Two leading horticulture companies, Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd and Eric Wall Ltd, both based in Chichester, have been launched as LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Demonstration Farms in recognition of their commitment to sustainable farming.
They are LEAF’s first glasshouse businesses to become LEAF Demonstration Farms and join a group of 40 other farms in the UK showcasing the very best of sustainable farming practices. LEAF Demonstration Farms act as ‘living classrooms’ demonstrating the sustainable farming principles of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) to other farmers, supply chain, conservation groups and members of the public. IFM is a whole farm business approach that delivers more sustainable farming. It uses the best of modern technology and traditional methods to enrich the environment and engage local communities.
Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd is one of Europe’s largest sweet pepper producers with more than 100 acres of state of the art glasshouse facilities in the UK and Spain. The business produces over 60 million sweet peppers every year and supplies major UK retailers as well as the wholesale market and has been LEAF Marque certified since 2003. The LEAF Marque is a leading assurance scheme recognising sustainably farmed products.
Some examples of the many ways Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd implements IFM include conserving energy and water through an on-site electricity generation plant, water recirculation and thermal screens. They also reduce waste as, at the end of the season, the used pepper plants are either composted or used as animal feed.
Eric Wall Ltd is a family run business and one of the largest tomato nurseries in the UK, growing top quality tomatoes with environmental care using the principles of IFM. It has been LEAF Marque certified since 2004 and has implemented a number of innovative approaches to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through more energy efficient boilers, upgrading heating pipes, insulating heating storage tanks and using thermal screens. The business also has an innovative sustainable water management system in place that includes rain water collection and an on-site reservoir. Water use on the site is monitored and benchmarked for maximum efficiency.
Both businesses already play an important role in their local community and have held community site visits and participated in LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday. As LEAF Demonstration Farms, they will play a critical role in demonstrating how top quality food can be produced under glass following LEAF’s IFM principles. They will continue to build on this and be held up as model examples of sustainable farming in practice in their roles as LEAF Demonstration Farms.
The official launch of both sites took place on Wednesday 13th May. Eric Wall Ltd was launched by Mary Bosley and gardening broadcaster, Pippa Greenwood launched Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd.
Welcoming the two new LEAF Demonstration Farms, LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “Our LEAF Demonstration Farms are at the very forefront of sustainable farming. We are delighted to welcome Eric Wall Ltd and Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd as LEAF’s first Demonstration Farms in the glasshouse sector. They are first class examples of how the principles of IFM can be implemented under glass on a large scale. Both sites will play a critical role in inspiring others in the food and farming industry as well as help raise awareness amongst the public about how their food is grown to high standards of environmental care.”