Here at Essington Farm, we’re committed to carrying out sustainable farming practices and continuing to improve our environmental performance.
Please see below our environmental policies, and how we keep our farm, shop, tea room and restaurant as eco-friendly as possible. Enjoy Staffordshire have accredited these practices and we have been awarded a Staffordshire Environmental Quality Mark in recognition of our sustainable farming practices.
Our livestock and butchery
Here at Essington Farm, the welfare of our livestock is of utmost priority and our free range, grass-based farming methods are the most welfare friendly available. Free range and grass-based farming methods are also the most environmentally friendly methods of farming available to us and we are proud to farm in this sustainable manner whilst maintaining our traditional principles.
Our pigs are free to roam outside all of their lives, where they have the freedom to exhibit their natural behaviour by rooting in the soil for food and wallowing to keep cool which makes for a happy contented pig. Our Pedigree Hereford Cattle are grass-fed. This grass-based diet makes our cattle slightly slower growing but gives a very tender meat with a superior flavour. Our livestock produce muck which is then used as a natural fertiliser, reducing our reliance on artificial fertiliser.
Rearing our livestock in this sustainable and free range way helps the environment by promoting good soil condition which leads to increased levels of biodiversity. Our grassland also acts a vital source of carbon storage.
We believe that, contrary to belief, eliminating meat from your diet is not the only option for helping the planet. Instead, consumers who would like to eat meat sustainably should buy free-range meat and grass-fed beef from bought direct from the producer. It seems common sense that rearing animals on an extensive, grass-based system then retailing them to local people is a lot more environmentally friendly than importing vast amounts of food from foreign countries where resources may be scarce and animal welfare standards not as high.
Let’s not also forget that eating grass-fed red meat in moderation is a vital source of protein, high in omega 3 and linoleic acid – all part of a healthy diet. In their most recent report on climate change and land use the Sustainable Food Trust recognise the importance of diverse and sustainably managed farming systems including traditional pasture-fed livestock production.
Grass-fed livestock and emissions
The Sustainable Food Trust believes that there is a very important role for grass-fed livestock in sustainable farming systems as part of a solution to reducing carbon emissions not contributing to them. They recognise the importance that grassland plays as a vital source of carbon storage and the way in which grazing animals convert this into high-quality protein.
Patrick Holden, Founder and CEO of the Sustainable Food Trust, welcomed the report and said: “It’s all very well for those recommending a switch to eating more plant-based foods, but if those diets include foods like palm oil, genetically modified soy, almond milk or avocados, for example, all of which cause damage to the environment, they will do nothing to tackle climate change.”
To read the full report and find out more about sustainable farming generally, please click here.
Driving down food miles
Food miles account for the distance that food travels to get to your plate. If your food is travelling from far away, then your carbon footprint will be significantly larger. An easy way to reduce your food mileage and therefore carbon foot print is to shop as locally as possible.
We have a selection of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables picked from our farm and when our own fruits and vegetables are out of season, our policy is to buy as locally and as fresh as possible to give full traceability, limit food miles whilst maintaining a product of excellent quality. Not only does buying directly from the producer cut down on food miles, it also reduces the packaging waste often found on supermarket fresh produce.
We stock a wide range of locally produced juices, preserves, honey and crisps, so you can buy everything you need from our farm shop. This means we only sell products with low food miles which helps us sustain a smaller carbon footprint.
Our ongoing goal is to cut down as much packaging waste as possible with us actively seeking out and trialling alternatives. Plastic bags have been replaced where possible with paper, and our plastic carrier bags are in the process of being phased out.
To cut down on packaging, we have implemented a zero-waste scale in the farm shop to encourage people to bring their own containers to put loose produce in. Using the zero-waste scales, it’s easy for customers to reuse their containers as many times as they like. We also encourage our customers to bring their own re-useable containers to our butchery and deli counters, we will gladly put your meat or deli items into your own containers to limit the use of plastic bags.
We have recently introduced cardboard and fully compostable punnets for our ready picked and PYO fruit. These punnets cost a little more than the plastic alternative but we believe the benefit to the environment greatly out-weighs the financial cost.
As a family-owned business, we think it’s important to contribute back to our community by creating jobs for local people.
We currently employ 70 members of staff across our farm shop, tea room, offices, and farm all of which are local people. This number continues to grow as the farm expands. Not only does local employment lessen the environmental impact of commuting but it also helps grow the local economy where many of our customers live and work. By shopping at Essington Farm, you’re directly contributing to the local economy.
If you’re interested in a position at Essington Farm, take a look at our vacancies page.
Reducing energy use
Did you know that we have solar panels on our roof? We’ve invested in these solar panels to create renewable energy that can be used throughout our farm shop and restaurant. Each year we generate over 50,000 Kw of energy, all of which we use on site.
As we continue to improve our practices for sustainable farming, we will update our environmental policy. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org