How we Farm
At Earth Trust, our role as farmers and producers of food is an important part of our identity and the greenspaces we care for. Food itself is an important conduit to engaging people in the environment and the natural world. We have a part to play in advocating and demonstrating food production systems that support our priorities of biodiversity, climate and health, as well as contributing towards ‘food security’ in the UK (in other words being less reliant on imports that impact negatively on the climate).
Our aim is to respond to and influence future food and farming polices and to practice, test and demonstrate the financial make-up of greenspaces and the political incentives to farm with nature.
Underpinning this, is the emphasis that we need to place on healthy soils. 98%, of the food calories that we eat rely on soil.
Healthy soils reduce the need for chemical inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, which harm soil biodiversity. Healthy soils hold on to extra carbon and in addition, act as sponges, holding on to the water that might otherwise percolate, or run off a more intensively farmed arable field. So emphasizing and focusing our time on healthy soils is critical to the management of our farm and the impact it has on biodiversity and human health.
Earth’s Trust principles of food and farming are focused on delivering impacts and outcomes for:
- Nutritional food production – contributing towards the principles of the National Food Strategy.
- Wildlife, nature and biodiversity – using practices that maximise habitat creation and conservation, strategies that conserve, restore and promote biodiversity across the ecosystem, but paying particular attention to those species that are priorities locally (in line with Nature Recovery Network/Local Nature Partnership) and nationally.
- Minimising impacts on, but also delivering benefits for climate change – capturing and minimising carbon/nitrogen/methane greenhouse gases, while supporting greater resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, drought and extreme temperatures.
- Promoting human health and wellbeing including the provision and facilitation of public access and engagement opportunities for deeper connections with green spaces.
- Creating more opportunities for engaging people with the environment through different lenses; including ‘business to business’ and ‘business to consumer’.
We seek to connect people with the food we grow and how it is grown, bringing local food and farming to life so that people support practices that are good for soil, climate, nature and human health.
Over the next 5 years we are seeking to evolve our arable farm operations to reflect growing soil science principles – for example, by increasing the diversity of crops we grow and minimising soil disturbance, reducing tillage, protecting the soil surface with cover crops, using livestock within the rotation and keeping living roots in the soil. Much of the farm is grassland; and this too within the mixed farm significantly contributes to biodiversity, carbon sequestration and wellbeing.
Alongside this, we are seeking to connect more people with the food we grow and how it is grown, bringing local food and farming to life for our growing population so that more people support practices that are good for the soil, climate, nature and human health.