Pershore College to showcase technological advancements in horticulture

A new event to celebrate the latest technological breakthroughs from the world of horticulture is being planned by Pershore College.

A Festival of Horticultural Technology will take place in two parts over the summer with an evening of talks and networking on Tuesday June 29 followed by a day-long agri-tech showcase featuring demonstrations, talks and tours on Wednesday July 21.

Organised by the GrowAgri Worcestershire project, the initiative will showcase the work of the pioneering Agri-Tech Research Centre led by Professor Roy Kennedy. A programme of speakers will make the case for businesses to get involved in this fast-growing sector of agricultural technology.

It will be the first time in well over 12 months that interested members of the public will be able to meet the scientific team in a face-to-face context.

The college has been a renowned centre of horticultural excellence since it was founded in 1954, and for more than 65 years, students have learnt their trade with famous alumni including David Domoney and Chris Beardshaw.

Now in the 21st Century, it is fast becoming a research and academic leader in the implementation of technology in agriculture and horticulture. In its futuristic facilities, which include an indoor hydroponic plant-growth chamber and an outdoor vertical farm, tomorrow’s technology is already being road-tested.

Professor Roy Kennedy said: “We focus on a range of cutting-edge technologies that benefit sustainable food production such as multispectral sensing and disease diagnostics. If the UK agricultural and horticultural sector is going to achieve net zero-carbon emissions by 2050 then we need these technologies to be taken up and implemented throughout the country.”

“There is also the enormous issue of food waste with an estimated one-third of food produced for human consumption lost globally. Clearly, this is a time of great challenge but also of great opportunity. Britain has some of the best growing conditions for fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops in the world. The industry is worth £3 billion per year, and the Vale of Evesham is famous for its production of soft fruit, plums, salad and vegetable crops.

“At present the UK is reliant on importing much of its fresh grown produce, particularly during the winter months. Now that we have left the EU it is even more crucial that we become more self-sufficient.”

Event organiser, Dr Anjana Patel, Agri-Tech Research Assistant, Pershore College, said: “Our Festival of Horticultural Technology will provide a unique opportunity for Worcestershire businesses and individuals not familiar with the agri-tech sector, to get a real insight and understanding of the opportunities and the financial support available.

“We have a line-up of insightful industry speakers, and a range of companies that will be showcasing the latest in hydroponic technologies, so we very much look forward to welcoming businesses or individuals interested in getting involved in this ground-breaking area.”

For more information about the Festival of Horticultural Technology go to www.wcg.ac.uk/horticultural-festival or to get involved email growagri@wcg.ac.uk.

Picture caption: Dr Anjana Patel, Agri-Tech Research Assistant

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