Kent-based Nonington Farms was honoured recently by global farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) for its dedication and commitment to sustainable food and farming systems.
The farm becomes the 41st LEAF Demonstration Farm and joins a UK-wide network of farms that showcase sustainability and resilience and act as centres of excellence for learning and knowledge exchange.
“There could not be a more important time to promote farming, self-sufficiency of food, health and wellbeing, and the importance of protecting the environment in the wake of a global pandemic, climate change, and food production self-sufficiency in the UK,” says James Loder-Symonds, who along with Emma Loder-Symonds manage the farm.
The official launch of Nonington Farms took place on 16th June 2020 by Phil Spencer from Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location. The event was attended by LEAF Chairman, Philip Wynn and Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond.
During the launch event, Nonington Farms provided a virtual farm tour of the business and outlined how as a modern farming business they implement Integrated Farm Management to achieve more sustainable farming for a number of different landlords, as well as sharing real life examples of how production and conservation go hand in hand.
“We are delighted to welcome Nonington Farms to the network and want to share our congratulations to Emma and James on showing incredible vision and dedication to the delivery of sustainable agriculture,” Drummond said. “They have achieved so much already, and we look forward to supporting them in their future efforts.
“As LEAF heads towards its landmark 30th anniversary next year, we remain as committed as ever to bold, ambitious, creative and courageous approaches to delivering more sustainable food and farming,” Drummond said. “Our network of Demonstration Farms is absolutely critical in leading the way and showcasing best practices. With their passion and drive we will help build a world that is farming, eating and living sustainably.”
In 2012, Nonington Farms first became one of the group of LEAF Marque-certified businesses, which ensures environmental, economic and community health. Food producers have increasingly demanded this international standard in providing more environmentally responsible products.
The Loder-Symonds own 161 hectares on Nonington Farms. They apply LEAF’s sustainable farming principles of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) to their own land but and also for many clients. From energy-efficiency, soil and water management, to landscape and nature conservation, they put the environment first in everything they do.
“Becoming a LEAF Demonstration Farm as hugely important, and a wonderful opportunity for us to deliver our message through our education programmes and beyond, with arable farmers, the wider agricultural community and general public of all ages, by providing examples of sustainable farming practices, our use of IFM, and the creation of arable LEAF Marque products,” James says.
“We hope to facilitate connections further by getting farmers, the buyers and manufacturers, and the end consumers, by embracing the LEAF Marque Scheme and equipping everyone with a better knowledge of how arable products are sustainably and environmentally produced.”