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Somerset pair named young organic growers of the year

TWO innovative Somerset growers have won a prestigious national award for their efforts in the fields.

Adam Beer and Rita Oldenbourg – head growers at the Pitney Farm Market Garden, near Langport – have been crowned young organic growers of the year by the Organic Research Centre (ORC).

The award highlights the achievements of young organic farmers and growers who are “passionate about implementing organic principles” and were chosen by a panel of independent industry experts.

“Adam and Rita stood out for their exceptional standard of growing and innovation, producing great quality vegetables for the local community,” the judges said.

“They put into practice the organic principles and run a very successful, well-established business, employing several staff on a remarkably small area of land.”

After their win, Adam and Rita said: “It’s a privilege to receive this award, and great that this recognition exists to celebrate the work organic farmers do to improve soil health and ecology whilst producing quality nutritious food.

“We feel very lucky to be part of such a supportive community who are so happy to share ideas and their knowledge so freely.

“Part of what we love about producing food organically is the ability to experiment, learn and innovate.

“This award will give us the confidence to continue experimenting and developing our systems to improve our farms’ resilience and positive impact in the face of climate change and an uncertain future.

“We wouldn’t have made it this far without our brilliantly supportive customers and the hard work of the people who have worked with us over the years.”

Adam and Rita in Pitney, near Langport

Adam and Rita in Pitney, near Langport

The winners were announced at the National Organic Conference (NOC) on July 2, held in Kingsclere Estates, Hampshire, and organised by the Organic Farmers and Growers, with each receiving a prize of £1,500.

Lucy MacLennan, CEO of ORC, said: “This is the third year we have run the YOFGY Award and we continue to be encouraged by the quality of entrants who are tirelessly dedicated to organic farming practices.

“It not only recognises individual achievements but also inspires a collective movement towards a healthier, more environmentally conscious future. We are so proud of our shortlisted finalists and winners for the difference that they are making.”

Roger Kerr, CEO of OF&G, added: “We are very pleased to be hosting the YOFGY Award ceremony. NOC provides a platform for the organic community to come together to meet, share, discuss, and demonstrate organic food and farming in action.

“This year, we are thrilled to have two winners, honouring two growers and a farmer whose exceptional work deserves recognition. What better way to celebrate our community than by highlighting these remarkable individuals and the contributions they have made to organic farming.”

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