The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation has awarded a grant to The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST). The grant will be used to support Giovanni Colapietro who will become the Highgrove Enterprises QEST Apprentice.
Throughout the duration of the apprenticeship programme, Giovanni Colapietro will learn about horticultural management related to maintaining organic farms and gardens. This will benefit his own plot of organic produce and support OrganicLea (his employer), which is a cooperative promoting locality and transparency of organic food production as well as the rehabilitation of Lea Valley’s horticultural heritage.
Giovanni originally studied political sciences before pursuing his dream of growing food and understanding how the management of the environment and soil affects food production. With the help of volunteers, Giovanni was able to grow a salad garden that won a 2015 award for best organic produce in London. Realising that he needed to understand more about the management of a larger area of land and its wildlife, he joined OrganicLea to learn more. In this time, he has already worked with them on creating organic wine such as a pinot noir.
With the support of The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation and its subsidiary Highgrove Enterprises Limited, Giovanni will be able to work and study on a full time basis, benefiting from 1:1 training provided by his employer. Throughout the Apprenticeship, Giovanni will work towards formal qualifications (accredited by City and Guilds) covering essential areas of Horticulture and Site Management. At the end of this Apprenticeship, Giovanni wishes to manage a large site within OrganicLea.
Highgrove Enterprises, which operates garden tours and a retail enterprise to raise money for The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, firmly believes that businesses can be successful while also serving wider social and environmental interests. The company is committed to embedding sustainable principles in its operations, while also supporting small businesses and craftspeople.
Chris Prescott, CEO at Highgrove Enterprises, says: “We are delighted to sponsor Giovanni’s apprenticeship in horticulture and organic food production through QEST, which was established to help support talented craftspeople of all ages and from all backgrounds. We hope that this grant will help Giovanni to reach his goals, while also contributing to the overall, pioneering work in organic land management and sustainability. We wish Giovanni the best of luck with his apprenticeship throughout the next year and look forward to seeing how he gets on.”