Wildlife-friendly farm launches Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards 2021

Patrick and David Barker launch Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards at their farm in Westhorpe

Patrick and David Barker launch Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards in their field of winter bird food - Credit: Kezia Tan

A Suffolk farm chosen as a case study at COP26 has hosted the launch of a county awards celebrating those going the extra mile to help the planet.

E J Barker and Sons scooped the Greenest County Awards’ Biodiversity and Landscape accolade in 2019 and provided a launch-pad for this year’s event.

It embarked on an extraordinary journey a decade ago to turn a conventional farm into a wildlife haven. Scientific evidence collected from various academic studies suggest the Barkers have succeeded — in spite of remaining determined to run a profitable operation with food and farming production at its core.

Their farm is now being used as a template for other conventional farms to follow through a nationwide sector initiative run by the farm levy board the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) after being chosen to be its Strategic Farm East for cereal growers. 

It has also been selected as a case study by the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) as it takes its message to the UN COP26 conference in Glasgow in November.

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Organisers of the Greenest County awards — started in 2007 — said they hoped to give a Suffolk focus to the climate change talks by bringing the issue to the fore in the county which is working towards its net zero carbon 2030 target.

Patrick Barker of E J Barker & Sons said the awards were “a brilliant showcase for everything good that’s going on in conservation in the county”. “It’s Suffolk coming together, showing the best of what we can do.”

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The awards are “an opportunity for individuals, businesses, communities, schools and voluntary organisations to be celebrated for the environmental work they do to combat climate change, or simply for improving the area where they live” organisers said.

This year’s seven categories include biodiversity and landscape, business, community, schools and waste and recycling, and the county’s green heroes. 

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “We can see the reality of climate change across the globe on a daily basis and are proud that the majority of organisations involved in Creating the Greenest County have declared a climate emergency and made a strong commitment to achieving net zero emissions. 

The Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan sets out the collaboration required to achieve our aspirations and the Greenest County Awards recognises those that have gone above and beyond to support this. We are launching this year’s awards at E. J Barker and Sons at Lodge Farm, who won the Biodiversity and Landscape award in 2019 and are sharing their best practice at COP26 this year.”

The awards ceremony will be held at The Hold in Ipswich on November 12, 2021.

Nominations for the Creating the Greenest County Awards are now open and close on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Nominations can be submitted online. If your business would like to sponsor the awards, contact creatinggreenestcounty@suffolk.gov.uk or 01502 521406.

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