New Zealand organic kiwifruit growers Mark and Catriona White were named the sustainable farming and growing national ambassadors at last night’s (7 June) Balance Farm Environment Awards in Wellington.
The orchardists from Opotiki in Eastern Bay of Plenty gained entry to the event by scooping four awards at a regional competition in February.
The couple were selected from a highly credentialed field of finalist, including dairy, sheep and beef farmers, as well as beekeepers and orchardists who promote sustainable land practices.
“They are outstanding strategic and agile thinkers on the key issues for New Zealand and have strong primary sector and community leadership qualities,” said judging panel chairperson Dianne Kidd.
“They are strong users of evidence-based science and technology in their business and orchard and demonstrate a broad global market understanding and a real energy to be agents of change.”
Kiwifruit marketing company Zespri congratulated the Whites on their win, which includes an overseas study tour prize.
“We’ve long known the Whites are outstanding growers and exceptional people and this win on the national stage is thoroughly deserved,” said Zespri chief innovation and sustainability officer Carol Ward.
“They are real heroes of sustainability which is right at the heart of the Zespri brand promise of premium, safe, healthy fruit to our consumers around the world.”