Quorn and Compass Group partner for regenerative agriculture demonstrator

Tree planting and land preparation at the site will begin in November

The aim is to turn the land near Harrogate, called the ‘Biohub at Ings Farm’, into a “biological platform of social and ecological activity”. It will be used to pilot best practice approaches to sustainable farming, including multi-cropping, efficient materials usage and waste avoidance.

Supporting the two businesses on the pilot is specialist firm RegenFarmCo. The consultancy will be tasked with designing the farm and laying out how it should be managed. Levy UK&I, meanwhile, will relay the learnings to its wider supply chains. It will also work with chefs and development teams to ensure that the foods produced can be incorporated into the menus it offers at sports and hospitality venues.

Some of the venues which Levy UK&I serves are Chelsea FC’s stadium, Stamford Bridge; the O2; Wimbledon; Twickenham Stadium and London’s ExCeL.

Also involved in the ‘BioHub’ project is Yorkshire Water, which is the landowner for the site. The water firm is including the project in its ‘Beyond Nature’ scheme, which encourages and supports farmers to implement sustainable practices that boost biodiversity, carbon sequestration and natural flood management capabilities. The scheme has been running since 2016 and covers some 12,300 hectares of land across nine farms.

All parties involved in the Biohub intend to use it as a “learning hub” and are set to share the learnings across their value chain. They will also facilitate staff visits for training purposes.

Levy UK&I’s managing director Jon Davies said the project “will play an integral role in [the company’s] sustainable food strategy going forward”.

Davies said: “As the market leader in sports and leisure catering, we believe it is our duty to drive better environmental standards across our sector. Through investment in regenerative agriculture, it is our hope that we will be able to foster a closer working relationship between farmers and chefs, who will work in partnership to provide outstanding quality, sustainable produce to visitors at our partner venues.”

Participant pledges

Last year, Levy’s parent company, Compass Group, set a 2030 net-zero target. Levy UK & Ireland subsquently set its own 2027 net-zero strategy in place. Reducing food miles and increasing the use of seasonal and plant-based foods will play a key role in meeting these targets.

edie last covered sustainability news from Compass Group last month, when the business issued its first two sustainability-linked bonds, collectively raising more than £680m to support social and environmental actions.

Quorn, meanwhile, is working towards net-zero operational emissions by 2030 and is aiming to have a ‘net positive’ impact on the climate and environment within the same timeframe. It also has a net-zero emissions pledge for the global supply chain for 2040 and has stated that it wants to “act as an example within its sector of a sustainable and thriving food system”.

Finally, Yorkshire Water is participating in a joint pledge across England’s water sector to reach net-zero by 2030. The sector is collectively working to plant 11 million trees and restore 20,000 hectares of peatland and grassland as a contribution towards this target.

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