On Monday 20th January 2020 a group of farmers, growers and advisors gathered at the St.Buryan Farm Shop for the launch of the Penwith Landscape Partnership (PLP) Farming Futures Horticultural Project with LEAF. We began with an excellent pasty lunch supplied by Morwenna Bone and the team.
The interactive afternoon session was led by Caroline Drummond MBE (LEAF Chief Executive) and Lucy Bates (Project Co-ordinator). Caroline introduced the work of LEAF, which has been working for nearly 30 years in the field of sustainable agriculture, asking those present to identify the current environmental, technical and social issues effecting farmers and growers in the Penwith area. A wide range of subjects was raised from soil runoff to food miles, stimulating significant debate on how these challenges may be addressed in the future at local, regional and national levels.
Caroline introduced the national work of LEAF including:
· The LEAF Network, made up of 39 Demonstration Farms and 11 Innovation Centres nationwide
· LEAF Marque which is a leading global assurance system recognising more sustainably farmed products
· The annual LEAF Open Farm Sunday event when over ¼ million people come into contact with a farmer
· Education and training links supported by a dedicated team at LEAF Education
This was followed by a session lead by Lucy looking at the unique opportunity being presented to horticultural businesses in the PLP area through this project, and the added value of undertaking them collectively. These are:
· Individually tailored sustainability auditing
· Support to attain LEAF Marque certification by 2022
· Development of two demonstration farms to act as regional and national knowledge exchange hubs
· Potential for additionally funded farmer led research and access to relevant training
The core of LEAF’s work is in delivering win-win outcomes in the agricultural environment through promoting and developing Integrated Farm Management (IFM). A range of resources giving practical guidance on this site specific approach was available on the day or if you missed it can be accessed at https://leafuk.org/farming/integrated-farm-management