New hub for budding young horticulturalists ready to grow

Published date11 August 2022
Publication titleKatikati Advertiser
It’s been a long time coming, says Katikati Innovative Horticulture Project manager Hilary Johnson, but the intended centre has a start date and the first sod will be turned on September 12

The centre will be a purpose-built horticultural facility on Katikati College grounds where budding horticulturists can learn all aspects of the industry.

The idea sprouted years ago, Hilary says.

”We are right in the middle of horticulture country and so for a very long time we thought this would be a great way to educate kids.

“There so many opportunities in the workforce for them and at a higher level ... we should be making our kids part of this community and not have them all leave.

”The industry is crying out for people, and skilled people because the rest can be replaced by automation eventually so what we have done over the last four-and-a-half years has turned horticulture from being basically a low-level gardening programme to a multi-functional, cross-curricular course that kids can take pathways into jobs, or on to polytech, university or internships.”

There are 115 senior students enrolled in horticulture this year, compared to 12 to 15 about four years ago, she says.

Horticulture is now an attractive option and principal Louise Buckley says horticulture at Katikati College is more than just gardening.

“The skills that they are learning are right across the board. Yesterday I saw students learning how to do tissue cultures of...

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