Leaf Marque Case Studies
What is the LEAF Marque?
The LEAF Marque is awarded to farmers who farm in an environmentally responsible way. Among other
things this requires:
A documented environmental policy
Targets to reduce waste, eliminate pollution and optimise water and energy efficiency
A whole-farm conservation policy that protects wildlife habitats, biodiversity, archaeological and
historical sites, and takes positive steps to encourage wildlife
Membership of an appropriate assurance scheme depending on what is produced
Case study 1 Carrolls' Heritage Potatoes,
Tiptoe Farm, Northumberland
Tiptoe Farm produces wheat, barley, oilseed rape and other crops but is best known for its 20 varieties of heritage potatoes chosen for their gourmet eating qualities - excellent flavours, textures, colours, shapes, and a taste of history. Anthony Carroll used to grow run-of-the-mill potatoes for supermarkets, but was converted to the delights of heritage varieties. Starting with a trial plot of three varieties in 2001 they discovered great enthusiasm among buyers for their tasty spuds, and have never looked back.
How the LEAF scheme affects them
Tiptoe Farm is a LEAF Demonstration Farm. Accreditation applies to the whole farm, and forms the backbone to all their farm practices. They have an annual inspection to ensure that they are farming in an environmentally responsible way. An example of this is the six-metre-wide grass strips around the edges of the fields, sown with herbs and flower mixtures to encourage bees, and produce seeds for birds. The riverbank is protected as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and they have also restored a wildlife pond.
The Carrolls' work in water and soil management, and in encouraging wildlife, was recognised in 2006 when Tiptoe Farm was awarded the accolade of Most Beautiful Farm in Britain. The River Till flows through the farm which also has areas of ancient and semi-natural woodland. A bird survey has shown that there are many species of birds on the farm, some of High Conservation Concern including the song thrush, yellowhammer and willow tit.
Find out more on the farm’s website at www.heritage-potatoes.co.uk
Case study 2 Humber VHB, Sussex
HumberVHB, run by Chris White-Moncrieff, is Britain’s largest grower and supplier of fresh pot herbs to the UK retail market. It has two nurseries in Sussex, totalling 50 acres, and a large pack house in Yorkshire. They have been growing salad cress for over 40 years and now produce 12 million punnets annually, along with over 14 million pots of fresh herbs. They also grow salad seedlings, pea shoots and speciality tomatoes. Choosing good varieties is vital to producing a good end product. Basil is highly susceptible to fusarium rot that devastates the crop. They grow resistant new cultivars minimising crop losses s and reducing the need to spray.
How the LEAF scheme affects them
HumberVHB has been part of the LEAF Marque scheme since it began in the early 90s. Traceability is a
key part of the scheme, and the details of how every pot and packet of herbs has been produced are carefully recorded.
Environmental protection is another key element of their approach. Examples include:
Employing a range of 13 natural predators to help control pests such as caterpillars, sciarid flies,leaf miners and thrips
Using a Harris hawk to deter wagtails, which would otherwise come into the glasshouses after flies but then foul the crop. The hawk is flown round outside the glasshouses every few weeks
Using gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installations for their electricity needs. These are twice as efficient as normal gas power stations
Using the carbon dioxide produced by the CHP in the glasshouses to improve the rate of photosynthesis and increase plant growth and reduce waste carbon dioxide
Reducing the amount of peat used in compost by adding composted bark and perlite
Recycling water where possible, to reduce the risk of excess nutrients getting into local aquifers
Sending green waste to a local farmer who makes compost to fertilise his fields.
Humber VHB manages about a hectare of land for wildlife. They have created new habitats to increase diversity, including a water meadow and area of native trees. This allows rare plants, including wild orchids, to thrive. There are also habitats for grass snakes and stoats and for birds such as long-tailed tits. Management tasks include coppicing, planting native trees, controlling invasive weed species and putting up nest boxes for birds.
For more information visit their website www.humbervhb.co.uk