Accelerating & Demonstrating the Journey to Net-Zero

Our groundbreaking, three year project, funded by the Co-op Foundation, supporting five farms on their journey to Net Zero.

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About the project

We are creating a network of farms demonstrating low and/or net zero carbon practices whilst inspiring and guiding them to become LEAF Demonstration Farms. The farmers are receiving free support from LEAF and external advisors, as well as lots of opportunities for training and attendance at technical workshops, and on-farm events.

During the three-years, the farms will establish a baseline and implement a cycle of monitoring and target-setting for continuous improvement. They will assess their carbon footprint using different carbon footprinting tools appropriate to their businesses and soil health, to help inform and develop a plan to reduce their carbon footprint, which will be under continuous review.

Working closely with agricultural advisers and other specialists, the farms will develop a farm-specific action plans for nature-based solutions and regenerative farming by increasing efficiencies, and blending innovative technology with traditional methods.

Meet our farmers

Take a more in-depth look at our Co-op farmer map click here.

Whitrig­gs Farm

R Mitchell & Sons

Locat­ed in the Scot­tish bor­ders, Stu­art Mitchell, along with his wife Kate and his par­ents, farm a 442-hectare mixed organ­ic farm com­pris­ing a herd of 140 suck­ler cows, with 330 breed­ing red deer and 50 hectares of arable. Stu­art and his fam­i­ly are keen to find the right bal­ance of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and under­stand more about their sys­tem. Reduc­ing car­bon is impor­tant to them going for­ward, as is increas­ing bio­di­ver­si­ty and they want to under­stand how to store car­bon effec­tive­ly in their soils.
Our objec­tives and high­lights so far


Stephen Shields & Sal­ly Swift

Hunta­pac is a fourth-gen­er­a­tion fam­i­ly-owned busi­ness, they farm 1300 hectares of pri­mar­i­ly car­rots and parsnips on land extend­ing from Nor­folk to Inver­ness, with their main head­quar­ters in Lan­cashire. Hunta­pac have a com­plex busi­ness mod­el involv­ing rent­ed fields on dif­fer­ent land parcels. As a pio­neer­ing com­mer­cial pro­duc­er, Hunta­pac is com­mit­ted to reach­ing its net zero tar­gets and has devel­oped its own net zero field tri­als, which will be an impor­tant focus of the project. Under­stand­ing and main­tain­ing com­mer­cial via­bil­i­ty whilst tran­si­tion­ing to net zero is a key objec­tive of the business.
Our objec­tives and high­lights so far

Spring­fields Farm

Alan, Graeme & Valerie Whyte 

Sit­u­at­ed in North­ern Limpopo, South Africa, Spring­field Farms is a fam­i­ly-run busi­ness, com­pris­ing approx­i­mate­ly 2000 hectares of avo­ca­dos, macadamia nuts, pecans, tim­ber, and wood­land. The Whyte fam­i­ly are pas­sion­ate about envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly farm­ing and have intro­duced a range of mea­sures to con­serve and pro­tect local wildlife and veg­e­ta­tion, with a par­tic­u­lar focus on Inte­grat­ed Pest Man­age­ment (IPM). As a pro-active busi­ness, the Whytes want to make every effort to change their farm­ing sys­tem and be a pio­neer in their jour­ney towards net zero. They wish to achieve net zero emis­sions and be able to cal­cu­late and mon­i­tor this, as well as under­stand how plant­i­ng trees affects the net bal­ance of emissions.
Our objec­tives and high­lights so far

Stone Ends Farm

Bob Clark

Based on a tra­di­tion­al fam­i­ly farm in Cum­bria, Bob Clark farms a 32-hectare upland farm. A pure-bred flock of 200 Herd­wick ewes, plus a flock of draft ewes crossed with Tex­el and Cheviot tups, graze both com­mon and sea­son­al land, along with bought-in young beef cat­tle for fin­ish­ing which com­ple­ments the sheep graz­ing. Over the last few years, Bob has been hedge and tree plant­i­ng and wants to con­tin­ue incor­po­rat­ing more cli­mate-pos­i­tive farm­ing prac­tices into his farm­ing system.
The low­land areas of the farm con­sist of peat­land under min­er­al soil and Bob hopes to inves­ti­gate peat­land restora­tion and find out more about what this means for net zero. 
Our objec­tives and high­lights so far

Woodrow Bar­ton

Rachel and Richard Risdon

Locat­ed in Devon, Rachel and Richard are ten­ant farm­ers on a 151-hectare dairy farm. Spring calv­ing a 300 Friesian x Jer­sey herd and oper­at­ing on a grass-based sys­tem that is rota­tion­al­ly grazed, Rachel and Richard are an inno­v­a­tive cou­ple, bring­ing all of their pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ences to shape their prac­tices today. They work hard on improv­ing cow health and decreas­ing loss­es with improved fer­til­i­ty to improve their over­all effi­cien­cy, for prof­itabil­i­ty and reduced envi­ron­men­tal impact.
Our objec­tives and high­lights so far

Project Update

Our wonderful farmers have now been paired with their external consultants, who will be supporting them across the three years. The consultants have been selected based on the farmer’s objectives and the areas they wanted to explore in more detail. Introductory online meetings have been held for the farmers to share their plans, thoughts and ambitions. We have also introduced them to the LEAF Sustainable Farming Review which will be used in conjunction with a Carbon Footprinting tool as a baseline measurement.

Keep up to date as we follow our farmers on their net zero journeys. Look out for our farmers across social media as they continue to share their story.

Huge thanks to the Co-op Foundation for supporting this project, through their Co-op Foundation Carbon Innovation Fund: