Produce Forward: How Vegetable Growers Are Making Their Goods Greener Than Ever
Over the past few weeks, a group of 10 farmers in Nottinghamshire have released the world’s first carbon-neutral carrots. With their help we can expect vegetable food to become a sustainable, reliable source of nutrition.
Formed in 1998 and with land totaling some 20,000 acres, cooperative Freshgro has pioneered the return to the UK of Chantenay carrots—which fell out of favor from the 1960s—and is now the world’s leading supplier.
Between them, the farms cover more than 90% of the UK market for the variety–a trend which is on its way up because they don’t need to be peeled.
The latest 2021/22 crop has arrived with an impressively low carbon footprint of 0.03grams per kilogram of carrots (calculated from greenhouse-gas emissions of 363 tons of carbon equivalent (CO2e) from production and harvesting of 12,500 tons of carrots).
For perspective, bananas produce an average carbon footprint of 0.7kgCO2e; eggs produce a footprint of 4.5kgCO2e; milk produces an emission footprint at 3kgCO2e; and beef produces a value at 60kgCO2e.
CEO of freshGro
Martin Evans, CEO of freshGro and a qualified agronomist, says this process ‘wholeheartedly’ took a decade to make. The company’s head of research made note of how much was basic common sense.
The company has been making progress each year in efforts to be more environmentally-conscious, from recycling water to using wind turbines and solar panels.
All of the crops are grown within a ten-mile radius of the plant, and the company has been steadily improving the genetic make-up of its French beans by ensuring they store better in warmer winters.
Sherwood Forest takes pride in its efforts to conserve the natural environment, providing habitat for farm animals and also caring for its hedgerow greenery.
As Sherwood Forest moves forward into a carbon-neutral status and has a new sustainability plan, it is taking its environmental efforts to another level.
While we can’t end vegetable farming as a lifestyle or industry, we are continuously researching and changing expectations to produce crops with more fungi.