Thursday, August 11, 2022

Auckland plant producer named the best in NZ

Amy Clark, branch manager of Kings Plant Barn in Botany, is Young Achiever 2022.
Young achiever finalists Joshua Mercer, Rajan Singh, winner Amy Clark, Ellen Ballantine and Eilish Chilton.

The future of the country’s $500 million plant production industry is in excellent hands as shown by the talent of this year’s Young Achiever of the Year, Amy Clark, branch manager of Kings Plant Barn in Botany.

Clark was named Young Achiever 2022 at a business breakfast in Christchurch this week, during which all five finalists delivered speeches on the future of the industry. Earlier the competitors took part in Challenge Day at Lincoln University, where they were tested on the skills needed to run a successful plant production business, including finance, plant biosecurity & identification, and health & safety.

Judges looked for individuals who could make a difference in the industry, going beyond great skills to also include leadership, attitude and personality. The judges said Clark was very well rounded in all the skills and attributes required and in particular excelled at plant identification and biosecurity.

Along with her trophy, she has won a 12-month programme of mentorship support plus a $4000 fund to advance her career.  She will also take part in the Young Horticulturalist of the Year competition in November, when she will compete against finalists from the entire horticulture sector, vying for a prize pool worth more than $20,000. 

Since 2016 New Zealand’s Young Achievers have placed either first or second in Young Hort.

Clark has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and is now looking into studying horticulture with an emphasis on soil health and science. Her passion is edible plants: “I absolutely love being able to utilise plants in more ways than one, particularly as a vegetarian!”

The Young Achiever 2022 runners up were Joshua Mercer, plant propagation technician at Growing Spectrum in Hamilton, and Ellen Ballantine, potting team leader at Rainbow Park Nurseries in Drury, Auckland. The other finalists were Eilish Chilton, viticultural technician at Riversun Nursery in Gisborne and Rajan Singh, nursery supervisor at Kings Plant Barn in Auckland .

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