Oyster catcher chick among potatoes at Vital Veg, Aberdeen

Better for Nature

Like many organic farms, the Vital Veg fields are teeming with wildlife. We go above and beyond the organic certification rules, as we feel that it's our duty to provide a safe haven for wildlife as well as people. It's also a joy to hear the hum of insects, and the song of multitudes of birds as we work on the farm! Tree sparrows nest in our nesting boxes, AND in our insulated veg shed roof - we hear them stomping about in there above the office, and as their families expand, they extend their accommodation by throwing out the insulation! They like to fly into our keder houses and eat the craneflies and leatherjackets - which we very much approve of! There are foxes, badgers, moles, red deer, snipe, willow warblers, skylarks, cuckoos, yellowhammers, wrens, swans, ducks, ladybirds, bumblebees galore and many many more, and that's the way we like it!

We make sure that we do not drive over the nests of ground-nesting birds with our tractor, by watching carefullly in spring as the birds arrive, and we mark their nesting sites with tall canes to protect them. We have planted several wildflower meadows, over 30,000 native trees, several hundreds of metres of native hedges, and we leave some of our crops to flower to provide early food for bees and other pollinators in the springtime.

As a result, sometimes we're lucky enough to witness baby birds just hatching, such as the oyster catcher in the photo above, taken a couple of years ago in our veg field! Here's a link to a short video taken as the chick starts to hatch, cheeping loudly from within the shell:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=561857227189934&set=vb.107154062660255&type=2&theater

There is a lot of research data confirming what we knew instinctively, ie that organic farming is better for nature.

The research shows that, on average:

  • Wildlife is 50% more abundant on organic farms 
  • There are 22% more bird species on organic farms
  • There are 75% more plant species on organic farms, with a significantly greater coverage of wildflowers
  • There are 50% more species of pollinators (butterflies and wild bees) on organic farms
  • Rare species such as iconic skylarks do better on organic farms

 

For more details, and references, visit:  http://www.soilassociation.org/whatisorganic/organicfarming/wildlife