Eric Wall Ltd, based just outside of Chichester, has been launched as a LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Demonstration Farm in recognition of their commitment to sustainable farming.
They are LEAF’s first tomato glasshouse business to become a LEAF Demonstration Farm and join a group of 40 other farms in the UK showcasing the very best of sustainable farming practices. LEAF Demonstration Farms act as ‘living classrooms’ demonstrating the sustainable farming principles of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) to other farmers, supply chain, conservation groups and members of the public. IFM is a whole farm business approach that delivers more sustainable farming. It uses the best of modern technology and traditional methods to enrich the environment and engage local communities.
Eric Wall Ltd is a family run business and one of the largest tomato nurseries in the UK, growing top quality tomatoes with environmental care using the principles of IFM. It has been LEAF Marque certified since 2004 and has implemented a number of innovative approaches to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through more energy efficient boilers, upgrading heating pipes, insulating heating storage tanks and using thermal screens. The business also has an innovative sustainable water management system in place that includes rain water collection and an on-site reservoir. Water use on the site is monitored and benchmarked for maximum efficiency.
Eric Wall Ltd already plays an important role in their local community and has held community site visits and participated in LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday. As LEAF Demonstration Farms, they will play a critical role in demonstrating how top quality tomatoes can be produced under glass following LEAF’s IFM principles. They will continue to build on this and be held up as a model example of sustainable farming in practice in their role as a LEAF Demonstration Farm.
The official launch of Eric Wall Ltd as a LEAF Demonstration Farm took place on Wednesday 13th May and was launched by Mary Bosley, Chair of the Horticulture Innovation Partnership.
LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “Our LEAF Demonstration Farms are at the very forefront of sustainable farming. We are delighted to welcome Eric Wall Ltd as LEAF’s first Demonstration Farm in the tomato glasshouse sector. They are first class example of how the principles of IFM can be implemented under glass on a large scale. They will play a critical role in inspiring others in the food and farming industry as well as help raise awareness amongst the public about how their food is grown to high standards of environmental care.”
Mary Bosley (Chair of the Horticulture Innovation Partnership) said:
“I’m personally very pleased to be here today to support Eric Wall Ltd as they are launched as a LEAF demonstration farm. I am proud to have had such a long association with a business that have always been at the forefront of industry leading innovation. Through a unique management approach that delivers sustainability both profitability and environmentally the business has been able to reward its staff not only for the yields produced but crucially the quality of fruit grown. This has earned Eric Wall Ltd the well-deserved reputation throughout the industry for its outstanding quality and it is an exemplar business in sustainable food production, adapting to supply in a changing commercial environment and tougher demands and tastes of British consumers.
I know Chris will be the first to acknowledge that none of this could be done without the great team of people he has working here and being awarded LEAF Demonstration Farm Status is a further endorsement of this approach.”
Commenting on the award, Chris Wall (Managing Director, Eric Wall Ltd) said:
“I’m delighted the company has been recognised by LEAF for all the hard work we have done around environmental management.
There is a huge amount of investment that goes into protected horticulture but fundamentally Eric Wall Ltd believes in “doing the right thing”, whether that be with regards to integrated crop management, staff welfare, managing our environment and of course investing for long term sustainability. Together with others in the industry, we are determined to ensure a vibrant future for tomato growing in the UK.
Receiving LEAF Demonstration Farm Status is an endorsement of this work but none of this would have been possible without the commitment of a truly passionate team and I am in no doubt it is these people which are Eric Wall’s most important asset.
We would also like to thank our sponsors – Grodan, HSBC, Koppert and Plant Raisers, as well as the LEAF team for all of their help and support.
Special thanks to Mary Bosley, who has had a long association with Eric Wall Ltd, for taking the time to launch us as a LEAF demonstration farm.”