Patrick Holden, Founder and Chief Executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, established a mixed organic dairy farm over 40 years ago in 1973, since when no nitrogen fertiliser or chemical pesticides have been used.

Today the farm supports an 85 cow Ayrshire dairy herd, the milk for which goes to make a single farm cheddar style cheese called Hafod. These pictures were used to illustrate the talk that Patrick gave on holistic grazing management and true cost accounting at a London conference hosted by the Savory Institute on Friday 1st August 2014.

They demonstrate Patrick’s conviction that the future of sustainable food production lies in a combination of building the biological fertility of soils, supported by the application of holistic grazing management. He believes that recent investment in improved farm infrastructure, including laying down tracks to get cattle to fields, fencing, water troughs, field drainage, improved manure management and attention to soil biology and structure, has the capacity to take the productivity of the farm to another level.

Future objectives for the farm include: increasing the biological fertility of the soils through the management described above, increasing systems resilience, minimising the use of non renewable external inputs, increasing reliance on renewable energy, the recycling of nutrients, self sufficiency in animal feeds and bedding and developing the social and cultural dimension, objectives which could inform future development of the majority of farmers of all scales and all climate regions throughout the world.

Feature image by Steph French

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