APS Produce won the Innovative Learning Award and prevailed as the Overall Winner at this year's Bayer-LEAF Education Awards which celebrate the best in food and farming education.
Operations director of the British tomato producer Chris Baldwin picked up two of the five available prizes at a lunch in Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens that was attended by nearly 100 guests from the world of agriculture and education.
The company received the Innovative Learning Award for demonstrating innovative work with schools and encouraging an understanding of and interest in current farming practices.
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.
Based near Dover in Kent, APS Produce has worked with 500 children from local schools at its high-tech tomato greenhouses around the country.
Head judge, Janet Hickinbottom, who is LEAF’s national education officer, 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.”
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 other award winners were as follows:
Primary School Partnership Award – Nonington Farms (near Canterbury)
Secondary School Partnership Award – Brockhill School Farm (near Folkestone)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Nina Hatch