Waitrose working to encourage sustainable food production
College Farm has been farming in Duxford, Cambridgeshire since 1938 and has been a supplier to Waitrose for over 25 years. The farm was first awarded Waitrose Demonstration Farm status in 1998 and has been awarded it again this year for Biodiversity. Over the years, College Farm has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable farming practices. The key challenge the farm faces is maintaining the level of different habitats created to encourage biodiversity on to the farm.
The farm’s values are clearly linked to the activities seen embedded in the farm’s ongoing work, community engagement, soil management and fertility, pollution control and by-product management, energy efficiency, water management, landscape and nature conservation. The farm has found that the Waitrose Farm Assessment helped them to learn in areas such as reducing inputs, improving soil condition, managing water responsibly, disposing of waste appropriately, optimal pest and weed control and attention to detail.
Since purchasing Tuesley Farm, the Hall family have used their 20 years of experience of supplying Waitrose to create a site that closely aligns both the values of the Hall Hunter Partnership and Waitrose. It has been turned from a large-field arable farm into a specialist fruit farm that combines state of the art growing systems with a biodiverse landscape designed to encourage the proliferation of beneficial insects. This has been achieved by reducing field sizes and incorporating native hedging, tree belts, beetle banks and native woodland, as well as using the natural topography of the site to capture water to be stored in a purpose-built reservoir.
Di Donna specialises in the production of table grapes, with their main varieties being Crimson, Scarlotta, Sugraone, Sophia, Midnight Beauty, Sable Italia and Thompson.
Di Donna is extremely proactive in the development of the novel International Fruit Genetics (IFG) varieties, among others. The company has been a key Waitrose supplier for the last 10 years. At the core of this family-owned and run business is their key values, which revolve heavily around both social and environmental sustainability. They proudly support the LEAF Marque standard and were extremely excited to have been awarded a Waitrose Demonstration Farm status for their endeavours to conserve and develop biodiversity on their farms.
In this short video, Raffaella shows how just small changes on the farm have seen a significant increase in biodiversity, and how these findings are having a positive effect on their production.
Di Donna continues to transform areas of untouched land for the purpose of biodiversity. Their next projects include developing a rose garden, a bat box for the preservation of bats, and an ecological corridor to increase the number of beneficial insects.
Savid is a family-owned and run business based in the Dominican Republic. It focuses on the production of high quality organic bananas, utilising some of the most forward-thinking production methods and the highest sustainability criteria. Savid has been supplying fruit to Waitrose over a 10+ year period, and has been selected as a Demonstration Farm in the area of Biodiversity.
Biodiversity is very close to the heart of the Savid team, and plays a significant part in its daily farming decision-making processes. The Dominican Republic is serviced largely by workers from neighbouring Haiti, which poses challenges with regards to Dominican legislation and workers’ rights. This is being dealt with on several levels: the farm, the industry, and through the Fairtrade Foundation.
The main challenge Savid faces is to maintain a sustainable workforce. Another major challenge is the weather: situated in the Caribbean hurricane belt, extreme winds have the propensity to cause anything from minor damage to devastating destruction.