Discovering more about sustainable farming on LEAF Open Farm Sunday
With farmers managing over 70% of the UK land area, LEAF Open Farm Sunday (27th June) is a unique opportunity to experience the role British farmers play in enhancing and protecting the environment and fighting climate change through more sustainable farming. To find out more information about how to book on to a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event, please visit: https://farmsunday.org (Please note booking is essential)
But what is sustainable farming and why is it important?
- Climate positive farming means growing crops and rearing livestock in a sustainable, regenerative way, so our natural resources are replenished rather than depleted.
- More sustainable, nature-based farming is vital for helping maximise the productivity of farmland, so we can continue to feed the expanding global population. It is predicted that, by 2030, the world will need to produce 50% more food and energy, together with 30% more available fresh water, whilst still adapting to climate change (Beddington 2011).
- Farmers can help combat climate change through the implementation of sustainable farming practices, such as Integrated Farm Management (IFM), which is a holistic whole business approach that uses technology and traditional methods to deliver prosperous farming that enriches the environment.
LEAF Open Farm Sunday sees farmers all around the country opening their gates to show the public how they are helping the environment through sustainable farming. Below are examples of some of the farms who are taking part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday this year. Find out more here: https://farmsunday.org
A .J and C. I Snell, South Herefordshire
Event: 11.00am on Sunday 27th June 2021 – there are limited spaces, so pre-booking is essential.
Address: A.J & C.I Snell, Windmill Hill, Harewood End, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, HR2 8JS
About the farm: As one of the UK’s leading fresh and frozen fruit growers, A .J and C. I Snell are based near Ross on Wye in South Herefordshire. The 450-acre farm produces nearly 1,300 tonnes of
strawberries every year plus raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and redcurrants. A .J and C. I Snell, has been LEAF Marque certified since 2007 and is also a LEAF Demonstration Farm.
Join Anthony Snell and his family for LEAF Open Farm Sunday and see first-hand how they farm sustainably: “We grow organic and conventional soft fruits and berries, which are highly perishable, so they are sold in both fresh and frozen form to minimise food waste. We’ve already achieved ‘net zero’ status for greenhouse gas emissions on the farm by improving production efficiency – growing more food with reduced inputs – while locking up carbon in the grassland that covers the farm. Our fruit is grown on soil-free coir substrate and the ‘tabletops’ for fruit growing are installed on uncultivated grassland. We are also determined to drive down our demand for water and ensure that our use of this key resource is sustainable. We have achieved this by harnessing the heavy rainfall typical of the west of England through rainwater harvesting for use in crop irrigation during spells of drier weather.
“We have also installed a series of water storage lakes on the farm which means that we now have the capacity to collect the rain that falls on our land and polytunnels. This water, which is collected in the lakes and then circulated through the polytunnels throughout the growing season, would otherwise run off our land and down the valley, contributing to flooding risks. It also means we don’t place additional stress on water resources during the peak summer season.”
Frogmary Green Farm, Somerset
Event: 11am – 4pm on Sunday 27th June 2021
Address: Frogmary Green Farm, West St, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5DJ
About the farm: Frogmary Green Farm is a LEAF Demonstration Farm, showcasing best practice in sustainable farming. The 202-hectare farm is run by Nick and Claire Bragg. Frogmary Green Farm is an arable farm with high environmental standards running throughout the farm. Nick and Claire are almost self-sufficient in terms of electricity and heating on farm and across their diversification businesses after the implementation of an anaerobic digester. 95% of the heating used on farm comes from their own sources, which means the need for taking power from the grid is significantly reduced, and the power is coming from a sustainable source. Join Nick and Claire for LEAF Open Farm Sunday and see first-hand how they farm sustainably, along with tractors, farm machinery and animals. Food and drink are also available.
Ghyll Bank Farm,Cumbria
Event: 11am – 3pm on 27th June 2021
Address: Ghyll Bank Farm, Raisbeck, Orton, Penrith, CA10 3SG
About the farm: Ghyll Bank is a mixed livestock upland farm with native breed cattle, pigs and sheep. Run by husband and wife team Jenny and Lenny Bowes, the farm is committed to sustainable farming and use no artificial fertilisers. They also employ grassland management techniques to ensure they utilise grazing, sheep and cattle are totally grass fed and never receive any additional feed, and soya free feed is given to the pigs.
