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People in the industry

Ensuring that British leafy salads are grown to the highest standards relies on a variety of dedicated industry professionals who are responsible for different links in the chain. From the workers who plant the seed through to the agronomists, growers and industry advisors – each has an important role to play. Here are just some of those links in the leafy salad industry chain….

Jackie Harris, Chairman of the BLSA

Jackie has been in the fresh produce industry for over 30 years starting out at the tender age of 14 working for a local market gardener.

During that time Jackie has worked in a range of roles starting out on the field leading on to Supervisory and Management roles within the Quality Assurance and Technical Department.

Jackie has been with her current employer Valefresco a leading Salad and Babyleaf grower for the last 3 years managing all Technical aspects. With over 1000 acres of outdoor salads and over 45 acres of protected cropping, the role is both challenging and rewarding.

Jackie previously worked within fresh herbs and salads where she was a member of the British Herb Trade Association and was also a member of the AHDB Field Vegetable Panel.

Jackie hopes to raise the profile of the salad industry as Chairman by being actively involved in its promotion at every available opportunity.

Charlie Kisby, Vice Chairman

Charlie graduated with BSc in Biology from the University of York in 2002. Following this he completed the MDS Graduate training scheme in 2004 having done placements at Vitacress, Barfoots of Botley, Flamingo UK and G's. He started working for G's full time in 2004 as Organic Farm Manager; Responsible for the Organic growing and harvest operations for 4 years at a time when the Organic sector was experiencing rapid growth. Charlie moved to his new role as product manager for Leafy salads in 2008, responsible for managing supply of little gem, speciality and babyleaf crops which took him to Spain for a winter season, working with G's Spanish farms supplying both the UK and European markets. From there he took on Iceberg and Romaine crops and then became Product Director for Leafy Salads in 2014; responsible for the strategic direction of leafy salads within the G's group, with a focus on varietal development and innovation. He is currently involved in a number of Agri-tech innovation areas, working with a number of academic institutions such as Cambridge, Cranfield and John Innes Centre.

Charlie is from a 5th Generation of a farming family from just over the border in West Norfolk, so farming is in his blood. Upon taking on the role as Vice Chairman Charlie commented that "It really feels like an exciting time to be involved in agriculture as we harness new technologies to produce more food from the same or less inputs, and G’s is a great family farming business embracing these new techniques"

David Norman, Technical Director

David is an independent consultant agronomist with over 25 years of practical experience in intensive commercial production of vegetable and salad crops. He has a degree in Environmental Plant Geography from Reading University where he studied plant root and soil interactions.

He has certificates of competence from BASIS, FACTS and HACCP, is a founder member of the Vegetable Consultants Association and is a BASIS tutor and examiner.

After graduation he worked as a research agronomist with PGRO and then MAFF. Following this he spent 10 years as an independent consultant agronomist with ADAS, before launching his own independent consultancy business, Fresh Produce Consultancy in 1993. Since 1993 Fresh Produce Consultancy has provided a range of technical, agronomy and precision services to vegetable and salad producers, mainly in East Anglia. David sits on the AHDB salads R&D group, the ADHB allium R&D group and is an elected member of the AHDB Field Vegetable Panel which decides on research spending priorities across the field vegetable and salad sectors.