College’s £300k horticulture unit

IN response to a growing demand for horticultural courses, Bishop Burton College has added a brand new £300,000 horticulture zone to its campus.

According to the Government’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), providing good-quality local green space is a hugely effective way to tackle inequality, poor health and lack of community cohesion.

Coupled with the previous Government’s Food 2030 strategy, which claims the UK needs to produce more food in ways that protect and enhance the natural environment and invest in the skills and the knowledge that will help the industry prosper, demand for skilled horticulturalists has never been greater.

As one of the UK’s leading land-based college’s, Bishop Burton has invested significantly in its horticulture courses to ensure its learners are fully equipped with the skills needed to address these demands and nowhere is this more evident than within the college’s new Horticulture Zone.

The 2009 to 2010 academic year saw a 100 per cent increase in learner numbers in the college’s Horticulture Department, with numbers continuing to rise in the new academic year.

Therefore, the college decided to invest in a new horticulture unit which was built at a cost of over £300,000 and took five months to complete.

College principal Jeanette Dawson OBE said: “Because of this huge rise in numbers, and the need for skilled workers on a national level, the decision was taken to invest in a new facility which would provide an excellent training resource for our horticulture, environmental and land-based learners in plant propagation, production and maintenance.

“Not only will this new building provide a fantastic training space for learners, it will also be used by the gardens staff to overwinter plants for use during the growing number of large-scale events held at the college.”

It has a large propagation area with IT points to allow continual monitoring and recording of plant growth rates, and a large amount of outside space in which to grow a variety of plants.

Horticulture course manager Geoff Fisher said: “This building and its associated infrastructure offers us scope to build new and exciting modules into our further education courses.

“The whole area will be run as sustainably as possible.

“The building boasts a rainwater harvesting system and we will be setting up organic fruit and vegetable plots as well as dedicated areas given over to encouraging biodiversity.”