Jan Vydra our CEO is granted a 2016 Nuffield scholarship
It’s time to benchmark Fresh Leaf’s sustainable farming practices against the world
Jan Vydra, from Melbourne in Victoria, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by The William Buckland Foundation. He will investigate innovative ways to boost the yields and sustainability of fresh herb and salad leaf production.
Awarded the 2011 Australian Young Farmer of the Year, Jan is a co-founder and executive director of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH) at Clyde, 50 kilometres south east of Melbourne. This is one of the country’s leading producers of fresh leaf greens, with niche markets focusing on culinary herbs, micro-greens, edible flowers and novelty cresses.
Under Jan’s leadership, AFLH has expanded and diversified from producing 2000 bunches of basil each week in the late 2000s to current peak spring production of 160–180,000 units of product per week and employment of 40 full time equivalent staff.
“From the inception of the company, my focus has always been on understanding and developing sustainable and efficient ways to grow fresh produce,” he says.
“Since 2008, we have dramatically cut our water, land and labour use but I know there are opportunities to be even more efficient and sustainable.”
Jan says through his scholarship he will research new technologies to boost production per square metre and implementation of statistical farming systems for greater accuracy of performance measurement.
He plans to travel to Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Turkey and the United States to investigate greenhouse operations, urban agriculture, vertical cropping, seed growing and natural growing mediums.
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