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  • Writer's pictureMike Casey

Young Growers Central Otago event at Forest Lodge

On Friday, the 15th of October 2021, we hosted around 30 young growers from Central Otago. The leader of the Young Growers group, Jordan Carroll (who was also a finalist in the New Zealand Young Grower of the Year Awards), wanted to show the group how horticulture operations may operate in 2050.

We can't say we have all the answers, but we are fairly confident that horticulture will not rely on fossil fuels for energy in 2050 and therefore we were able to show them some of our new electric technology and how we have achieved zero emissions.

A group of young growers standing next to an electric frost fighting fan listening to our orchard manager talk about their benefits
Euan our Orchard Manager demonstrating NZ's first electric frost fighting fans

To make the conversation flow smoothly, we decided to split the group in two. Euan showed them our UFO orchard and some of the electric technology we use under the canopy, while Mike showed the group the ins-and-outs of our solar and battery array, electrical infrastructure and some of our electric vehicles.

Mike Casey talking to a group of young growers about the electric ride on mower and modified golf cart.
Mike talking about our large electric ride on mower and how we modified a golf cart into a fully functional OUV (Orchard Utility Vehicle)
"It's great to see a real-life operation that shows a potential future for others in the industry. I think it's critical that young growers in Central Otago are not only understanding, but also leading the change in the Summerfruit industry." - Jordan Caroll

Diesel fumes were a health and safety concern raised by young growers who operate diesel machinery in fully enclosed structures. It became clear during the event that electric technology has not only environmental advantages, but also notable health and safety benefits.

We believe it's important not to preach that electric technology is better. Our goal is simply to show it in action, and let the next generation of growers decide if it's right for them. If you are interested in understanding how zero emission horticulture is implemented, the gate is always open! Please reach out.

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