FEATURE: Conserve This!
I learn more and more about opportunities to spend my money ECOnomically and just last night when I decided to chill and watch the goggle box I saw an advert for a cereal bar that briefly mentioned ‘back to nature’ and it sparked my research into what I am writing now. (So not quite the brain relax that I had intended!)
Conservation Grade is an emerging farming standard and has come about due to the sharp decline in many species and their habitats. Post the Second World War, food production needs were high and farmers had to increase their yields dramatically at the expense of trees and hedgerows. The negative effects are still being felt and the government has now stated that steps must be taken to re-dress the balance before many plant, bird and animal species disappear from our landscapes altogether.
The term and the benefits of Organic farming are in general recognised however conservation grade is entirely different and has little awareness/publicity. To make the ‘Conservation Grade’ farmers must dedicate 10% of their land to habitat creation and wildlife protection. The knock-on benefits to consumers is through increased taste and less pesticides as natural pest predators such as spiders and beetles can thrive on the pests and protect the crops ‘naturally’.
The habitats created should be a diverse range, from hedgerows to grassland filled with flowers, therefore producing pollen and benefiting many species. Additionally farmers will need to plan bird houses, grow certain food sources for birds in winter and provide habitats for bees, bats and much more.
The animals raised and the crops grown to these new standards meet some of the highest standards of food safety and animal welfare. Farmers who choose to go down this root do so out of care and concern for the environment. They also have an understanding that shoppers today are more discerning, more informed and more interested in how their food arrives to the table.
It is because of this that you would not find artificial additives in Conservation Grade products indeed two respected pure food producers supporting this initiative are www.jordanscereals.co.uk and www.nairns-oatcakes.com.
When buying products with the Conservation Grade symbol you will be benefiting many of the UK’s endangered critters including the Harvest Mouse (one of my favourites of the mice world!), the Red Admiral (a personal favourite of mine of the butterfly world!) and so many more species.
Professor David Bellamy is a spokesperson for Conservation Grade and is quoted as saying: “It’s not just wildlife that benefits from Conservation Grade - we all do. We see more butterflies and bees, more birds on these farms, we can start to enjoy the countryside again.”
Jordan's Cerals are fully supportive of this new grading and have bought a wetlands wildlife reserve 'Pensthorpe' near Fakenham in Norfolk. They have created a Conservation Grade farm next door where you can take a 'safari' from the spring through to the Autumn.
I for one will switch my cereal bar buying to Jordan's to endorse this and maybe soon I will take a trip to Pensthorpe - will report back of course.
If anyone has any other news on companies such as Jordan's putting back into the world - do let me know and I'll look into it and cover it here.