Crop species mixtures as a sustainable crop production system in Scotland

GWCT is supporting a project focussing on crop mixtures which has started this summer. Funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and coordinated by the James Hutton Institute, the project aims to develop, promote and implement crop species mixtures as a sustainable crop production system for Scotland, and as a resource for knowledge exchange on food production, agricultural ecology and environmental sustainability to a wide audience.

What the project is aiming to do?

The initiative will develop a network of field sites across the main arable food production areas of Scotland. These sites will trial crop mixtures, providing information on how to tailor the use of crop mixtures to different locations in Scotland. They will also provide a platform for knowledge exchange and learning.

The first step is to establish a network of “core sites”, the main hub for the project’s knowledge exchange activities. These core sites will grow crop mixtures and will host visits by a wide range of different groups, all of which have important roles to play in promoting the uptake and use of crop mixtures including:

Greenlawdean Field Margin & Hedge•    Farmers - following the successful GWCT farmer clusters approach, the project will use core sites as a hub for discussions with farmers from the local area, with the aim of establishing a wider set of “network sites” also growing crop mixtures.

•    Local schools – schools will be able to engage in citizen science activities and can use the crop mixtures as an opportunity to find out more about sustainable food production and the ecology of farmed landscapes.

•    Food buyers and producers – aiming to increase the uptake and demand for local products derived from crop mixtures.

•    Policy makers – promoting the place of crop mixtures within future policy decision making.

To complement the field sites, the Crop mixtures project will be providing a wide range of guidance and education material on crop mixtures which will be made available from this website.

Project partners:

Alongside the James Hutton Institute, the project involves and is supported by a wide range of partner organisations:

  • Buglife Scotland
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • LEAF
  • NFU Scotland
  • Royal Highland Education Trust
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Soil Association Scotland
  • Scottish Agronomy

 Related sites

More information on crop mixtures and sustainable farming projects can be found at the following websites:

DIVERSify: Designing Innovative plant teams for Ecosystem Resilience and agricultural Sustainability

TRUE: TRansition paths to sUstainable legume based systems in Europe

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