Farmer-led collaboration examines food waste

Farmers and growers will lead the way in investigating methods of reducing production waste through new field labs with Innovative Farmers. The farmer-led field labs, launched in March 2019 in partnership with organisations Innovative Farmers, LEAF and 3Keel, will explore ways to reduce food waste from farms producing eggs, dessert apples, wheat, tomatoes and carrots.

The project aims to pool farmers’ expertise to plug knowledge gaps and assess both the levels of waste and the most effective methods to reduce it, as well as identifying opportunities for productivity gains.

Farmers will work with farm food waste specialists at 3Keel alongside Innovative Farmers, the not-for-profit network that enables farmer-led research and its partners LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming).

The field labs are supported by WRAP and made possible through funding from Defra, with small grants also available for groups to test tools or metrics that help support their research.

Helen Aldis, Innovative Farmers development manager, said: “We are delighted that Innovative Farmers will be supporting these field labs, which will encapsulate the spirit of our network by sharing the knowledge and experience of real farmers. Food waste is a huge issue and there are lots of ideas on how we can reduce it to both fight climate change and feed the growing population sustainably and healthily. Farmers and growers know better than anyone how vital it is to their bottom line that wastage is minimised, so these field labs will facilitate a farmer-led approach to understand any pinch points and work together to find solutions.”