Each year, AUSVEG recognises a leading female member of the Australian horticulture industry who has demonstrated outstanding ability and success in her chosen field. In this edition, Michelle De’Lisle speaks with previous Women in Horticulture award winners, Kerri-Ann Lamb and Tina Lamattina, who received the accolade in 2012 and 2015 respectively. The Boomaroo Nurseries Women in Horticulture award for 2021 will be handed out at the National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, to be held at Hort Connections on 9 June.

Since taking home the Women in Horticulture award in 2015, Kerri-Ann Lamb has been able to explore opportunities within the industry and gain knowledge in the key areas that interest her.

Kerri’s business is Wickham Farms, based at Killarney in Queensland’s Southern Downs region. The operation produces potatoes all-year round in strategic locations across the state, along with onions and pumpkins for fresh-cut processing.

Strategically aligning the business has been a focus over the past five years.

“Thinking positively about the future is important as well as positioning the business to be agile enough to respond to opportunities from customer and consumer trends,” Kerri says.

“Putting yourself ‘out there’ is quite difficult and sometimes as a female in a male-dominated industry it can feel a little overwhelming. Being recognised for excellence and professionalism within the industry enhances your courage to build and maintain important industry networks as well as tackling big decisions to ultimately grow your business.”

Opening doors

Between 2015 and today, Kerri has grabbed opportunities presented to her with both hands. She completed a Women and Leadership Australia (WLA) course in 2016 and more recently, a Nuffield Scholarship.

“The leadership study was very self-reflective, well-structured and professional. I highly recommend it to other women in the industry,” Kerri says.

“The WLA course was pivotal as it allowed me to calibrate my career path goals and aspirations, one of which was to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship.”

Kerri received the Scholarship in 2019, which was a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

“Completing a Nuffield Scholarship has allowed me to extensively broaden my knowledge of the potato industry, in Australia and abroad. The knowledge I have gained will continue to evolve and translate directly into functional improvements within my family business and the wider industry. There is such value in the scholarship as it allows the horticulture industry to collaborate, innovate and nurture future leaders.”


Kerri-Ann Lamb, winner of the 2015 Women in Horticulture award.

Promoting a healthy message

In August 2020, Kerri appeared on Channel 10’s My Market Kitchen along with Hort Innovation’s Jemma O’Hanlon to show viewers how to make a healthy version of fish and chips using Wickham Farms’ potatoes.

“The potato somewhat still suffers from a ‘carbs are bad’ message, so getting the story right is about health, nutrition, versatility and provenance of potatoes is critical,” Kerri says.

Shows such as My Market Kitchen are important to the horticulture industry, Kerri adds.

“We know most nights families just need to get the food on the table. Cooking shows, influencers, storytelling, and social media have a significant impact on consumers, and it is important that industry messaging is effective and efficient,” she says.

“When the horticulture industry is taking centre stage, we can get messages across that potatoes are fresh, convenient, versatile, healthy, and sustainably grown right here in Australia.”

Driving the nutrition message is important to Kerri, and something she enjoys about her work.

“I believe providing sustainable and nutritious food is one of the most rewarding things a person can do,” she concludes.