Ever wondered how we run our events?
Last Tuesday, I started my day around 9am setting off to Norwich, picking up Belinda, Director of the Agri-Tech East initiative, and my boss! on the way. As soon as we arrive at the Norwich Research Park, we’re straight off to The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC). We’re meeting Stuart and Lana from the Centre to discuss our Young Innovator’s Forum, along with Ches and Rachel from the Norfolk Young Farmer’s club and Linn from Adapt. We’re hoping TGAC will host our next meeting in March, and discuss the possibility of guided tours, questions to pose attendees as discussion points between them, and offering pizza for sustenance!
Belinda and I then head over to Centrum café for a spot of lunch and a catchup meeting. Our primary concern is GROW, our business plan competition, and how to spread the word to interested parties.
I spend the afternoon catching up on emails, checking the attendees for the evening’s Pollinator event have all the info they need, and fetching all my kit from the car. By about 2.30 we’re ready to set up, popping up banner stands, sorting out the IT (which always has a problem, wherever you are!) and laying out all my delegate information. By 4pm, our first speaker and the coffee arrives, and we encourage everyone into the seminar room for the 4.30 start. Jamie, a farm manager in Norfolk, starts the meeting rolling with a warm welcome.
Uta from the University of Cambridge kicks off by describing the wonderful symbiotic relationship plants have with fungi – and also reveals the astonishing information that, 450million years ago, plants didn’t have any roots!! They relied on the fungi to act as their roots, which is how this relationship came about.
Jasper discusses a recently discovered contact-based pathogen that affects oil seed rape in particular. The staggering thing about this disease is that it could actually sit in the soil for up to 13 years – so eradication is nearly impossible.
Jon from John Innes Centre rounds up with an informative, albeit revolting, talk on slug invasions. Spanish slugs (large and brown coloured) are not only hard to get rid of, but are attracted by water and meat. He told us lovely anecdotes of slugs eating dog mess, a mouse carcass, and even another snail. There’s also a picture of a shed covered in slugs – attracted by the dog food inside. He actually conveyed a serious message about the dangers these slugs could pose to us, and how JIC are working to combat them before they are too huge a problem.
After a Q&A, we get to network over some snacks – I talk to everyone from agronomists, to scientists, to entrepreneurs, and we all makes some great connections and opportunities for collaboration.
Once everyone’s gone home, we clear up (double quick time!) and I’m finally home at 10pm.
Written by Becky Dodds