[8 September/ NZ Herald]

Mt Albert Grammar School (MAGS) Year 12 Student Fatima Imran loves agricultural studies and is inspired to pursue a career in the sector due to her experience at her school’s 9ha farm. Last Friday, the farm sod-cut for new multi-million dollar agri-food centre on the site. The centre will bridge the agricultural divide between rural and urban communities and encourage urban youth to be interested in the sector. Ms Imran is one of around 160 students at MAGS who studies NCEA-level agricultural and horticultural programmes, where students work on the model farm, handle stock, drive tractors, as well as learn other skills like agri-business. Chairman of the project’s advisory group, Mark Heer, said the agri-food sector needs more people seeing a career in the industry, and the centre will provide a more forward-looking facility for students and the community. The centre will allow 500 students to study agricultural courses at MAGS.