New perspectives on sustainable soil management
LEAF's Simply Sustainable Soils booklet has taken a step further and you can now see Simply Sustainable Soils in action on farms across the UK. There are six preview soil case studies available on the LEAF website and a further 17 will be available to LEAF members soon.
The case studies feature practical on-farm data and guidance behind the assessment in the Simply Sustainable Soils booklet. This data has been compiled into a set of case studies to act as a reservoir of suggestions and ideas for farmers looking at their soil management.
Big Farmland Bird Count
1st - 7th February 2014
This year, GWCT is launching the first annual Big Farmland Bird Count, in partnership with LEAF and the FWAG Association, sponsored by BASF. We're urging our members to take part to help determine how our farmland bird species are faring and to highlight the good conservation work being undertaken on farmland across the UK. Click here for more details and to take part.
What is the Big Farmland Bird Count?
The count will take place between the 1st and 7th February 2014, and involves to spending about 30 minutes recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of your farm. Interested? Click the link below and sign yourself up - make the first Big Farmland Bird Count a great success!
The countdown begins to Open Farm Sunday 8th June 2014
Register early to help Celebrate British Farming and Food
Registrations for next year’s Open Farm Sunday opened on Sunday (1st December) and organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are encouraging farmers to sign up as early as possible.
To help and support host farmers to open on 8th June 2014, LEAF are organising a series of free Information Events, running from early February to late April across Britain. Packed with advice, top tips, key learnings and new ideas, these events are also a great opportunity to share experiences with experienced hosts.
Farmers planning to host an Open Farm Sunday event can register online at www.farmsunday.org. Registering as early as possible ensures farmers get all their free resources early as well as ongoing help and support from LEAF throughout the run up to the big day.
Sign up here and download the full press release here.
BASIS and LEAF launch new Integrated Farm Management course
BASIS and LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are launching a new Integrated Farm Management (IFM) course, designed to provide farmers and advisers with the skills and knowledge to take a whole farm approach to more sustainable farming.
Rob Simpson, BASIS Managing Director says: “The changing pace and demands on our food production systems require a more sustainable approach to farm management. Implementing IFM principles enables farmers to operate profitable businesses capable of both producing quality food and managing the environment sensitively.
IFM provides a sound basis for the development of farm assurance schemes, in particular LEAF Marque. The course also plays an important role in developing the knowledge and skill of any adviser, agronomist or consultant, especially in the delivery of the Thematic Pesticide Strategy and Integrated Pest Management.
Read the full press release here.
Elveden Farms Joins Network of LEAF Demonstration Farms
Elveden Farms has become the latest farm to join LEAF’s nationwide network of LEAF Demonstration Farms. It joins over 40 other farms across the country set up to showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices.
Based in East Anglia, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, Elveden Farms is one of the largest single farm units in lowland Britain, extending to 9,100 hectares, specialising in the production of vegetables, including potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips. It also grows a variety of cereals including barley and wheat and is the largest producer of rye in the UK. The farm is LEAF Marque certified, which means it is independently audited to ensure it meets stringent sustainable farming standards.
Download the press release here.
LEAF’s Chief Executive awarded an Honorary Doctorate
Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) will receive an honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University in recognition of her work to combine modern farming with conservation and in engaging the public in farming matters.
Caroline has worked for LEAF since it was established in 1991 and was recognised for her contribution to the farming industry as a Pioneer for the Life of the Nation by Her Majesty the Queen. In 2009, she was awarded an MBE for services to the agricultural industry. Caroline also sits on a number of government and independent committees and is actively involved in many industry partnerships.
On receiving her honorary doctorate, Caroline said: “I am hugely privileged and honoured to be recognised in this way. Harper Adams University has a long tradition of inspiring young people to make a difference. Our work at LEAF is about working towards a sustainable agricultural industry where the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the next generation of farmers can be realised. It is important to stress that this degree recognises the high calibre of staff at LEAF, who work hard to support our members and help to make my job possible.”
Caroline will be presented with her honorary doctorate at the Harper Adams Graduation Ceremony at 2.30pm on Friday 20th September. Other awards are being made to Stephen Woodgate, Professor Sir John Beddington and the Duke of Westminster.
LEAF Marque celebrates 10 years
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the LEAF Marque, a global assurance system recognising sustainably farmed products. The LEAF Marque was first launched during the Wimbledon Championships in July 2003, giving recognition to farmers producing food to LEAF’s sustainable farming practices.
