Vitacress to launch new Farm Excellence programme

Vitacress, in partnership with LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT), will launch Vitacress Farm Excellence, with LEAF Marque certification on World Environment Day on the 5th June.

Vitacress Farm Excellence with LEAF Marque certification is an outcome-based approach to measuring environmental improvements through ecological appraisals and surveys, individually tailored conservation management plans and bespoke LEAF Sustainable Farming Review Reporting with KPIs and action plans for continuous improvement.

The new programme will ensure that Vitacress’ farming techniques across leaf crop, protected growing and aquaculture are taken to the next level in sustainable farming and are ready for the new agricultural and environmental legislative changes that are coming.

Vitacress has a core commitment to sustainability, demonstrated by its value of: “We care: we make decisions for sustainable growth and are determined to leave things better than we found them. Our people care for and endeavour to protect and enhance nature, our growing business, and the communities in which we work.”

LEAF Marque provides assurance and credibility to Vitacress’ sustainability credentials, as part of Vitacress Farm Excellence. LEAF Marque delivers bespoke reporting to give recognition to Vitacress’ inspiring and innovative progress in sustainable farming. LEAF Marque’s expertise in upskilling farmers facilitates the longevity of the project, in addition to enabling an approach that is tailored to each farm.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) is the leading conservation body across the two counties. The Trust is proud to partner with Vitacress on the Farm Excellence programme in line with their Wilder strategy to promote sustainable farming and nature’s recovery. Arcadian Ecology and Consulting is a wholly owned subsidiary of HIWWT who have worked with Vitacress Farm Excellence to provide professional ecological and farm advice.

Martin de Retuerto, HIWWT Director of Projects & Services, said “We’ve shared a journey with Vitacress for nearly fifteen years. Through a number of initiatives Vitacress have invested considerably in both research and conservation programmes. The Vitacress Farm Excellence standard is the next step on their journey, raising the bar for others, while providing the opportunity for their business to contribute the recovery of wildlife in the broader landscape.”

Lucy Redmore, technical coordinator at LEAF added “Vitacress Farm Excellence is an exemplary demonstration of a company making a firm commitment to the delivery of more sustainable farming, including water, energy and waste management, pollution control, crop health and protection as well as community engagement. We are delighted to be working together as part of this unique collaboration which drives forward a food and farming system that encourages nature and landscapes to thrive and helps farmers adapt to the changing environmental landscape”.

Ahead of the programme launch, HIWWT have worked with Vitacress to produce a baseline ecological audit and the programme partners will work together in 2020 to develop conservation plans for each site based on recommendations from the audit. Over 2020, LEAF will develop bespoke reporting, with KPIs and action plans for continuous improvement, building conservation plans into the wider IFM (Integrated Farm Management) approach.

Leah Mathias-Collins, Vitacress Environment Manager, who pioneered the new programme, commented “This approach will help us to ensure the sustainability of the natural resources on which we depend and play our part in addressing the ecological and climate crisis. The Vitacress scheme is unique in the working partnership between key experts in their fields.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.