Women dominate Nuffield Scholarships for the first time in history
The recipients of the 2019 Nuffield Scholarships have made history with nine of the total 17 scholarships awarded to women.
Announced at the Nuffield National Conference Annual Awards Dinner in Melbourne last night, the scholars will receive a $30,000 bursary to travel the globe to research cutting-edge production techniques and technologies across a wide range of industries.
The two scholarships funded by Hort Innovation through the Potato and Vegetable Levies are also both women, who will focus their research efforts on the sustainability of the industry, reduction of waste and increased production output.
Kerri-Ann Lamb from Killarney, Queensland has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship with support from Hort Innovation, funded through the Potato Levy.
Kerri-Ann will research emerging trends, risks and opportunities in the fresh cut potato, sweet potato, onion and pumpkin market, to determine what the industry should be doing now to prepare for the future.
As the owner and manager of Wickham Farms, Ms Lamb grows, packs and value-adds to hard vegetables that are delivered to supermarkets, wholesalers, restaurants and food manufacturers throughout Australia.
Founded in the 1950s, Wickham Farms is now one of the largest potato growers and processors in Queensland. They employ more than 85 people and supply to major retailer Coles, as well as significant food businesses like Lite n’ Easy, Sizzlers, Red Rooster and Oporto.
“As part of a third generation farming family, I have seen many changes in the potato industry which have been driven by wholesale customers, major growth in the fresh-cut industry and a big focus on reducing food waste,” she said.
“I look forward to exploring emerging trends and opportunities for vegetable production around the world, and how these can lead to better value adding and waste management practices at home.”
Through researching ways to improve the sustainability and productivity of the horticultural industry, Ms Lamb will visit the large-scale potato processing nations of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as operations across other parts of Europe.
Organic horticulture producer from Wallacia in NSW, Christina Kelman received a Nuffield Scholarship funded through the Hort Innovation Vegetable Levy.
Motivated by the need to produce more with less, Ms Kelman will investigate how to increase output while reducing input across the horticulture industry, and research new methods of farming sustainably.
Working and managing her family’s business, Rita’s Farm, Ms Kelman grows certified organic leafy greens, legumes, citrus, root vegetables and fruit-bearing crops including tomato, zucchini, capsicum and eggplant over 25 hectares.
As a vertically integrated business, Rita’s Farm participates in wholesaling, farmers markets, online delivery and supermarket supply, which requires Ms Kelman to grow large amounts of produce across up to 100 lines at any one time.
“Running an organic farm means we constantly have to be in touch with the requirements of our consumers, scale our market garden production and reduce our inputs and costs wherever possible,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to researching innovative ways that producers can do more with less, and how we can grow sustainable urban food production into the powerhouse it can be for the Sydney market and beyond.”
Mr Kelman will use her Nuffield scholarship to travel throughout Europe, the Netherlands, India and Canada as she researches innovative and productive sustainable food systems.