We started to look at our carbon footprint several years ago, before it became fashionable. We had always felt that we were reasonably energy efficient, so we worked out how much energy the business produced over a year and then calculated the carbon footprint that this gave.
We produce and distribute around 120 tonnes of vegetables every year direct from the farm. Our system of production utilising stockfree methods, growing all of our own plants (over 140,000 per annum) ensures that we are operating as near as possible to a closed system. This means that we do not have to import fertility and plants produced on other farms. This reduces energy inputs quite considerably.
Our total energy usage for the year is mostly in the form of fuel for tractors, delivery vehicles and other machinery. This comes to 2,030 litres, around 5 litres per family that we supply for the whole year. Electricity is used to light buildings, provide some facilities for plant raising and other odd jobs. We use 6,400 units per year, about the same as the average household.
The total carbon footprint for our business comes to around 8 tonnes, which is the same as an average house in the UK. We have a very low carbon footprint. Compared with supermarket conventional produce, we are 90% more efficient.*
*As verified by Prof. Tim Jackson, BBC Climate Change special programme March 2007.