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GEMMA BELL AND COMPANY WILDFARMED: FIXING FOOD TO FIX THE PLANET news image

WILDFARMED: FIXING FOOD TO FIX THE PLANET

06/04/22

“Let’s start with the soil. We don’t need any magical technological inventions to solve our biodiversity and climate crisis. We already have the most remarkable invention of all…SOIL! All we have to do is keep our soil healthy by keeping it free of chemicals and covered in leaves.

  

Sounds simple. And yet, most reports suggest that we have between 60 to 80 years before our planet's soil is too depleted to produce food. Imagine if we collectively apply the same level of gusto to regenerating soil, as we have done to wrecking it.

  

This is why we've spent the last 15 years developing a farming system that puts soil health first whilst simultaneously producing nutrient dense food. We’ve been working hard to create an end-to-end, fully transparent supply chain that empowers farmers, food businesses and consumers to become part of the solution to the world’s most complex problem.

  

Everybody knows the environmental mega crisis is looming and wants to do their bit. However, most feel overwhelmed by the enormity and abstraction of the problem.

  

But what if the way to fix the planet is simply by….eating?

 

What if we could grow a range of super tasty, highly nutritious food that is available to everyone, not just the privileged few. So that every single piece of toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch or bowl of pasta for dinner is a decision that directly shapes the health of our planet?

  

That would be wild.”

  

Founded in 2018 by Andy Cato, George Lamb and Edd Lees, Wildfarmed’s overriding premise, put simply, is to fix the planet by fixing food. Wildfarmed prioritises soil health and never uses pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, so the land is left rich for future harvests. This in turn ensures that any Wildfarmed loaf of bread will always be chemical free and nutrient dense.

 

Wildfarmed’s first ever bakery partner was the much-acclaimed Jolene in Newington Green, London, and it has taken off from there, with Pizza Pilgrims, HIDE, Twelve Triangles, all joining the movement. They’re now up to a total of nearly 230 who are baking, cooking and educating with Wildfarmed flour. Plus there are now 40 farmers growing under contract with Wildfarmed, with an ever-growing wait list of 75,000 acres of land, which staggeringly equates to 1% of British arable land.

 

This is the beginning of the largest soil and biodiversity restoration programme on agricultural land in Europe and everyone has the chance to be a part of it.

 

How did Wildfarmed get here?

 

Enter Andy Cato, a successful Grammy nominated artist. It was on his way back from playing a gig that Andy read an article about the horrors of the industrial food system. The article concluded that “if you don't like the system, don't depend on it”. This struck a chord. In a self-proclaimed “act of lunacy” Andy sold the publishing rights to his music and bought a 100-hectare farm in Gascony, France.

 

Andy has dedicated his life to learning a better way of farming, which allows nature and farmers to thrive. Joining forces with Edd, the strategic thinker behind the business, and George, whose education initiative, GROW, runs nature based learning programmes in schools, Wildfarmed was born. Learning on the job, Andy used his outsider position to rethink conventional farming methods and in 2018, he was the first Briton to be made Chevalier L’Order Merit de Agricole and in 2020, Andy was awarded the Laureate prize for innovation by the The French Ministry of Agriculture for his progressive and innovative vision.

 

Andy has recently returned to England with his family. Out of 3,500 applicants he won a 20‑year tenure of a 295-hectare farm in Oxfordshire, which has become Wildfarmed’s HQ, through the National Trust. Out of the 40 farms Wildfarmed are working with, they have also collaborated with Waddesdon Estates (Lord Rothschild) to transform more than 500 hectares of conventionally farmed arable land in Norfolk into the Wildfarmed system.

 

Wildfarmed farmers are provided with support, access to equipment, knowledge and crucially, a fair farm-gate price for their harvest which makes it viable for them to embrace change. In Andy’s own words, “to make a rapid impact to the climate emergency, the greatest agency we have is through agricultural soils.”

  

George adds,“if we’re going to move the (ecological) dial we need to make real food affordable. We always talk about being on the road to Greggs, because if Wildfarmed isn’t in Greggs, Subway, Dominoes then we’ve failed”. “If it were simply another loaf of expensive bread, there wouldn’t be any point in doing this, because it wouldn’t change things,” concludes Edd.

 

For further information, please contact Harriet on harriet@gemmabellandcompany.com. 

 

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