Veg box pioneers Riverford are supporting farmer-led innovation by sponsoring three Innovative Farmers field labs, seeking sustainable solutions to some common problems faced by growers.
The field labs are being coordinated at Riverford’s Devon HQ but growers from across the country are being invited to take part. They can actively join the Devon group, replicate the trials on their own farms or follow the progress of the central trials through the Innovative Farmers website.
To kick off the field labs Riverford are hosting an open meeting on Thursday 23 November. Attendees can meet the researcher and help design trials, with topics set to include home-made comfrey liquids for fruiting crops, zone tillage and tackling leaf spot with hot water-treated seed.
Ed Scott, Assistant Harvest Manager at Riverford, will be coordinating the field labs. He said: “Our growers know the challenges they face better than anyone, so we want to support them in developing solutions that work for them, and the field labs are an opportunity to do that in a structured way and with research backing.
“We are an organic farm so we are looking for solutions that are sustainable, environmentally friendly and in-keeping with our ethos. But the types of problems faced by organic growers are no different from those faced by non-organic growers, so field labs can deliver knowledge exchange on a broad scale.”
Farmer-led research is at the heart of Innovative Farmers, delivering grassroots innovation to tackle problems in sustainable farming. Field labs bring farmers and researchers together, combining applied understanding with wider research insight to find robust and practical solutions.
Kate Pressland, Research Manager for Innovative Farmers, said: “Farmers are great experimentalists, but this is often in isolation. By sharing knowledge, ideas and results field labs can deliver far broader and more compelling insight for farmers than trialling on their own. Riverford are adding real value to farmer-led research by opening their trials to growers everywhere and we’re really excited to see what the groups find out.”
To find out more, or register your interest in the meeting on Thursday 23 November, visit; www.innovativefarmers.org.
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