Young Horticulturist of the Year' title receives prizes including a travel package to the value of $7,500. Second prize includes a Massey University study package to the value of $5,500, plus a $2,000 Primary ITO personal development scholarship.
Further awards go to the finalist who earns the highest score for the practical activities; a Turners & Growers travel scholarship valued at $3500.Fruitfed Supplies' $,500 scholarship is awarded to the finalist who demonstrates leadership potential during the competition. The finalist with the highest score for a range of activities with a focus on crop management practices and sustainability will receive the $2500 Bayer scholarship. And the best overall AGMARDT Market Innovation Project earns the finalist a $5000 cash prize.