LSA Graduates

2019 Fellows

Charles Croft

Growing Manager, APS Group

Being part of the LSA Fellowship scheme has been a real privilege. I have attended multiple events that have been both interesting, thought provoking and useful in terms of taking ideas back to my place of work. Many of the events I would not have normally got the opportunity to attend and have benefited me hugely in terms of career development. I also feel the whole process has given me a much better understanding of the horticultural industry. All of the fellows are extremely knowledgeable and having the chance to discuss the similarities and differences between how our businesses operate has really opened my eyes to different ways of working and thinking. There is a huge range of diversity in terms of the different areas of the horticultural industry each fellow works and this has meant I have been able to learn a lot about areas of the industry I wouldn’t normally be exposed to. I would highly recommend the LSA fellowship scheme to any young person who is looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of the horticultural industry.”

Jason Daff

Horticulture Facilities Manager, University of York

Jason is the Horticulture Team Manager within the Biology Department at the University of York. In this role he is responsible for maintaining controlled environment growing facilities and providing plant husbandry advice to scientists. The research work spans from fundamental plant biology using model plants to near-market breeding and agronomy trials using major economic crops.

Jason studied Horticulture at Pershore College and has previously held roles with the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and in crop protection research and development for Syngenta.

“I have found being part of the fellowship scheme very useful, attending various meetings and conferences has been particularly useful for exposing me to a wider range of issues facing the horticulture industry. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect has been forging relationships with my fellowship colleagues; sharing our experiences and knowledge informally has helped me think about different ways to solve problems faced in my own work.”

Lucille Gilpin,

Horticultural Technologist, DAERA – CAFRE Greenmount

“I have had a fantastic year with the LSA CT Fellowship Scheme, I have learned a lot from our group, ranging from helping combat powdery mildew issues to how to make a good working environment. I believe my experiences gained have been vital in my progression within my personal and career development, with the conferences, contacts and general chat, I have gained much more confidence in myself allowing me to achieve fully in my current role. We have attended a wealth of conferences, meetings and more recently webinars, allowing us to make further connections in the industry. We all have different backgrounds within horticulture so it made conversations really interesting especially during Covid. The group is now my go-to group for all problems relating to horticulture!””

Libby Rowland

Research and Development Manager, Vitacress Herbs.

I joined the LSA Fellowship scheme in 2018, supported by my then-employer Vitacress Herbs, where I was responsible for research within the agronomy team for three and a half years. In November 2021 I joined Small Robot Company as Research Agronomist. The company develops robots for scouting of field crops. My role is to undertake research, collect field data and advise on agronomic topics.
The LSA Fellowship Scheme has been a wonderful opportunity to meet others in the industry, to learn from each other and to engage with industry leaders at a number of different events.


My time as a Fellow will end in December 2021, but I now have a network of other like-minded people who I can collaborate and share knowledge with. I wish the current and future fellows all the very best. The Scheme gives back what you put in, so make it yours!

Daniel Meuldyk

Grower Manager, James Coles & Sons Nurseries Limited

“I currently work at  James Coles Nurseries growing and supplying hardy nursery stock for a wide range of customers. I joined James Coles as a 16 year old not really knowing what horticulture was, but I have learned a lot along the way.

I have worked for James Coles for 18 years, progressing though the Company, spending my first 10 years in Tree Production learning news skills such as chip budding, fruit training and learning the tree names and requirements.

Following this, an opportunity came up as Grower Manager at our Syston site. Growing hardy shrubs was a new challenge for me as I needed to learn about a whole new crop of plants. However, this has given me a good insight into both sides of the business which has helped to widen my knowledge.

Within my time in this role I have had the opportunity to complete multiple courses such as Horticulture Level 2 and have gained two Spraying Licences.

I see myself as more of a hands on sort of guy that enjoys getting stuck in and getting my hands dirty. I hope to continue progressing in my role and to gain a broader knowledge of the industry as a whole.”

Matt Boyns,

Procurement Manager, Bakkavor

“After graduating in Mechanical Engineering, I took a temporary procurement position at Chingford Fruit Packers where a passion for produce was ignited. 3.5 years later, I moved to dps where I undertook a 6.5 year stint in fruit purchasing and account management roles. In 2014 I joined the salad grower PDM Produce as a commercial manager, a role which required exceptionally close relations with the farming side of the business. A deep passion for British farming and industry developed and in 2018 I joined the salad and herb supplier JWE.

Professionally I have been commercially focused, yet I’m inquisitive and have always taken every opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the produce business, especially in the science and real-world practicalities of growing. With interests in automation and mechanisation along with development of new cultivars, gene editing and breakthrough technologies such as AI and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, it is truly an exciting time to be alive with the world developing at such pace.

I hope to develop a cross category voice that will be far more coherent and influential than a single esoteric opinion. I hope to eventually be involved in the introduction and commercialisation of the great work done by our scientists and technologists looking for routes into industry.”

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