Student Jack Scott standing at his farm

Kent Stars: Horticulture Hero

This month’s Kent Star is Jack, Environmental Social Sciences student, who was named the 2023 BBC Countryfile Young Countryside Champion! Jack won the award for the horticultural work and public engagement initiatives he is involved in. Alongside running his own horticulture business, Jack works closely with his supply chains and customers. Hear from Jack:

Video transcription below.

“I’m Jack Scott. I study Environmental Social Science at the University of Kent in my last year, four more months to go. I also grow vegetables at Nonnington Farms, as well as being a farm advisor for Farming Wildlife Advisory Group South East.

An interesting fact about me is I won the BBC Countryfile Champion Award for 2023. BBC Countryfile came to the farm in August. We picked vegetables and delivered them up to one of our Michelin starred restaurants, Angela’s in Margate, so the TV crew could experience the whole farm to fork process. The awards ceremony was in late October and November in Newport in Wales.”

How did you feel about winning the 2023 BBC Countryfile Young Countryside Champion award?

“It felt weird being on national TV. It felt good too. Getting recognition for something that you’re attempting to achieve, the food to fork scheme, better knowledge, bringing education into it with children coming on to the farm through school visits.

We don’t just grow vegetables, we have the soil we look after. We’ve also got hedgerows we look after and we’ve got the nature element we try to incorporate. So sunflowers bring in the pollinators and supply bird feed for the winter months. So that just element there, you’re not just producing food that goes to someone who eats it, you’re also providing a habitat, you’re providing food for nature. So the two in harmony it makes me more joyful.”

Jack Scott receiving award

Do you have advice for other students?

“So I think just give it a go. The university runs quite a few initiatives for students to get involved in, such as the gleaning project. If you look at the university campus, on the north side, you’re surrounded by farms; go and ask them for a job. There’s loads of farmers out there wanting fruit pickers and general farm hands. Just get involved -you never know where it could lead.”

What are your plans for next year?

“We are a small agricultural business. We just finished our trial year where we experimented on what we can grow, if the market wants it and whether it’s profitable or suitable for the ground. So we’ve done that on one acre this year and it’s going really well.

For the future it is scaling up, so if we can increase our scale, we can start doing some of our larger orders and, we can start pick up a bit more the market in turn that should allow us to bring in employees or apprenticeships and business further financial sustainability.”

Student Jack holding basket of vegetables he has grown

What does the Right to Food mean to you?

“For me, the Right to Food is the right to food. So it’s having access to food, having the access to seeing how food is produced or reared. I think it’s just the enabling of better communications and generally just being involved, seeing it and buying more local. So buying it within five miles of the campus, it for me is vital to food and awareness.”

Find out more about the Right to Food project.

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Learn more about the Kent Stars campaign.