LEAF Marque launch in 2003

Marion Regan (middle left) and Caroline Drummond, CEO of LEAF (middle right) launching the LEAF Marque back in 2003

Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its LEAF Marque.

The certification and assurance system, which recognises sustainably farmed products, is backed heavily by retailers such as Waitrose and brands including Florette.

Since launching in 2003, the LEAF Marque has gone to certify a quarter of all UK horticultural production. When it comes to fruit,25 per cent of UK grown strawberries, 33 per cent of raspberries and 29 per cent of apples are grown to the standard.

“With growing pressure on resources, producing food in a sustainable way is more important than ever and we look forward to continuing our work with the food and farming industry to build on the success of the last ten years,' saidJeremy Boxall, director of the LEAF Marque.

In order to become LEAF Marque certified, farms are independently inspected and audited to ensure production meets high environmental standards within areas such as crop health and soil management.

Marion Regan of Hugh Lowe Farms was the first ever official LEAF Marque grower in the UK and she says gaining the certification should be a key target for growers.

She explained: “I became a LEAF Marque certified grower because I wanted to improve the efficiency of my business, both from an environmental point of view but also economically. I am reliant on the land and therefore taking care of it and our natural resources is vital. It was also important for me to have a tangible way of showing our customers that we grow to high environmental standards and our business is sustainable. The LEAF Marque does just this.”