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About Jan

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A fresh perspective on food production

Over the next 30 years humanity is being faced with the challenge to produce 70% more food per year. Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs executive director and 2011 Australian Young Farmer of the Year, Jan Vydra believes it will take a collaborative effort to find viable solutions and is keen to contribute.

It’s Jan’s forward thinking and innovative approach that has led Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH) to be 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. The business, located in Clyde, Victoria, has grown rapidly in a short time frame, but Jan believes it’s really only the beginning in terms of what he’d like to offer not only in fresh leaf greens, but contributing to the overall future food challenges.

Under Jan’s leadership, AFLH has expanded and diversified from producing 2,000 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 staff.

From the company’s inception Jan’s  focus has always been on understanding and developing sustainable and efficient ways to grow fresh produce.

Since 2008, Jan and his team have worked hard to dramatically cut water, land and labour use, but Jan knows there are opportunities to be even more efficient and sustainable.

Through his scholarship Jan will research new technologies to boost production per square metre and implementation of statistical farming systems for greater accuracy of performance measurement.

He will be travelling 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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