New research has confirmed that Fair to Nature farms support significantly more pollinating insects than conventional farms. During summer 2015 Sophie Potter, working at the University of East Anglia, observed hoverflies on 10 Fair to Nature farms across East Anglia and counted over 70% more insects in the field margins compared with 10 similar farms where conventional farming is employed.
We’ve all heard about the decline of our bumblebee population and their importance in the pollination of British food crops. But, did you know that the population and distribution of the humble hoverfly could be even more critical? There are 25 species of British bumblebees and, by comparison, over 250 species of hoverfly.
With the objective of economic and efficient food production, British farmers are driven to cultivate more of the countryside and, using modern machinery and chemicals, manage the environment to protect their crops and maximise yields. The concern is that this results in the loss of suitable habitats for a host of beneficial insects, especially pollinating species like bees and hoverflies. Fair to Nature farmers manage at least 10% of their productive farmland area to create suitable habitats for beneficial insects and other native species of insects, mammals and birds and they have always been confident that they support more wildlife than conventional farms. This new research has confirmed that, in the case of hoverflies, Fair to Nature farms have not only more individual insects, but also a significantly wider variety of species. In the research, which was undertaken in May, June and July, an average of 13 different species were observed on Fair to Nature farms compared with only 9 species on conventional farms.
Brin Hughes, Technical Manager leading the Fair to Nature project said, ‘We are very pleased but not surprised by Sophie’s results. Out and about on the farms, I see the difference Fair to Nature makes to wildlife every day, but it’s great that we now have further scientific proof of the benefit to these important species. We hope that this will lead to more manufacturers and retailers confidently specifying Fair to Nature ingredients as part of their food chain sustainability.’
Brands using predominantly Fair to Nature ingredients carry the distinctive Fair to Nature logo on their packaging, leaflets and websites.
Current Fair to Nature brands include:
Allinson culinary flours, available in all leading supermarkets.
Dinton Farm’s free range eggs.
Marisma 21’s Bay of Cadiz sea salt.