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Soil Association

Working with everyone to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world.
  • Environment

"That’s what Innovative Farmers is all about – learning from each other"

- James, Field Lab triallist

The Fund has had a long term partnership with the Soil Association, supporting their Innovative Farmer’s programme since 2012.
Innovative Farmers was formed from one idea – that many of the best ideas in farming come from farmers. Whether it’s trying a new variety or breed, using equipment in a different way, or responding quickly to unpredictable weather, trialling, testing and hands-on research is part of the day-job. But often, farmers are going it alone and what they learn stays on the farm. The Innovative Farmers programme connects farmers with researchers to generate and share data.

Our funding has enabled several studies into the impact of soil health on our food and wider environment. For example the PASTORAL field lab, which aims to ‘revolutionise’ grass management by using data from space to boost productivity and sustainability. The project connects farmers with digital experts at the University of Edinburgh and consultants at Environment Systems to help monitor pasture growth and quality.

A digital tool will be designed in partnership with farmers and will use advanced algorithms based on satellite data, such as weather information and field images taken from space. This will help to deliver regular updates and predictions to farmers, helping them to improve productivity and sustainability on their grasslands.

Our Founder has visited Innovative Farmers projects, and living mulch field lab triallist James Alexander said:
‘His Majesty was really interested in the living mulch trial and he said he likes how if we do something, then he can look at the results and learn from where we’ve gone wrong. And that’s what Innovative Farmers is all about – learning from each other’.