Specialist farming business leads the way in sustainability

Barton Hill Farm, in Bedfordshire, has become the latest farming business to be recognised for its commitment to sustainable farming by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming). LEAF is the leading organisation delivering more sustainable food and farming.

The farm produces wheat and oilseed rape for its own artisan oil and flour brand, Mrs Middleton’s. Mrs Middleton’s flour will now carry the LEAF Marque on pack, shortly to be followed by its cold pressed rapeseed oil later this summer.

The LEAF Marque is a leading environmental food label, based on LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) principles. IFM uses the best of modern technology and traditional methods to deliver prosperous farming that enriches the environment and engages local communities. It covers energy and resource use, soil and water management and creating natural habitats for the benefit of wildlife, flora and fauna.

Whizz Middleton farms with her parents, Brian and Gerry Shaw, and together they farm over 800 hectares of oilseed rape, winter wheat, and winter and spring barley. A small proportion of field beans are also grown.

Like all LEAF Marque certified farms, Barton Hill Farm was independently audited to ensure it met the stringent criteria of the LEAF Marque. As part of its environmental work, approximately 25 hectares have been taken out of production at Barton Hill Farm, to create natural habitats for plants and wildlife. Overall around 90 hectares have been designated to stewardship schemes and set aside for conservation. Wild flower margins and over 2,500 hedge plants, shrubs and trees have also been planted.

Farmer and Co-founder of Mrs Middleton’s, Whizz Middleton said: “We’re really proud to achieve LEAF Marque certification. It is recognition for all the hard work we do to farm sustainably, producing high quality arable crops whilst caring for the environment.”

Jeremy Boxall, LEAF Marque Director added: “Barton Hill Farm is an excellent example of how the sustainable farming principles of IFM work in practice. LEAF Marque farmers care deeply about the environment and show how modern food production can co-exist with protecting nature and the countryside. The LEAF Marque offers Mrs Middleton’s customers independent assurance of its commitment to sustainable farming and food production.”

Mrs Middleton’s was established in 2012 and its cold pressed rapeseed oil is currently stocked in around 100 farm shops and delicatessens across the UK. It is also on the menu at restaurants including Michelin-star restaurant Paris House in Woburn. Mrs Middleton’s flour is sold through farmers’ markets and local shops in the Bedfordshire area.

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