£8k in prize money for sustainable ideas for protected cropping

The GCRI Trust has announced a new study competition in the formats of either a written document or a video presentation on the theme of ‘Improving sustainability in tomorrow’s protected horticulture.’

With entries accepted as either a written desk study or, new to this year, a video presentation, £2,000 will be awarded to the winner of each of the two categories. Two runners up in each format will each be awarded a prize of £1,000.

The judges are looking for well-written or presented desk studies or literature reviews that analyze new technologies, science, or novel practices to help the UK protected crops sector lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce water, waste, and material usage.

With alarming increases in energy costs and the ever-changing labor market, growers of protected edibles and ornamentals need to find a path to a new sustainability model for their industry – and quickly.

Last year, the prize was awarded to Janet Mobbs from Lineside Nursery in Warwickshire with a proposal for a Horticultural Energy Investment Fund. Her study proposed providing growers with the necessary capital expenditure for modern energy sources in return for an affordable rental charge and repayment of the installation cost when the property is sold.

Colin Frampton, Chair of the GCRI Trust, said: “The winning entry last year identified a possible solution towards net zero carbon emissions in protected horticulture. We are looking forward to more innovative ideas to help us find sustainable solutions to the labor and energy issues facing growers this year.”

Dr. Nikki Harrison, GCRI Trustee and Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, said: “Growing Kent & Medway supports the promotion of best practice across horticultural businesses, especially through the integration of new measures that help lower carbon emissions and drive sustainability across the food production sector.”

By working together with the GCRI Trust, we are able to support this exciting competition to bring the latest innovations and ideas to business sustainability and horticultural production.”

The GCRI Trust was set up to promote scientific research and education for the environmentally sustainable cultivation of horticultural crops growing in glasshouses, polytunnels, and other structures. It has traditionally funded grants to allow scientists and growers to travel overseas to learn about the latest research findings to benefit UK horticulture. With a temporary halt to overseas travel in 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Trust introduced the desk study competition.

For more information:
GCRI Trust

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