David Pratt, who graduated from the program in 2007, won the award in the “Recent Graduate” category, in recognition of the impressive strides he has already made in his career. His work as head grower at Sundrop Farms in Australia has the potential to make the world’s deserts come alive.
While agriculture uses about 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply, Sundrop discovered a cost-effective method to produce food using the sun’s warmth to remove salt from seawater, saving millions of litres of fresh water and millions of barrels of oil. Pratt developed a sustainable greenhouse growing system that enables the technology to be used in coastal, arid areas around the globe.
Sundrop is now undergoing a $30-million expansion, and starting a Sahara Forest Project in the Middle East.
“This award is something that I hold very dear to my heart and to be recognized with the award is beyond a privilege,” he said. “It really shows how powerful and how noticed Niagara College’s greenhouse technician program is in the agricultural industry, in the horticultural industry, and in the greenhouse industry.”
The Premier’s Awards were handed out Nov. 26 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel in Toronto. More than 830 people attended the awards gala celebration.
This was the second consecutive year that Pratt was nominated for a Premier’s Award.
For an in-depth look at Sundrop Farms' operations, check out this recent article in the The Guardian.