Every year, the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand witness a celebration of passion, innovation, and dedication in the form of the Young Grower of the Year competition. Hosted by Horticentre and Horticulture New Zealand, this prestigious event serves as a platform to recognize and honor the country's budding horticultural talents.
The competition showcases the agricultural prowess of young growers from six different regions, including Pukekohe, Otago, Nelson, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Hawkes Bay. These enthusiastic participants engage in a series of challenging tasks designed to test their knowledge and skills across various facets of horticulture. From machinery operation and handling to plant identification and problem-solving, each contest is judged independently, crowning winners in each category.
The stakes rise as the regional champions converge on the national stage to vie for the ultimate title: Young Grower of the Year. The finale of this captivating event features an awe-inspiring moment when the finalists deliver captivating speeches on a topic closely linked to the horticulture industry. The speech component is known for its ability to unveil the contestants' ability to communicate and advocate for their passion.
Beyond the competitive spirit, the Young Grower of the Year competition fosters a tight-knit community of horticulturists who share knowledge, experiences, and best practices. The camaraderie and collaboration among participants create an atmosphere of growth and learning that echoes the spirit of nurturing that is at the core of the horticulture industry.
In the pursuit of promoting sustainability and innovation in horticulture, the competition serves as a driving force to inspire the next generation of green-thumbed pioneers. Through their dedication to cultivating excellence and sustainable practices, the Young Grower of the Year competition ensures that the future of New Zealand's horticulture remains bright, promising, and ready to bloom.
This year, Southern Cross Horticulture had the 2022/23 graduate, Ashdon Reid, compete in the Bay of Plenty competition. Ashdon came from the event with a second overall, being the winner in the machinery operation competition and the innovation competition. Ashdon made a very strong speech where the topic was that "he had been elected Prime Minister, and what would he do for the Horticulture industry in New Zealand."
Congratulations, Ashdon, and a well-deserved result.