Alberta growers in awards spotlight

April 30, 2009
Written by
There were three other award winners in the spotlight during the AGGA banquet, held during the annual Green Industry Conference in Edmonton. This year’s conference (www.greenindustryshow.com) will be held Nov. 19-20, again at the Shaw Conference Centre.

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Dietrich Kuhlmann, at left, congratulates Allan Nielsen
 
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
This award recognizes excellent contribution, service and dedication to the Alberta greenhouse industry.

Allan Nielsen, Professional Gardener Co.; award presented by Dietrich Kuhlmann of Kuhlmann’s Market Garden & Greenhouses
Allan Nielsen began his career in 1962, working in Golden West Seeds retail and retail/wholesale stores in Calgary and Edmonton. The company later changed its name to The Professional Gardener Co. Ltd. 

As of Feb. 1, 2009, he completed 47 years with the company.

Nielsen completed a four-year correspondence course from the University of Guelph and served seven years on the AGGA board.

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Nicole Regimbald, at left, representing Sun Gro Horticulture, congratulates Grower of the Year award winner Tam Andersen.
 
GROWER OF THE YEAR
This award is presented to an AGGA in recognition of their innovation and efforts to promote and grow the industry.

Tam Andersen, Prairie Gardens Ltd.; award presented by Nicole Regimbald of Sun Gro Horticulture.

Tam Andersen is the owner of Prairie Gardens, a successful greenhouse and rural tourism operation near Edmonton. She graduated from the Olds College horticulture program in 1981.

Andersen was a Royal Bank Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominee in 2006. She received the Alberta Direct Farm Marketer of the Year Award in 2004.

Prairie Gardens hosts many on-farm activities each year, including its Haunted Pumpkin Festival, which was featured on Network 10 in Australia, and the Guangzhou  Daily, the largest daily newspaper in South China.

Andersen was a regular presenter on the CTV Noon News Gardening Series last summer. 

Andersen is a past chairperson of the Edmonton Region Tourism Group. She has been involved in several agri-tourism initiatives and helped secure a $1.2 million dollar grant from Alberta’s Rural Development Fund to develop a sustainable rural tourism program in the Edmonton region. The program has won numerous awards and is widely known for its marketing success.  

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Berta Briggs, centre, with her daughter, Andrea Cleland, and presenter John Bouw.
 
HERB KNODEL AWARD
This award is given to a retired grower for outstanding service to the Alberta greenhouse industry.

Berta Briggs, Arber Greenhouses Ltd.; award presented by John Bouw of Dentoom’s Greenhouses

Berta Briggs has owned Arber Greenhouses Ltd., situated just outside of Wetaskiwin, since 1981. Featured is a 30,000-square-foot greenhouse located on a 100-acre site.

Arber is now a full-service greenhouse/garden centre growing annuals, perennials, tropicals, poinsettias, trees and shrubs.  Throughout the years, Briggs has offered educational courses and radio spots. She has supported many employees through educational programs, including the Landscape Gardener program at Olds College.

In 1999, she was named the Alberta finalist, in the Impact on the Local Economy category, for the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year awards program. 

Briggs has served the industry in many capacities. She was a member of the AGGA board of directors from 1991 to 1995, and was active in leadership roles with 4-H for many years, receiving the “Friend of 4-H” award for the West Central Alberta region in 2001.

Last spring, she was honoured with the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition by the Rotary Club of Wetaskiwin. 

Briggs has served as a national judge for Communities in Bloom since 2000, and has travelled extensively across Canada, Europe and the U.S. reviewing participating CIB communities.

In 2007 Berta was asked to speak at a Botanical conference in China.

Her daughter and son-in-law, Andrea and Jeff Cleland, have become co-owners of the business, allowing Berta a little more free time to pursue interests such as travelling and volunteering.

• www.agga.ca

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