Sup­port­ing grow­ers for 100 years

Pukekohe veg­etable grow­ers have plenty to cel­e­brate this year with the cen­te­nary of the Pukekohe Veg­etable Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (PVGA).

NZ Grower - - News - By Glenys Chris­tian

And they’re de­ter­mined that fes­tiv­i­ties in­volve the wider com­mu­nity, not just those di­rectly in­volved in veg­etable grow­ing.

“It’s very im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge and cel­e­brate the past, and the peo­ple who helped shape it,” said PVGA pres­i­dent, Brent Wil­cox.

Lo­cal grow­ers had shown a lot of in­dus­try lead­er­ship over the years, through good times and bad, and overcome con­sid­er­able chal­lenges.

“But it’s equally im­por­tant to ap­pre­ci­ate the need to con­tinue ef­forts on be­half of the lo­cal veg­etable grow­ing in­dus­try,” he said.

It con­tin­ued to face con­sid­er­able change such as con­sol­i­da­tion, which meant fewer and larger grow­ers, he said. “But the need to main­tain a thriv­ing lo­cal grower as­so­ci­a­tion re­mains as strong as ever. The Pukekohe area is still a sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion re­gion that has strate­gic im­por­tance in pro­vid­ing the na­tion’s fresh veg­eta­bles.”

It was cur­rently fac­ing con­sid­er­able ur­ban­i­sa­tion and reg­u­la­tory con­straint like never be­fore. So the cen­te­nary was a good chance to pro­mote the im­por­tance of the sec­tor to the com­mu­nity at large.

The ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee has been hard at work since last June, plan­ning the over­all cen­te­nary project with a smaller cen­te­nary com­mit­tee now in place to fur­ther re­fine, or­gan­ise and de­liver the range of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out this year. As well as past PVGA pres­i­dents, Grant Ryan, Bharat Ji­van and Keith Val­labh, Wil­cox and vice-pres­i­dent, Pravin Hari, are also

“The Pukekohe area is still a sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tion re­gion that has strate­gic im­por­tance in pro­vid­ing the na­tion's fresh veg­eta­bles.”

in­volved. Reubena Ko­vati, a lo­cal tomato grower, Brett Parker, a for­mer win­ner of the NZ Young Veg­etable Grower of the Year ti­tle, and Kylie Faulkner from Suther­land Pro­duce make up the rest of the com­mit­tee, along with the BNZ’s lo­cal ru­ral man­ager, Peter But­ler.

They have writ­ten to all of the more than 250 mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion ask­ing them for their ideas on what the cel­e­bra­tions should in­volve. Five key ar­eas they want to con­cen­trate on are:

• Cel­e­brat­ing the PVGA’s 100 years

• In­volv­ing the wider com­mu­nity in or­der to con­nect with all peo­ple in the area

• Pro­mot­ing the veg­etable grow­ing in­dus­try

• Look­ing back at the his­tory of the as­so­ci­a­tion and grow­ing in the area, which has been car­ried out for more than 100 years

• En­gag­ing with schools to look to the fu­ture of grow­ing.

With 11 past pres­i­dents of the PVGA liv­ing lo­cally as well as the same num­ber of life mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion, the com­mit­tee is keen to en­gage with them in pre­par­ing for the cen­te­nary ac­tiv­i­ties.

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