Jenny Bowes explains more: “We have undertaken a carbon audit and are on our way to becoming carbon neutral in the near future and we recycle all our farm waste. We also test sheep poo to reduce the amount of worming medicines we use and have reduced sheep numbers to manage them in a more natural way. We are working with the Lune Rivers Trust on flood mitigation projects and our farm is helping to slow the flow of water to the River Lune. Another way we are helping the environment is by restoring several traditional hay meadows and planting more trees and hedges. We have also planted wild bird feed strips on the land to encourage more birds and introduced several bee hives.”
Join Ghyll Bank Farm on LEAF Open Farm Sunday and meet their sheep, Belted Galloway Cattle, Longhorn Cattle and native breed pigs. Activities include sheep shearing demonstrations, children’s activities and fun competitions for all the family. Visitors will be able to see sustainable farming in action, from restoring traditional hay meadows and sourcing soya free pig feed to reducing carbon and using no artificial fertilisers.
Event 12pm – 4pm on 20th June – there are limited spaces, so pre-booking is essential.
Address: Light House Road, The Lizard, Near Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7NL
About the farm: The most southerly farm in mainland UK at the Lizard Point, Tregullas Farm in Cornwall is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve and SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for wild flowers. A small herd of Dexter cattle graze the cliffs in winter where the rarest flowers grow. Cattle are selective grazers and if managed well will keep the long grass down and allow the wild flowers to thrive. The farm is known for being in the location where the iconic chough returned to Cornwall in 2001. Rona Amiss from Tregullas Farm explains: “To help our thriving chough and bird population we have cattle that graze all year. We use no persistent wormers which helps invertebrates in the soil to thrive and provide adequate feed for the birds. By cutting silage late and growing cereal crops with reduced seed rates, we are able to give sky larks and ground nesting birds the opportunity to nest. We also use herbal leys and mixed cropping to improve our soils, as well as plant field margins and trees to keep our streams clean and healthy.”
Visitors are invited to visit Tregullas Farm for a community event which includes fun children’s activities including making seed bombs with locally grown wild flower seeds. There will also be sheep shearing demonstrations, talks about natural wool, self-guided farm walks, guided pond dipping, bee and pollinator displays, a BBQ, a local foodmarket and much more.
Hampton Estate Farms, Farnham
Event: 10.30am – 3.30pm on 27th June 2021
Address: The Estate Office, Elstead Rd, Seale, Farnham GU10 1JF
About the farm: The Hampton Estate Farms form part of the Hampton Estate, a traditional agricultural estate nestling on the southern side of the Hogs Back. They have a pedigree pasture fed beef herd and grow hops for regional breweries throughout the UK.
Bill Biddell from Hampton Estate Farms explains how they farm sustainably: “As certified Pasture for Life producers, we rear our cows with a regenerative ethos which ensures our soils sequester carbon. Our hop gardens in Puttenham are the last remaining commercial hop gardens in Surrey and we continue to grow high quality traditional Fuggle hops using the latest practices such as Integrated Pest Management.
“Our estate woodlands extend to 1,170 acres and comprise a mix of commercial conifer, chestnut coppice and broadleaf plantations. We actively manage our woodlands within a twenty-year long-term forest plan agreed with the Forestry Commission. We also aim to constantly increase our carbon sequestration. As a benchmark, we conduct an annual carbon audit across the entire estate which shows that that we have reached net zero emissions. Our extensive woodland replanting, hedgerow creation schemes and building the soil organic matter in our pastures, ensure that we sequester more carbon than we emit.
“The estate’s electricity is generated from 100% renewable sources, and we recycle all our agricultural and commercial waste. We have two woodchip biomass boilers, which provide heat and hot water for our commercial offices and residential properties. We use woodchip from the estate to fuel the boilers, creating a circular economy. There is a variety of biodiverse habitats around the estate that are derived from the geology of the area. The estate’s valuable habitats are home to many priority species including important bird species; nightjar, nightingale, woodlark, red kites and buzzards.”
Visit Hampton Estate Farms for LEAF Open Farm Sunday and find out more about its regenerative approach to farming. Meet their pasture-fed cows, explore the beautiful woodland trail, watch the forestry demonstration, learn about sustainable soil management visit the chickens and goats, watch the birds, learn about a forest school, plant a tree, run wild on the hay-bale playground, sit in a tractor! Home-made Pasture Fed Picnics will be available to buy on the day and for enjoying in the picnic paddock. Each picnic features Hampton Estate salt beef and sausages and tasty treats from local producers.
To find out more about LEAF Open Farm Sunday and how to book on to an event, please visit: https://farmsunday.org
You can read the full press release here.
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