Lancaster University

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Biological Sciences Department Provides Educational Training for Waitrose

08/22/2002 16:16:50

The Department of Biological Sciences at Lancaster has been working closely with Waitrose, a group of Southern based food retail stores, to launch a tailor-made course in responsible agronomy to suit people of all ages and backgrounds.

The call by Friends of the Earth for a reduction in pesticides across the food retail industry has been fully endorsed by Waitrose, who recently announced the launch of a unique and groundbreaking educational initiative that underlines its long term commitment to the environment.

The course will lead to an externally accredited benchmark standard qualification in agronomy, the science of crop production management. Courses begin in January 2003, and will see the food retailers own food technologists receive the same training as its suppliers.

This initiative, which has already sparked considerable interest from Waitrose suppliers, will allow students to critically examine current practices within the industry and better understand emerging technologies. Course modules will explore subjects such as food safety, pesticides and organic production. As well as attending lectures and workshops at Lancaster University, candidates will also be required to complete a written assessment.

Dr. Mark Bacon, the Director of Plant Sciences for Industry at Lancaster University remarked, "This is a groundbreaking activity for the University and one which comes at an exciting time with a new building for the Lancaster Environment Centre and relocation of the Natural Environment Research Council's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology". Dr. Bacon added, "Waitrose has a strong record in considering the environmental impact of farming and we are pleased that such a prestigious company decided to chose Lancaster to develop their training programme".