Anna Kavanagh joined Bord na Móna Horticulture Ltd in 2005, bringing with her more than 20 years of industry experience. Her role began as Professional Sales Manager for Ireland, later expanding into the UK, dealing with growers, distributors, manufacturers and other organisations worldwide. Today, Anna heads up the Technical, Quality, and Research and Development divisions of the business, covering both professional and retail portfolios. We caught up with her ahead of Glee to find out more about developments for Bord na Móna UK:
1. How important is sustainability to you? We understand that Bord na Móna champions responsibly-sourced growing media use within UK horticulture. Can you tell us more about this?
To me, sustainability is hugely important. It’s crucial that we protect the environment and ensure the health of the land, air and sea to support future generations. Bord na Móna has been actively working on peat alternatives for decades and is currently involved in a Responsible Sourced Growing Media project in the UK, looking at a predictive model for peat alternatives to ensure a more sustainable future.
2. Part of your job is to meet growers from around the world. Does this interaction help with the innovation of new products? And if so, how?
Meeting with growers and exploring different growing conditions and materials around the world is always a learning curve; as the population increases, so does the requirement for growing media. The focus of these meetings is often on propagation for food production and ornamentals, and examining product performance under different growing conditions in different countries obviously lends itself to innovation.
3. Tell us more about Bord na Móna’s approach to quality and new product development (NPD)
In recent years, Bord na Móna has seen increases in automation and scale of production, particularly on the professional side of the business. This rapid change means that quality and consistency are of paramount importance. In the NPD process, Bord na Móna has invested heavily in quality control, research and development (R&D) and independent growth trials to ensure its products achieve a high performance in the market place.
4. As Technical Manager, how important is the peat-free agenda to you?
The peat-free agenda is incredibly important to me, and I am proud that Bord na Móna has taken a leading role on this path. We already use peat alternatives in our growing media, and focus on more sustainable core ingredients such as green compost, bark, wood fibre and coir.
5. Bord na Móna has an extensive bog restoration programme. Are you involved in this and why is it important?
The rehabilitation of cutaway bogs falls under the remit of the Ecology Team, which has been in place since 2009. Over the last 10 years, more than 1,000 hectares of raised bog in the midlands have been restored and this work will continue in the future. As bogs come out of peat production, rehabilitation plans will be put in place to fulfil aspects of our sustainable responsibilities.
To find out more about Bord na Móna and the Bord na Móna Growise range, visit: www.thegreenergardener.com.