A renowned rewilding estate has launched a regenerative farming project to demonstrate how food production and conservation can work in harmony.
The Knepp Estate in West Sussex, made famous by founder Isabella Tree’s book Wilding, has taken on an adjacent 150 hectares of farmland and will initially host organic cattle, poultry, and a market garden that will supply a farm shop on the premises.
The new project will be led by the former general manager of the Pasture Fed Livestock Association, the certifying body for grass fed meat and dairy, Russ Carrington, who said: “The vision of this project is to deliver multiple ‘public goods’ for the local community and wider society – healthy food, of course, but also better soil, clean water, clean air and habitat for wildlife, and all the while sequestering carbon to help combat climate change.”
Co-owner of Knepp, Charlie Burrell, said: “For us, rewilding and regenerative farming go hand-in-hand. It’s the sustainable, productive, wildlife-friendly future of our countryside.”
Some 20 years ago, Knepp diverged from traditional land use and farming to pursue a conservation rewilding project. The regenerative farming project marks a comeback into farming, aiming to demonstrate how conservation and regenerative agriculture can work together. Regenerative farming is a term used to describe farming using principles of restoring soil and water.
Rewilding projects have come under scrutiny for reduced food production output, but Carrington told Wicked Leeks that Knepp produces 75 tonnes of live weight meat per year, sold via their brand Knepp Wild Range Meat.
He added: “Creating space for nature supports food production by providing a home for pollinators and species such as owls which can be of benefit to neighbouring farmers and their crops too. This is something we’re really hoping to investigate and understand with this project.”