Victorian’s have emerged victorious in the 2013 AUSVEG Awards for Excellence, the most respected awards within Australian horticulture, which were announced last night at the AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence at Jupiters Gold Coast, Queensland.

Social media savvy potato grower Stuart Jennings, from Thorpdale in Gippsland, took home the coveted Rising Star of the Year Award, while Australian Bio-Plastics, based in Tatura in the Goulburn Valley, took home the Industry Impact Award.
“These awards celebrate those who lead by example in the Australian horticulture industry – they are the heroes whose passions are too often unrecognised by those outside the Australian vegetable growing community,” said AUSVEG Chairman John Brent.
AUSVEG is the leading voice for Australian horticulture, as the National Peak Industry Body representing 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
Stuart Jennings has established an online community of young Australian potato growers called ‘Young Potato People’, which aims at uniting and supporting younger people in the Australian potato industry.
“Initiatives such as ‘Young Potato People’ are vital, as the average age of an Australian potato grower is 58 and the industry recognises the need to encourage future leaders in an industry worth over $600 million,” said Mr Brent.
Mr Jennings said that the inspiration to start the online community occurred while he attended a potato growers Study Tour in 2012 to Belgium and Scotland alongside a host of other young industry members from all over Australia. 
Other Victorian winners for the night were Australian Bio-Plastics, distributers of Novamont ® and Mater-Bi ®, which are biodegradable plastic films, manufactured from renewable raw materials like corn and laid at the base of horticultural plants to retain water and prevent weed growth.  
“The effect that Australian Bio-Plastics will have on the Australian vegetable industry in the future is sure to be profound and they are worthy winners of the Industry Impact Award,” said Mr Brent.
 “The advantage of the product’s biodegradability is that they do not need to be collected once the plants have been harvested, meaning growers can save time and money, while still protecting their crops from weed pests,” said Mr Brent.
The Rising Star of the Year Award is sponsored by Coles, while the Industry Impact Award is sponsored by Visy.
“AUSVEG sincerely congratulates the Victorian winners, and thanks Coles and Visy for their support of the Australian vegetable and potato growing industries,” said Mr Brent.
For photographs, or to request an interview with award winners, please make contact with the AUSVEG representative below.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill, AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager
T: 03 9822 0388 I M: 0411 166 748 I E: