The Co-operative Farms has welcomed Labour’s shadow Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) team to its farm at Coldham, in Cambridgeshire, as part of a fact-finding visit.
Lord Jim Knight and Gavin Shuker, Labour and Co-operative MP for Luton South, visited Hall Farm, near Wisbech, where they learnt about The Co-operative’s farm and its various environmental and educational projects.
During their tour they visited The Co-operative’s first windfarm, which was set up at Coldham in conjunction with Scottish Power in 2005, and its award-winning outdoor learning experience, called “From Farm to Fork”, which launched last year following a £130,000 investment.
The From Farm to Fork project, which is run by The Co-operative Farms as part of The Co-operative Group’s “Green Schools Revolution” initiative, aims to give schoolchildren a greater appreciation of the outdoors and an understanding of farming.
They also heard about The Co-operative’s “Habitat Heroes” project, a national scheme to protect and preserve some of the UK’s most iconic species. At Coldham, the business has installed three artificial otter holts with built-in cameras on the banks of the Old River Nene, which have recorded rare footage of otters.
Tom Paybody, Farm Manager at Coldham, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Jim Knight and Gavin Shuker MP and showcase our operation, especially our windfarm, Habitat Heroes and From Farm to Fork projects, and give them a greater understanding of The Co-operative’s farming business.”
Lord Jim Knight is the Opposition Spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the House of Lords, which he joined as a life Peer in 2010, while Gavin Shuker MP is the Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Co-operative Farms owns more than 1,500 hectares at Coldham, where it has grown onions, potatoes, shallots, sugar beet, beans, wheat and rapeseed for more than 100 years.
Gavin Shuker MP commented: “It was very interesting to visit Coldham and especially to learn about The Co-operative Farms’ various environmental and educational programmes that benefit the local community.”