Edward Back, founder of seven-member Sussex growers’ co-operative Farplants, has died aged 78.
Back had been with the National Agricultural Advisory Service (later ADAS) and then advised the Farmers & Growers co-operative (Fargro). In 1972, he had the idea of bringing seven nurseries belonging to Fargro together as Fargro Plants to grow on soil-less composts.
They were growing edibles and flowers but Back felt they had enough experience of commercial glasshouse-growing to raise garden plants successfully. His idea was to divide the list of ornamental plants, with each specialising on a smaller range. He liked the idea that a co-operative was best to handle sales, transport and marketing.
In 1985, Back helped to revolutionise plant marketing by setting up Pride of Place Plants with Blakedown Nursery.
Fargro Plants became Farplants in the 1980s. Back retired in 1989. David Tristram, owner of Fargro member Walberton Nursery, said: “Edward’s concept proved to be a very good one. He was a man of great ability and vision who made a very big contribution to hardy ornamental nursery stock horticulture.”
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