Farm Wilder has recently teamed up with RSPB Fair to Nature (FtN) to certify a selection of our farms. In many ways it’s a perfect match – Fair to Nature is the only certification scheme that is based explicitly on enhancing biodiversity on farms, with farmers required to provide a diversity of habitats that can support wildlife in abundance. What’s more, as a part of RSPB, the UK’s biggest conservation organisation, they have the ability to communicate the good things farmers can do to a huge audience, helping drive consumer choices away from products that degrade the land and towards those that regenerate it.
RSPB has been a crucial partner of ours since the beginning. When we first started Farm Wilder, we set out to find every farm on Dartmoor that hosts breeding cuckoos, as we thought that cuckoos were the ideal indicator species of healthy grazed ecosystems (they a require a diverse mosaic of grassland, scrub and trees, with abundant large invertebrates. Which is why they do so well in rewilded systems and so badly on modern, monoculture farms). RSPB supported us in this task, providing us with reams of data and introducing us to some wonderful farmers.
Now, they are relaunching their Fair to Nature scheme and we have joined forces to make Farm Wilder the first retailer selling FtN certified meat. We hope to inspire others to manage or restore species rich grassland and habitats for rare and endangered species. All animals that we buy are 100% pasture fed, slow grown native breeds – the type of animals that work so well in the kind of extensive, near wild landscapes we want to see more of.
To start with, we have certified three farms as Fair to Nature: Andy Gray at Elston Farm, Sam Bullingham at Taw River Dairy, and Carolyn Richards at Ashridge Court. The reason we started with these farms is because they already work closely together, not only environmentally (all three are part of the Devon Silvopasture Trial), but also across the lifecycle of their cattle. Sam produces calves from his belted galloway, jersey and north Devon cows, which in their second year move to Carolyn’s farm to be finished. And when Sam’s cows retire, they go to Andy where, in true Galician style, they spend 6 months growing fat on lush pasture to produce some of the deepest tasting beef imaginable.
You can find out more about Fair to Nature here