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An important part of keeping our business fresh and forward-thinking is to keep searching for the next innovation. We want our business to lead the development of new varieties in our products. We want it to be Thanet Earth that trials and recommends new packaging materials for our customers and which pioneers new growing techniques and sustainability initiatives in our greenhouses.

New varieties that offer even better flavour are always on our wishlist. But to run your own variety development programme is a very complex and costly operation, and to take this on as a challenge within our commercial greenhouse at Thanet Earth is a step too far for us at present. Thinking creatively around our need for a research programme and our desire to build closer relationships with the next generation of horticulturists training in the UK, we’ve invested in the Thanet Earth Discovery Fellowship.

Thanet Earth offered the Horticulture degree students at Hadlow College the opportunity to apply for a paid part-time research position. The successful applicant would train in one of the tomato greenhouses at Thanet Earth and apply their knowledge by planting and operating a greenhouse at Hadlow College dedicated to variety development trials.

This would allow Thanet Earth to assess new varieties in an environment designed to closely mirror conditions at Thanet Earth. It would also allow the successful student the opportunity to undertake paid work experience in a commercially-driven placement, mentored by industry experts.

The Discovery Fellowship was awarded the Innovation of the Year prize at the 2014 Fresh Awards, recognising its importance to the fresh produce industry.

Jonathan Farthing is the 2014 Discovery Fellowship student for tomatoes, and Sally Channing has become our first student to work on trial varieties of peppers. More information about them and their experiences in the project will follow shortly.

Richard Killian was the 2013 Discovery Fellowship student. His blog has been archived - Read here ›

Planting Peppers

Jonathan Farthing – the 2014 Discovery Fellowship student begins planting the greenhouse.

Hadlow College student Sally Channing leads our  trials work on peppers this year.

Every week through the summer the
greenhouse provides a technicolour mix of trial tomato varieties.

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