Waitrose working to encourage sustainable food production
Barfoots have worked closely with Waitrose in a relationship that dates back over 16 years, supplying a range of crops that include Sweetcorn, Rhubarb, Courgettes, Asparagus, Tenderstem Broccoli, Squash and Pumpkins.
Peter Barfoot founded his farming operation in 1976 and over recent years, has been keen to invest in sustainable farming and business practices. This commitment to sustainability has been widely recognised in the industry with a number of awards, including several Waitrose Way and Waitrose Farming Awards. Barfoots Farms were one of the first LEAF Demonstration farms and continue to take an active role to this day.
Barfoots’ Sefter Farm site, is located near Chichester, on the South Coast and in 2014, was proud to be selected as a Waitrose Demonstration Farm in the ‘Energy’ category, enabling Barfoots to share some of their energy management practices, namely generation and reduction, that have been implemented across the site. One of the key challenges facing all of us in the future is operating, maintaining and building long-term sustainability into our businesses in a financial climate that, whilst recovering, remains highly competitive and risk-adverse.
The Waitrose Farm Assessment (WFA) has been one of the first truly practical ways of assessing sustainability on the farm. Energy is and will continue to be, a very important measure in assessing the overall sustainability of a farm and the WFA will enable us to effectively monitor progress over the coming years.
SAT MOYCA is the largest producer of table grapes in Spain with a combined production in excess of 1000 hectares. The business is owned and managed by Enrique Moya and his partner Antonio Canovas. The main packing facility is based just outside the town of Totana but production stretches from the coastal areas of Aguilas to the mountainous areas of the Sierra Espunya. Moyca produces a range of varieties from standard reds, green and blacks to some of the newest and innovative varieties currently available.
Moyca has been supplying Waitrose for over 10 years and has fully embraced all aspects of their technical policies. Producing grapes in Spain is not an easy task and the business is continually faced with challenges to maintain its sustainability.
At the forefront of these challenges is the requirement for renewable energy. The production of grapes and their post-harvest management has a high energy requirement, and that comes with a significant cost. Solar panel technology seemed like an obvious solution but it required a lot of space and they were reluctant to take prime agricultural land out of production. Neither did they want to lose areas that were part of national parks or set aside for biodiversity. With that in mind, they developed a raised solar panel system allowing them to produce grapes underneath the panels. This has become an almost perfect solution as the production is viable, energy is renewable and no land or habitats have been lost in the process.