During LEAF Marque’s first year, over 150 farmers achieved certification representing some 10,000 hectares of fruit and vegetables. Members of the public wanting to buy products carrying the LEAF Marque were able to find them in Waitrose, which were the first supermarket to stock LEAF Marque products.
Key achievements since LEAF Marque launched:
2003: Over 150 farmers signed up for LEAF Marque, representing some 10 000 hectares of fruit and vegetables. LEAF Marque produce became available in Waitrose stores across the UK.
2004: LEAF buyers and suppliers directory launched to put likeminded suppliers and buyers in touch.
2005: Burts Chips became the first brand to use the LEAF Marque on pack.
2007: LEAF Marque became global and Marks and Spencer encouraged all of its suppliers to become LEAF Marque certified.
2011: LEAF Marque was recognised in Defra’s plans for food procurement. Cited as one of the ways the Government can meet its sustainability targets.
2012: Florette set out its commitment to source 100% LEAF Marque salad for its full salad range and Unilever committed to sourcing 100% of its oilseed rape from LEAF Marque growers through ADM.
2013: Waitrose announced it will source all of its UK grown oilseed rape and wheat from LEAF Marque growers.design process, monitoring and evaluation and the implementation of the assurance process. Compliance ensures that standards strive for continuous improvement and use credible and effective systems that are more likely to deliver positive social and environmental impacts.
Download the full press release here.
Owen Paterson calls for GM in the UK – Statement from LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming)
Owen Paterson called for businesses to come to the UK if they want to research and develop GM technology. Speaking at Rothamsted Research yesterday, Mr Paterson said, “We cannot expect to feed tomorrow’s population with yesterday’s agriculture. We have to use every tool at our disposal.”
Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive, said, “GM technology has the potential to benefit the sustainability of farming systems in the UK. However, the potential benefits to farmers and consumers need to be clearly identified and weighed against the possible risks and there are several areas that cannot be neglected.
“One of these is the need for more research into GM technology. We need to be able to establish the development of plants that have greater resistance to pests and diseases, more resilience to adverse environments and develop the nutritional value of crops.
"Added to this, is the importance of beneficial husbandry practices through the adoption of Integrated Farm Management. Rotations, safe use of inputs, cultivation choice, variety choice, good record keeping and management systems such as those advocated by LEAF are essential. GM will never be an alternative to these practices but it has the potential to be one of the tools in the box.”
Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients
LEAF is to work with Waitrose to source LEAF Marque certified commodity crop ingredients, such as wheat and rapeseed oil.
The LEAF Marque is a global environmental assurance system recognising sustainably farmed products. It is based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles and all LEAF Marque farms are independently inspected. There are 487 LEAF Marque farmers in the UK and 580 in another 36 countries.
LEAF Marque farmers already supply Waitrose with all of its UK sourced fruit and vegetables and Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – is a LEAF Marque certified farm. Adopting the LEAF Marque standard for its commodity crops means that Waitrose will strengthen its control frameworks for ingredients such as wheat and oilseed rape.
Read the full press release here.
Young shoppers’ backing sees support for British farmers rise
Nearly eight in ten shoppers (78%) would buy British food when available
18-24 year olds are twice as likely (69%) to buy British than in 2007 (36%)
Nearly eight in ten shoppers (78%) believe that British farmers deserve the full support of the British public
Almost half (45%) say that they want to hear more about farmers
The number of shoppers seeking out British food is at a record level according to new research from IGD ShopperVista. The findings, released ahead of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, show that shoppers are nearly 1½ times more likely to buy British food than they were six years ago, with younger shoppers and families driving this growth.
Read the full press release here.
Parents turn to British countryside for family trips
- One in five parents are more likely to visit the countryside than they were five years ago
- 82% of families from urban areas have visited the countryside in the past 12 months
- Top three locations for family visits are parks, seaside and countryside
- Three quarters of parents surveyed agree it’s important for everyone to know more about how their food is grown and produced
The great outdoors is back in favour for families, with one in five parents (22%) saying they are more likely to visit the countryside than they were five years ago. A new survey of Asda shoppers carried out ahead of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, also found that more than eight in ten (82%) parents from urban areas have visited the countryside with their families within the last year. Read more here.
State of Nature
Today has seen the launch of the State of Nature report with input from 25 conservation organisations. This report gives a health-check on UK wildlife, revealing a decline in populations of 60% of the species studied.
Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive, commented on the report:
“The bringing together of this work highlights the challenges we face in respecting and improving the environment. At LEAF we are proud of the work done voluntarily on many of our member’s farms across the UK. Farmland has an important role to play in nature conservation. We are as certain today as 22 years ago when LEAF began, that through Integrated Farm Management, farmers can make a significant positive impact on wildlife populations at the same time as producing quality food as demonstrated through the LEAF Marque farm assurance scheme.”
We believe that an Integrated Farm Management approach to farming will aid the turnaround of many of these declines. Martin Harper, RSPB’s Conservation Director, has challenged landowners to manage their land with wildlife in mind. We know there are many farmers meeting this challenge already, but we can all do more for nature and we will continue to work with our farmers in taking forward the balance of producing quality food with care and consideration for the environment.
In a survey we conducted last year amongst LEAF members, over 80% felt their farm business was more environmentally sustainable than five years ago. This survey, alongside farm practices data from the LEAF Audit, came together in our report ‘LEAF – Driving Sustainability’.
21 Years of Linking Environment And Farming
LEAF is pleased to present a new book '21 Years of Linking Environment And Farming: Past reflections, future directions'.
The book charts the organisation's 21 years history and outlines future directions, whilst featuring quotes from some of LEAF's supporters. The book is available to download for free here. Our grateful thanks to Sodexo for kindly supporting the production of this book.
Overbury Farms Launched as the latest LEAF Demonstration Farm
Overbury Farms have been launched as the latest new addition to the LEAF Demonstration Farm Network.
Launched on 11th October 2012, it will play an important role in hosting visits to farmers, community groups, conservation organisations and local schools, to show how they are combining commercial farming with the highest standards of agricultural best practice and environmental care.
Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive, and Jake Freestone, Farm Manager at Overbury Farms, talk on the launch in the video below
'Sustainable Lamb' Now Available
Ahead of Livestock 2012, we have produced a new newsletter supplement which will be available from our stand at the event (BM - 198).
The supplement includes farmer case studies and a range of articles from industry leaders. The case studies highlight ways in which LEAF’s IFM can benefit lamb farmers, which include helping to reduce forage and feeding costs and increase production of grass fed lambs, through the management and composition of grazing swards and growing of other fodder crops. You can download Sustainable Lamb below in PDF and ePub formats for ease of viewing on iPhone, iPad and other compatible devices.
LEAF Technical Field Days
Equipping farmers with the practical skills and know how to help them adopt more sustainable farming practices is one of LEAF’s core aims.
Our Technical Field Events aim to do just this - bring farmers closer to the latest science and current thinking in sustainable farming, look at how it can be adopted at farm level and enable farmers to meet with some of the industry’s leading experts.
This year's events were a great success, you can read the thoughts of Stephen Fell, LEAF's Chairman, on our blog here, and see some photographs from one event here.
Let Nature Feed Your Senses Animate It Competition!
Get creative and 'Animate It' by taking part in the Let Nature Feed Your Senses animation competition.
Be inspired by Shaun the Sheep and his farm friends to animate the nature, food and farming sounds we've collected. Golly Starzak, the Creative Director and mastermind behind Shaun the Sheep, is our judge! Closing date Friday 22nd June 2012. See the Let Nature Feed Your Senses website for more details.
LEAF Marque Global Standard consultation
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is calling for the wider food and farming industry to have their say in the future development of its LEAF Marque Global Standard.
LEAF, the leading environmental farming charity, is embarking on a two phase consultation of its LEAF Marque Global Standard. LEAF Marque is a global food standard which shows that food has been produced to the highest standards of environmental care. It is a higher level scheme that builds upon the ‘foundation’ assurance schemes such Red Tractor Farm Assurance and GLOBALGAP. Read the full press release
Accolade for LEAF Farmer!
Rob Kynaston has been named the winner of the RSPB Midlands Nature of Farming Award, recognising farmers who are ambassadors for wildlife in the farming community.
Producing great food with a passion for wildlife and the countryside has always been at the heart of Rob Kynaston’s approach to farming. “I am unashamedly a proud custodian of the countryside” explains Rob “for me, conservation and farming go hand in hand. It’s all about looking at the whole farm and taking an integrated approach, from the way we look after our soil, our rotations, fertiliser use through to managing specific areas of the farm for wildlife.”
Read the full story on LEAF's blog.
