Victoria Rose grew up surrounded by dairy farms in Cheshire, and has always held the countryside close to her heart. But it was not until moving to Kent in 2013 that this fascination became a daily reality. With a keen interest in history and people, coupled with a love of investigating and writing, Victoria began her higher education studies at the University of Leicester where she read international relations and history.

After graduating with a first class honours degree, Victoria moved 250 miles away from her family home in Cheshire to take a job in Kent. “I had been offered a two week internship at a public relations agency to fill the gap between exams and graduation,” she said. “It was the ideal chance to put my writing skills into practice and to get a feel for a sector which had always interested me.”

While working at Coast Communications, Victoria cut her teeth on the region’s rural sector. “I was very lucky to be working with exciting clients in the agricultural sector such as BTF Partnership, Gullands Solicitors, Produced in Kent and Hadlow College,” Victoria explained. “Two weeks quickly turned into two months. I fell in love with Kent and four years later I am glad to be able to call the Garden of England my home.”

After relocating to the other side of the country from friends and family, Victoria decided to join her local Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) as a way of meeting people who shared her enthusiasm. “I had always heard great things about the YFC community and thought it would be the best way to meet new friends in the area and be more involved in the local farming industry.”

Victoria was quickly accepted into Ashford and District Young Farmers’ Club and soon joined the committee as head of marketing and publicity. “It allowed me to feel like I belonged to something more than just a weekly club and as a bonus, I could use the skills I was developing at Coast Communications to help promote the club’s various fundraising events such as the annual lambing day.”

With an extensive weekly programme of farm walks, talks, showing demonstrations and general social activities, Victoria became quickly immersed in the farming world. “Joining Young Farmers has given me friends for life and helped to shape my career. With access to vast opportunities from organising events, being part of a committee and participating in competitions, YFC allowed me to develop personal skills and opened my eyes to the many job prospects in agriculture.”

Furthering her responsibilities in YFC, Victoria also took an active role in the Kent Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, heading up the county’s marketing and publicity and eventually becoming vice chair for both Ashford and District and Kent County.

It was after working closely with marketing organisation Produced in Kent on its Taste of Kent Awards that Victoria found a true passion for the local food and drink sector. “I was fascinated by the incredibly strong link between producers and consumers and found it inspiring to see how many farmers had diversified. I suddenly had access to an extraordinary range of produce made only a few miles from where I was living.”

It was this determination to spread the message about quality local produce that led Victoria to join the Barnes family at Biddenden, Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard. The family had diversified from an apple orchard in the late 1960s and the 24 acre estate now produces a range of English wines, ciders and juices. “Working at Biddenden gave me the opportunity to promote local produce and really enthuse people across the South East about the importance of looking at where their food and drink comes from,” Victoria explained.

In her spare time you can find Victoria behind the lens of her trusted Canon 1200D capturing mainly animal and landscape shots, or in a barn just outside Ashford helping to restore vintage tractors (mainly old grey fergies) and getting her overalls dirty.

“I am immensely proud to be part of the agricultural industry,” Victoria added. “One of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ most used slogans is ‘you don’t have to be a farmer to be a young farmer.’ And you don’t have to be a farmer to be involved in one of the most dedicated, passionate and crucial industries in the country.”

Victoria is now looking forward to sharing the stories of the inspirational businesses, families and individuals who make the South East’s farming industry what it is today.