Sustainable potato growing within the UK, produced to LEAF Marque Standard, now accounts for 32,249 hectares, it has been revealed, with a number of measures undertaken to boost biodiversity.
Sustainable farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) announced that staple crops like potatoes, wheat and barley represent the largest certified crop area grown globally.
Overall, 43% of UK fruit and vegetables are now grown by LEAF Marque certified businesses who, the organisation states, are making changes to their farming operations which are helping to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
LEAF Assurance Manager Jenny Clark said measures being taken by growers include collecting rainwater for irrigation, recycling water by filtering and purifying with UV light, measuring the organic matter status of soils and diversifying into renewable energy.
“We are incredibly proud of the progress LEAF Marque farmers continue to make in delivering more sustainable farming and to reduce their carbon footprint by minimising energy use, reducing waste, recycling products and taking proactive steps to boost biodiversity,” she said.
Launching its eighth Global Impacts Report, the organisation said it was continuing to see steady growth in the uptake of LEAF Marque certification in the UK.
LEAF Marque Chairman Tom Green said: “LEAF Marque certification, built around the whole farm system of Integrated Farm Management, is a powerful catalyst for change. By working with farmers to reward and incentivise change, and with retailers and consumers to ensure a market for environmentally sustainable food, we are uniquely positioned to link landscape health with people’s lives and plates.”
Another area of LEAF’s IFM is community engagement. As well as the annual LEAF Open Farm Sunday, LEAF Marque businesses hold visits and events off farm throughout the year.
To see the full Global Impacts Report and Summary, visit www.leafuk.org/about-leaf/our-impacts.