It was good to see the Paignton Zoo project get the recognition it so richly deserves. I hope to be in the U.K. next year and see their VertiCrop system. It will be interesting to see how Valcent does in the new age of food production technology. It is fascinating to watch a new industry evolving.
The Norah Stucken Award is for outstanding projects which have made a significant impact on horticulture. It is given to amenity or conservation projects, the development of a new crop, a major book or a series of research papers. Nominations have to be supported by five Institute Fellows or Members. The Zoo was nominated for the award by the South West Branch of the Institute of Horticulture.
The Zoo’s Curator of Plants and Gardens Kevin Frediani said: “This is a great honour – for a horticulturalist it is like winning a Grammy!”
Iain Park, from the University of Exeter, who is the Institute of Horticulture South West Branch Chair, said: “The South West Branch of the Institute of Horticulture is delighted that Paignton Zoo's innovation has been nationally recognised. We are so pleased, as professional horticulturalists, that the Zoo promotes the value of horticulture and food production to a public audience, helping us raise the profile of our industry.”
Kevin: “VertiCrop is designed to grow crops where they are needed – in towns and cities. It uses automatic irrigation and hydroponic technology, meaning it grows plants without soil, so it doesn’t need good agricultural land which can be used to grow staple crops instead. Growing crops vertically also reduces the area of land needed and by growing food near to where it is consumed there are no food miles attached.