At the beginning of 2011, the Foresight Report on The Future of Food and Farming was published. It raised a number of challenges for us all about sustainability, yields. Population growth and world resources.At Waitrose, we have had a long tradition of working collaboratively with suppliers and growers who share our values. Many of the issues raised in the report are not new to us having been articulated through our partnership with Lancaster University.
The Waitrose Agronomy Group represents the produce horticulture sector within our supply chain.Building on the data captured from The Waitrose Farm Risk Assessment, we are now creating a number of demonstration farms in the UK and around the world, which will showcase and disseminate the achievements of growers in relation to the sustainable crop production. Demonstration farms highlight areas of best practice in soil management, integrated crop management, water usage, biodiversity, energy usage on farms and reducing crop waste.
The primary objective is to demonstrate a step-change in a broad range of agricultural practices. We have a number of unique farming challenges due to the diversity of the methods of production from glasshouse, root and surface field crops, uncovered and covered tree crops, bush crops and soft fruit. However, we believe the principles of sustainable agriculture can be applied to all production types. Videos of demonstration farms will be posted on the website later this year.
Demonstration Farms are chosen from the entries made set against a range of sustainability indicators. It’s a competitive process as we know we have many great farms around the world. So if your farm is not chosen this year it may well be selected as developments continue.