The youngest finalist of this year’s Young Grower of the Year competition, Austin Singh Purewal, beat the field to win this year’s Young Vegetable Grower of the Year.
At only 18, Austin has managed to achieve a lot in his horticulture career already. After winning the Pukekohe regional competition, Austin was looking forward to taking part in the finals.
“It’s almost like another job, to be honest,” says Austin. “It takes up a lot of your time if you are really dedicated to it.
“If you put a lot of effort in, you get lots out of it. From meeting new people to opening up my mind to opportunities within the industry, that’s what I wanted to get out of the competition. I didn’t necessarily want to win. I wanted to come out of it with more opportunities.”
Throughout the leadership panel and speech events, Austin voiced his views on the importance of diversity and encouraging young people into roles within the industry. He hoped that by entering, he has shown his peers that they can also achieve great things in the industry.
HortNZ Chief Executive Mike Chapman said that competitions like these are essential because they highlight horticulture as a vibrant career for young people.
“Our $6 billion industry continues to grow in response to worldwide and domestic demand for fresh, healthy food.
“These areas offer immense opportunity for young people, with many varied career opportunities ahead of them. I am positive that all entrants in 2019’s competition have benefited from the experience and will continue to grow and support horticulture.”
Austin is part of the T&G Global Key Accounts Team, where he is involved in supporting sales going into supermarkets. Through his role, he is trying to support growers as much as he can by helping them connect with customers.
The annual Young Vegetable Grower of the Year competition is run by Horticulture New Zealand and supported by platinum sponsor, the Horticentre Charitable Trust.