The rich history of Market Gardeners Limited (MG) can be traced back to 1923 when a small group of visionary growers formed the co-operative.
One of the key personalities in the early years was Mr William (Bill) Brinsley Nicolson. Bill started his career as a farmer before going on to spend time as a New Zealand clerk, local politician, builder, journalist, and editor. Fortunately, he was also a part-time market gardener, and because of his governance skills, was asked to chair the original board of directors. He also put his journalism skills to good use, producing a handwritten early history, in which he describes the establishment of the co-operative as a "great adventure".
Excerpt of An Early History of Market Gardeners Limited, by Mr William Brinsley Nicolson:
In time, success brought with it financial rewards but having personally taken part in the earlier days of the great adventure, I believe the leaders of the movement taught us to achieve success for its own sake rather than for material reward. Had not that spirit of high adventure been behind the struggle against odds it is extremely doubtful if success would have been achieved.
To use this simile of the conquest of Everest, there were crevasses to be bridged, obstacles to overcome or bypassed, cliff tops to be climbed by persistent step cutting and snow slides to be avoided.
What then was the guiding principle which energised the inventors of the firm of Market Gardeners Ltd? Was it not a revolt against what they firmly believed was an injustice? They were determined not to submit to what they conceived was an unfair deal, whether or not their actions have brought them material gain, and it was this spirit which sustained them in the long fight before they achieved their objectives.
They were well aware of the meagreness of their resources, but they were willing to risk all for the satisfaction of achievement.
The foregoing analysis, though it covers a much wider scope than the history of one organsation, it is not out of place if it makes clear what the writer believes was the sustaining principle which activated the endeavours of the organisation. Market Gardeners received a challenge - picked up the gloves in the spirit that to win the fight was far greater than the stakes for which they fought.