Capel Manor College was awarded a silver medal for its exhibit COMPOST ENERGY LIGHT at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Garden, domestic and agricultural waste are valuable commodities and College’s exhibit uses three zones to demonstrate how technology and science are used to transform waste into compost and the light plants need – creating the perfect recycling process.
Capel Manor College also enables its student to transform their lives through the acquisition of skills and knowledge. This exhibit has been designed by two ex-students to help them establish their garden design businesses.
The three “zones” explore:
· Composting of waste material
· Capturing and releasing energy using waste products
· Using “green” energy to grow plants and produce food
The project demonstrates how the College works closely with sponsors such as London Waste, Iona Capital and Future Garden to transform the horticultural industry by using their support to integrate technology into all aspects of plant production and bring the sector into the 21st century.
Giving students and staff at the College the opportunity to design and help create an exhibit at Chelsea – the greatest Flower Show in the world -is in itself a transforming experience, building confidence and adding impressively to students’ CV’s.
At another level is a transformation for Capel Manor College, as this year’s exhibit will be the last under the management of Dr Stephen Dowbiggin, OBE, FI Hort. Stephen, who has been Principal for 35 years, has overseen the College’s transformation from a training centre based just in Enfield, with 138 part-time students to the well-known and respected London-wide College it is today (with 3,000 students, five centres across London and Gardens (including the National Gardening Centre.
Steve started his career at the age of 14, as a market garden field worker for W.R Bennett and Sons at their farm in West London. Steve made a name for himself as a manager for Curtis & Cotterell in the 1970’s when he was involved in some of the first initiatives in the UK to grow and prepack vegetables for supermarkets.
His life has also been a transformation – horticulture enabled him to move from living on a council estate in London to holding one of the best and most enjoyable jobs in the land based sector! He has loved every minute and has no intention of retiring – he is looking for his next challenge which in itself he hopes will be another transformation!

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