Produce World reed bed visit

If you buy organic carrots from a major retailer in the UK, they have likely been washed with water filtered through a reed bed at Produce World’s factory in Yaxley, near Peterborough.

“As an organic site, we invested in a natural water treatment process – a reed bed, to clean our water instead of using chemicals,” says Jamie Tointon, Head of Operations at Produce World.

Agri-Tech East, the UK’s largest membership organisation for agri-tech, is holding a Water SIG (Special Interest Group) visit to the Yaxley site on 17 May, where attendees can learn about the installation and maintenance of a reed bed. 89% of water used by Produce World is processed through the natural filtration system which holds 12,000 cubic metres of water. The reed species used are the Common Reed (Phragmites Australis) and Bulrush (Typha Latifoli).

“As an organic facility, the decision to install a reedbed was more about narrative than economic benefits,” says Jamie. “However, when you break it down, the site was spending about £50,000 a year on chemicals. For a large site, our water bill is now relatively low.”

Jamie believes that with enough space, a reed bed could be used by agribusinesses that use high volumes of water.  Visitors will get a feel for the size during the upcoming Agri-Tech East event.

“A sustainable source of good quality water is critical in agriculture,” comments Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-Tech East. “So, we are excited to provide the opportunity to see Produce World’s reedbed at Yaxley, allowing participants to understand its benefits and how to install one for their own business. Places are strictly limited, so register your interest asap!”

In addition to the reed bed, Produce World has planted around 500 trees and shrubs to create a good habitat for wildlife, to compliment the Wildlife Trusts’ plans to convert nearby land back into wetlands.