FAST - Key Persons
After leaving school Andy started working for Wakeley Bros in the early 1980's as a forklift driver, QC and then running the packhouse. He then went on to work for .....Read More
With South African origins and British roots, after college Charles worked as a Senior Farm Manager of a top fruit family run farm in the Elgin Valley, near Cape Town for nine years gaining valuable experience in operations, teamwork and financial management abilities.
Finding the best path forward with a friendly deposition and flexible nature encouraged Charles to tackle any challenge with an open-minded approach. Seeking to expand his knowledge and gain personal growth by adding value to the team with his experience to a new and challenging role as Top Fruit Advisor within FAST LLP. Having grown up on a fruit farm this is a part of his nature, making him extremely passionate about agriculture.
Charles seeks to develop the sustainability and biodiversity sector of agriculture and break the boundaries of innovative technologies used on farms by bringing revolutionary ideas and solutions to the farmer which are realistic and economical.
After completing my schooling, I started working in the agriculture industry. I joined an international soft fruit farm in my hometown of George, Western Cape, South Africa. I then moved on to a farm in the United States of America, where I gained individual practical and hands-on experience and it is this experience I applied into my future in the agricultural industry.
Based in the west of England, living in Herefordshire but travelling widely, Graham provides advice to tree and berry fruit growers. Specialising in plant husbandry, fertigation, biological control and modern growing systems, Graham has more than 30 years of experience in consultancy, but his career has included spells as as a grower and a farm manager. Graham acts as an advisor to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (soft fruit sector panel) and has travelled widely overseas promoting, and advising on, protected growing systems for fruit crops.
‘I was very fortunate after a period of travelling during which I found myself working as a labourer on fruit farms in Australia and New Zealand, my degree course at Bath University involved a series of placements out in the horticultural industry. Those included a spell at what was then the New Zealand Apple & Pear Marketing Board and one at FAST who offered me a full-time position when I graduated. Right from the start there was never a dull moment at FAST. Having spent a few years away from FAST between 2001 and 2006 I am even better placed to appreciate the benefits of working within a team of enthusiastic specialists entirely focussed on extending horticultural science into practice in a dynamic sector of food production that is so quick to innovate'.
Based in the west of England, living in Herefordshire but travelling widely, Graham provides advice to tree and berry fruit growers. Specialising in plant husbandry, fertigation, biological control and modern .....Read More
I grew up in Beckenham and moved to Faversham with my parents in 2001. I studied Sciences and Animal care at Canterbury College and have over 12 years of Administration experience. .....
Graduating with a BSc (Hons.) in Agriculture from Seale-Hayne Agricultural College (Plymouth Uni.), my first few years of agricultural experience was dominated by livestock, with some arable thrown in for good measure; coming from the west country I had expected that to continue.
- Managing Partner & Soft Fruit Advisor
John graduated from Wye College (University of London) with a BSc (Hons) in Plant Sciences. For the next five years he worked in farm management growing outdoor salad and vegetable crops, including a few months in Spain.
Joining FAST over 30 years ago, John has been specialising in soft fruit crops since August 1989 advising growers throughout the UK as well as in a handful of European countries.
I hold an MSc in Renewable Natural Resources and Development, with fieldwork in the forests of Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda. Following on from this I worked on a research project in Hong Kong, looking at the role of birds in the dispersal of invasive plants.
I joined the team at FAST, as Horticultural Curator of the National Fruit Collection, in 2013, where my work includes walking the orchards to check the health of the trees and organising repropagation where necessary. I'm also the go-to person for supply of graftwood from the many varieties that we hold in the Collection (over 3000!) and while there are many great aspects to the role, probably the best part for me is recording the blossom in springtime - there's not much that can beat ‘having' to walk through an orchard full of blossom.
I hold an MSc in Renewable Natural Resources and Development, with fieldwork in the forests of Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda. Following on from this I worked on a research .....Read More
I lived on a mixed fruit, hops, arable, and grassland farm in Kent for the first 20 or so years of my life but was more interested in becoming a scientist than in farm work. I became a Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the UK's Learned and Professional Society for the Chemical Sciences and was subsequently awarded the status of Chartered Chemist (CChem) through the RSC and of Chartered Scientist (CSci) through the Science Council.
My career started in the food industry where I worked in research, as an Analytical Chemist in a confectionary factory, and in new product development before I moved to a large multi-national Agri-business stability testing new agrochemical formulations.
I joined FAST as their Laboratory Manager in 1999. My current role is to carry out soil and mineral nutrient analysis of plant material such as leaves and fruit, and give fertiliser advice to growers based on the results of these tests. As such, since joining FAST I have become accredited as a FACTS Qualified Advisor.
After leaving school in the dim and distant past with a clutch of useless O-levels, I completed a light engineering course at Southampton Technical College and then travelled and worked extensively in Europe to gain some life skills, a marvellous tan and very little money.
I've had an interesting and varied career path since then, ranging between haulage, logistics, international sales, the Eurotunnel project, motorhomes, caravans, agriculture and people management, which has given me a wealth of varied and useful experience.
After over 13 years as a Senior Operations Manager for S&A Produce at Hernhill Nursery and a pleasant year travelling in Europe under my own steam, I found my spiritual home and new challenges with FAST - a move I have never regretted.
- Assistant Scientific Curator
I carry out the field work and recording of the National Fruit Collection (based in Brogdale, Faversham) in conjunction with Dr Matt Ordidge, who is the Scientific Curator of the .....
After graduating from the University of Bucharest with a bachelor's degree in Food Quality Control and Safety Technologies, I decided that it would be beneficial to develop new skills within .....
I am from Tasmania, Australia, and after completing my University degree I became an Agronomist and worked on my family's salad farm for four years.
Moving to England in 2016, I did various seasonal work involving insect monitoring in the soft fruit industry before joining FAST in March 2018 as a Soft Fruit Advisor.
I am based in London and visit growers all over England carrying out crop walking services and giving advice on all aspects of growing for various soft fruit crops. During the winter months I carry out strawberry flower mapping services for our members to help with making informed decisions and crop forecasting.
I am from Tasmania, Australia, and after completing my University degree I became an Agronomist and worked on my family's salad farm for four years. Moving to England in 2016, .....Read More
Sue left Maidstone College back in the late 70's with secretarial qualifications, her first job was at Guy's Hospital Medical School which was extremely interesting, but she says she was a bit squeamish. Moving around Kent for many years before settling in Faversham in 1987 where she met and married her husband of 31 years.
Sue joined FAST in January 1989 as Eric Gunn's secretary. On seeing the orchards outside the old North Street office, she had expected to see orchards of big old apple trees not the multi row beds that were so popular back then. In 1992 Eric retired and Sue left to start a family. Returning to FAST in 1994 (part-time) to new Directors but still the same drive and innovations of how to help improve the fruit growing industry which continues today.
Sue's role in FAST has changed over the years, helping with invoicing, setting up new systems, IT and communication, programming and finally getting the title Office Manager. This role is a bit of everything all rolled into one - and she is still enjoying it.
I joined FAST Ltd in 2005 becoming a Partner in FAST LLP in 2013. My background is more business than farming, but I found my experience of assisting business start ups gave me a greater understanding of what it really means to run your own business. I certainly feel that I have agriculture ‘in my bones' now and I'm as passionate about the success of our growers as any of our advisors.