Rosie’s Diary: Part 2

May 18, 2020

It’s been a busy and beautiful month here at Gorgate Farm. Whilst our berries are currently green and growing well as we head towards summer, I’ve been working on some extremely exciting biodiversity projects, which will help us now and even more so in the future. 

As a farmer, my focus is equally split between the blackcurrants and the environment. This might be an unusual approach, however I strongly believe you can’t have one without the other. To achieve the best quality crop, we must attract an abundance of pollinators, wildlife and insects who will help us do so. 

As a member of the Blackcurrant Foundation, I work closely with Ribena to grow my crops in line with their Six Point Plan. A plan designed to help us to protect the natural environment and encourage biodiversity on our farms. In addition to Ribena’s Six Point Plan, I also implement my own measures around the farm to ensure we are working as economically and sustainably as possible. 

I have recently installed soil moisture sensors which allow me to monitor the soil and only water the plants when they need it. I am new to this technology but fellow growers have been on hand to advise me on this. Being part of the Blackcurrant Foundation is similar to having 32 mentors who are willing to pass on advice and tips from their years of experience – they are all very supportive and I could not be more grateful. 

In continuing my mission to enrich the environment, I work with 25 local farmers along the River Wensum to help protect this chalk fed river which is very vulnerable to changes that can affect the land and wildlife. Our aim is to work together across 10,000 hectares to improve the surrounding water and soil quality. 

I am also currently waiting for approval on my application for the Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme. We are extremely excited! If approved, we would be able to move away from arable farming completely and enjoy working on a scheme that prioritises the blackcurrants and the environment, turning Gorgate Farm into a wildlife haven. Hedge planting, bee and bird boxes, pond restoration and woodland management are just a few of the ways we are hoping to enhance our surroundings and encourage more wildlife to join us on the farm. 

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