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Our ECO Stance

Our ECO stance

Ecological Evaluation of Cultivation Practises at Dartmoor Chilli Farm

- written by Abigail Wills, BSc Wildlife Conservation

Download it here :

http://www.dartmoorchillifarm.co.uk/chilli/ecology.pdf

Inside the main tunnel

We are a green company with a very low carbon foot print. Caring for the environment is very important to us we farm organically and holistically and do not use any herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.

We try as best as we can to live and work in harmony with nature and our surroundings we are able to achieve this with the following :

  • The nursery is off grid, we use five large and two small solar panels and a wind turbine for our electricity.
  • Rain water harvesting, we have over twenty 1000 Litre water containers which are connected to all of the buildings.
  • A composting toilet.
  • Paper is recycled into briquettes which is then used on our wood burner. We compost all of our household waste and recycle bottles and cans. Plastic which by conscious shopping we keep to a minimum is recycled where possible. We never have any landfill waste.
  • We use a woodburner to keep our seedlings nice and snug. We also use fleece in the polytunnel to reduce the risk of damage caused by frost and to discourage/protect against pests!
  • Companion planting to deter slugs and snails such as Chervil and Calendula and by using plants to encourage natural predators for aphids.
  • Bio-degradable packaging for our plants which can be re-used by customers as mini-germinators for their own seedlings. We also use recycled paper and recycle / reuse all packaging.
  • We use biological controls such as Encarsia Formosa and encourage ladybirds and hoverflies in the polytunnels.
  • Slugs and snails are manually collected throughout the day and evenings and given a holiday in one of our lower fields.
  • We have a wormery which makes a brilliant and nutritious liquid plant feed. We also use comfrey and nettle tea to feed our plants.
  • We have planted a mixed fruit orchard of old English and Devon varieties of apples, damsons, pears, plums and greengages. In time we would like to use our own fruit in our chilli preserves.
  • We grow a variety of fruit and vegetables which when we can we use in our chilli produce, if we buy in fruit and vegetables we always try and source locally grown produce which reduces unnecessary food miles and helps support other local growers.
  • We have planted 1500 hedging plants which will create natural wildlife habitats for greater bio-diversity these include Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Elderberry, Dog Rose, Hazel, Wild Pear, Crab Apple, Briar Rose, Dog Wood etc.
  • We have started to plant two acres of coppice consisting of Ash, Walnut and Sweet Chestnut which we will eventually coppice for our wood burner.

Wind turbine

Our wind turbine and another rainwater collecting tank!

Some of our solar panels

Solar panels are everywhere!

Our new orchard

Our new orchard with added deer protection!

Although we are currently supplying our plants in plastic pots, this is only because we are reusing pots accumulated in the last 4 years. In 2013, plug plants will be supplied in coir pots and larger ones in a plant based plastic alternative.
We hope to be able to move entirely over to coir pots in the near future.

We are always looking to add other green projects so please let us know of any suggestions. We have also encouraged other people with similar ideas to implement their own green and sustainable projects in their homes and gardens.

We are keen members of the Green Achiever Project which allows businesses to easily demonstrate their green commitment to their customers. And a member of 10:10.

We were also finalists for the FSB Devon 2010 Environmental Responsibility Award, finalists in the Debi Awards for Environmental Innovation and WINNERS of the South Devon Excellence Awards for 2010 in the category of Best Green Business.

Finalists in 2011 DEBI awards for Food, Farming and Leisure.

See :

http://www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/news/Best-Green-Business/article-2919152-detail/article.html

Read our solar guide here :

http://www.dartmoorchillifarm.co.uk/chilli/solarspec.pdf

Our wishing tree

Our wishing tree!

Dartmoor Chilli Farm - Estimated Carbon Footprint - April 2011

Co2 Calculation

Wholesome Food Association

Orchard Link Dartmoor Partnership

Please visit the following links :

www.wholesome-food.org.uk

www.1010uk.org

www.orchardlink.org.uk

www.veganorganic.net

www.lovetheflavour.co.uk

www.dartmoor.co.uk

www.tasteofthewest.co.uk

Other pictures :

Ash trees

We are currently planting 400+ Ash trees in our wildlife field.

Quite a few trees to go!

We still have several hundred to plant. Unfortunately the ground is very stony!

Collecting rainwater

Collecting rainwater in one of the many water tanks at the nursery.

Planting a native hedge

We have planted 1500+ hedging plants to create a biodiverse natural habitat.

Our orchard

We have planted an orchard. The trees need to be well protected from the many deer that venture into our fields.

Another solar panel

Our stock room is powered using solar. Its not a big panel but it runs all the lighting in winter.

Another solar panel provides our kitchen area with power. On a good summers day it gives us about 40 amps per day, more than enough to run everything we need.

Our outside growing areas

We grow holistically and organically without pesticides or chemicals. We protect the strawberries with nettings and use companion planting to encourage natural predators.

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