Growers vie for BOP award
Your Community Voice
Adiverse group of eight young growers have stepped up to compete for the title of 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the year. The competition, which also accepts participants from the Northland region, is now in its 14th year of celebrating the young and upcoming leaders of the horticulture industry. Originally planned for February this year, the competition was postponed due to a change in Covid-19 alert levels. The competition day is taking take place in Mount Maunganui College grounds today. From 9am to 1pm, competitors will be undertaking a range of horticultural related theory tests and practical modules, and spectators are encouraged to go and support the young growers on the day. Following the day event, there will be a Gala Dinner and Awards Evening at Zespri International, Mount Manganui, where the young growers will take part in a speech competition, and the final winner will be announced at the end of the evening’s proceedings. Contestants will have the opportunity to compete for the title of the 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower and additional prizes will be up for grabs for the runners-up and the winners of each module. The 2021 winner receives a media and presentation development course in Auckland, and will travel to Wellington to represent the Bay of Plenty in the 2021 national final of the NZ Young Grower on September 22 and 23. The 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower competition aims to inspire and acknowledge the talents of young people in the fruit and vegetable sectors. Last year, Melissa van den Heuvel secured the title of the 2020 Bay of Plenty Young Grower. ‘‘It’s a great promotion of what the horticulture industry has to offer and provides the opportunity for young people to share their passion, knowledge and skills,” she says. ‘‘It is also a great way for the younger generation to be empowered, and to promote the industry and opportunities within it to others looking for future careers.” This year’s young growers come from an array of backgrounds. One contestant is from Pukekohe, with the others from¯the area between Katikati and Opo¯tiki. All have made significant contributions to the horticulture industry.