Dairy: A Green Future
Newsletter supplement now available!
We’ve been working with many partners in the dairy industry for a number of years and now, with discussions on where the industry will be in 2020. Amidst all the talk on milk prices and adding value we need to look to the future of dairy farming and it’s implications for sustainability. Download the full supplement.
Find out what can LEAF do for your business
– visit us on stand BM224 at the Dairy Event
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) have issued an open invitation to livestock farmers visiting the Dairy Event, to come and find out why LEAF is relevant to their business. On the LEAF stand (no BM224), there will be experts on hand to explain how LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM), can help farmers manage valuable resources such soil and water
Attitudes and Behaviours around Sustainable Food Purchasing
A Defra report looking at attitudes and behaviours around sustainable food purchasing compares people’s attitudes to sustainability issues, their responses to questions about actively seeking to buy sustainable food and their actual food purchases over a twelve month period. Download the full report.
Findings from the 12-month Defra funded research project into food purchases show that:
- More than two thirds of people consider buying British produce important and almost three quarters look to buy British fruit and vegetables;
- More than three quarters of people think animal welfare is important but only two thirds seek out free range eggs and only half try to buy free range chicken;
- 70 per cent of people say buying sustainable fish is important but only 30 per cent say that they do so;
- Almost two thirds of people say that buying ethical products is important, and 30 per cent seek out Fairtrade tea and coffee; and
- The same number of people who think it’s important to buy healthy produce say they do so – 80 per cent of people.
This is why LEAF Marque is an important tool for farmers, the food chain and consumers in delivering more sustainable food.
Today, 4th April 2011, a partnership of agriculture industry organisations, including LEAF, launches its commitment to achieving a voluntary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Agricultural Industry is required to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year by the Carbon Budget period 2018-2022. LEAF is part of the partnership of organisations committed to working towards achieving this goal in a voluntary way without compromising production.
A reduction in GHG emissions can be effectively achieved through Integrated Farm Management (IFM). The LEAF management tools which help farmers implement IFM - the LEAF Audit, LEAF Marque and the LEAF Green Box - are key resources in the development of increasingly profitable, efficient and sustainable food production which will inherently help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information please see the press release and the full GHG Action Plan document
LEAF Leads The Way
A new study out this week shows that an assurance scheme developed by a LEAF, an agricultural charity, is leading the way in the environmental labelling of food.
The research evaluated a number of schemes and compared how they help to protect the environment. It found that whilst LEAF Marque, run by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), scored the highest marks across a range of criteria, other better known schemes actually scored significantly less in some important areas. Read the full report, the press release and the research update brief
LEAF Members Come Out on Top at Farmers Weekly Awards
LEAF members won two of the award categories at last night’s prestigious Farmers Weekly Awards.
Husband and wife team, Peter and Hilary Cochran, who run their farm shop business at Knowes in East Lothian, were named as Local Food Farmers of the Year. They were recognised for their passion for farming, their commitment to growing local food and the sense of community attached to their farm shop. More.
Andrew Rees scooped the Young Farmer of the Year Award. 31 year old Andrew successfully runs Gaulby Lodge Farm in Kings Norton, Leicestershire, in partnership with his father. His industry leadership, knowledge and enthusiasm helped him to stand out. More.
“On behalf of the LEAF team, we would like to congratulate Andrew, Peter and Hilary on their achievements” said LEAF Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond. They are excellent ambassadors for LEAF as well as the farming industry. Their commitment to running profitable farming businesses alongside environmental care and community involvement is exemplary.”
LEAF Marque: Helping caterers to realise the opportunities of the London 2012 Food Vision
Sustainability lies at the very heart of the Food Vision for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It calls for catering that delivers a tastier, healthier and greener Games. Companies tendering for catering contracts will need to demonstrate how specific benchmark standards and aspirational targets will be achieved and that they are building sustainability into their businesses. The LEAF Marque is one of the official aspirational standards for product sourcing and affords caterers the opportunity to meet many of the core objectives of the London 2012 Food Vision. To source LEAF Marque produce see the Supply Chain Directory web page
Click here for the full press release
Find where to buy LEAF Marque Produce
LEAF has a Supply Chain Directory where buyers can access who produces and who is selling LEAF Marque food. The directory allows the user to search by crop, postcode or name and by business type such as packer processor or retailer. To obtain access you first need a user account in myLEAF and then apply for access in Service upgrades. For more information see Supply Chain Directory page