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UK: Former asylum seeker awarded honorary horticulturalist degree

Writtle University College in Essex has awarded an honorary degree to gardener, horticulturalist, and former asylum seeker Kuda Chimbudzi.

On Friday, September 8, Kuda attended the University College's graduation ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral. The event celebrated the success of the Class of 2023 and highlighted Kuda's achievements.

Writtle University College's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Middleton, said: "We were delighted to confer honorary awards as part of our graduation ceremony. Kuda Chimbudzi is an inspiration to our students and has made incredible contributions to sustainable horticulture."

Kuda is an advocate for organic gardening and for increasing sustainable practices in horticulture while producing high-quality produce.

While taking a holiday to visit his sister in England, Kuda learned that he would face arrest if he returned to Zimbabwe, as his trip had not been approved. After gaining asylum in the UK, he began to pursue his interest in organic food production.

Kuda worked in a series of hands-on gardening roles and turned to books and educational courses to learn more.

He became the head gardener for the kitchen garden at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground, where he worked closely with the resident chef. Kuda grew nutritious, seasonal produce that was used to create healthy meals for more than 50 people, including professional footballers.

Kuda now works for Leicester City FC, where he continues to pursue his passion for horticulture.

Kuda said: "I love to learn, and I have the utmost respect for learning institutions, for they have a huge task of arming the leaders of tomorrow with inspirational wisdom, knowledge, and a great understanding of life."

"I would like to thank the Vice-Chancellor, the university, and the board for recognizing my work. Organic growing is safe, sustainable, and it makes financial sense. There are so many techniques to maximize productivity and to increase produce quality, and I think more awareness is needed to reduce soil and water pollution."


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