Thursday, August 11, 2022

Twin environmental wins for 2022

A fifth-generation grower from Canterbury has won one of two HortNZ Environmental Awards for 2022.

HortNZ Vice President, Bernadine Balle-Guilleux said the HortNZ Board had chosen two winners this year due to the high calibre of nominations.

“Where the HortNZ Board determines there are exceptional circumstances and more than one award should be made, we can choose to present an additional award,” said Balle-Guilleux.

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables grow potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, pumpkin and arable crops including grass seed, wheat, peas and maize on more than 450 hectares. They wash, grade and pack produce on site.

Company owner, Robin Oakley, was presented with the HortNZ Environmental Award in Christchurch overnight.

“Oakley’s is dedicated to continuous improvement,” said Mr Oakley.

“I am proud that our efforts have been recognised by HortNZ and want to share with New Zealanders the good work that is done on our farms.”

In recent years, he said the company had taken considerable steps to reduce, monitor and manage greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen leaching and improve soil quality, through initiatives such as the Sustainable Vegetables System project.

In particular, it has looked to power usage and installed 564 solar panels at Oakley’s Southbridge post-harvest site in April this year. These 390-watt panels will account for around 40% of the site’s annual energy demands, said Mr Oakley.

A second award was presented to MG – Market Gardeners Ltd Auckland Branch, in recognition of their commitment to environmental sustainability. 

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