UK: Kent toma­to pro­duc­er wins top farm­ing edu­ca­tion award

APS Produce near Dover in Kent has been acclaimed as the overall winner of the Bayer-LEAF Education Awards, which celebrate the very best in food and farming education.

Chris Baldwin was one of four winners to be announced at a lunch in Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens, attended by nearly one hundred guests from the world of agriculture and education, having earlier scooped the Innovative Learning Award.

APS Produce have worked with 500 children from local schools at their high tech tomato production greenhouse facilities around the country and Chris Baldwin encapsulates the company’s ethos when it comes to education. The team’s dedication to teaching the students resulted in them winning the Innovative Learning Award, for a farm business demonstrating innovative work with schools encouraging an understanding of and interest in current farming practices, whether utilising technology, thinking creatively about showing modern, sustainable farming or raising awareness of on-farm innovation.

Specifically, the judges were impressed with the team‘s passion and commitment to explaining how a high tech environment can also be a living ecosystem, and their ability to bring the school curriculum to life, especially around STEM subjects. Involving students in identifying projects to improve the productivity and sustainability of the glasshouses was particularly inspiring.

Head Judge, Janet Hickinbottom, National Education Officer at Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) Education said, “The competition this year was extremely fierce but the judges were really impressed with how the APS team have been able to make farming and the environment relevant to all parts of the school curriculum, and we were delighted to present them with the Innovative Learning Award, and then the Overall Winner’s Award.”

Michael Muncey, Head of Business for Bayer Crop Science in the UK, added: "APS Produce is a very worthy winner of both these awards. It is fantastic to see the sheer enthusiasm of people trying to reconnect young people with where their food comes from. Farmers, growers and other organisations up and down the country are doing some amazing work when it comes to making UK agriculture relevant to the next generation, and we believe it is worth celebrating their achievements.”

The winners of the individual awards were as follows:

Primary School Partnership Award
For a farm that has built and continues to build a successful relationship with primary schools (5-11 year olds) and makes a valuable and sustained contribution to school life, both on and away from the farm.

Winner: Nonington Farms Ltd., Near Canterbury

Secondary School Partnership Award
For a farm business that has gone out of its way to build a successful relationship with one or more secondary schools (11-18 year olds).

Winner: Brockhill School Farm, Near Hythe

Innovative Learning Award
For a farm business demonstrating innovative work with schools encouraging an understanding of and interest in current farming practices, whether utilising technology, thinking creatively about showing modern, sustainable farming or raising awareness of on-farm innovation.

Winner: APS Produce, Near Dover

Lifetime Achievement Award (supported by NFU Mutual)
For exceptional services to countryside educational activities over a prolonged period.

Winner: Nina Hatch, Birmingham

Overall Winner of the Bayer-LEAF Education Awards 2019
For an organisation which has won one of this year’s awards and are deemed worthy of the overall award.

Winner: APS Produce, Near Dover

More about the competition and winners, including videos of the individual winners can be found here and here.

For more information:
LEAF
www.leafuk.org

Bayer

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