Levy UK + Ireland, the sports and hospitality sector of Compass Group UK & Ireland, today announced plans to sponsor an innovative demonstrator farm which will help educate current and future generations of chefs and farmers on sustainable farming practices.
Called the Biohub at Ings Farm, the project is a regenerative agricultural initiative that will also enable Levy UK+I to grow its own produce which will help serve its partner venues across the UK. In addition, it will play a crucial role in the implementation of its long-term sustainability strategy.
Launched in collaboration with Yorkshire Water, Quorn Professionals and RegenFarmCo, the Biohub at Ings Farm is a 92-acre plot which will be developed into a biological platform of social and ecological activity.
RegenFarmCo (CIC), a specialist regenerative agriculture consultancy, will lead on the design and management of the Biohub at Ings Farm. They will work closely with Levy UK+I and Compass chefs, culinary teams, and their wider supply chain, to develop sustainable crops and ingredients which will be directly incorporated into future menus.
Quorn Professionals, the foodservice division of the market-leading meat-free brand will also take an active role in the Biohub scheme, alongside landowner Yorkshire Water.
Yorkshire Water will include the project in their Beyond Nature® programme, an environmental initiative which helps its tenant farmers practice a sustainable and biodiverse approach to land management and agriculture.
The Biohub site, located near Harrogate, will also be used as a learning hub; facilitating training for the next generation of farmers and chefs centred around the latest developments in sustainable farming, resource management, and the diversification of food production systems.
Jon Davies, Managing Director at Levy UK+I, commented: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Levy UK+I, so it’s important for us to safeguard the future of farming. For us, this centres around eco-friendly practices and partnerships that promote local, plant-based produce. Working with Yorkshire Water, Quorn Professionals and RegenFarmCo is a great example of our approach. The Biohub at Ings Farm will play an integral role in our sustainable food strategy going forward.
“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. Levy UK+I will continue to implement and advocate for sustainable initiatives to ensure that we remain an agent of change at the forefront of the food industry.”
Ellie Janes, Foodservice Lead for Nutrition and Sustainability, Quorn Professionals, said: “Our purpose at Quorn is to provide healthy food for people and the planet. We put the planet at the heart of everything we do and share many of the same ambitions as the partners involved in this project. We want to inspire and motivate the next generation of chefs, farmers, and more to be part of the solution our planet so desperately needs.
“Doing nothing has never been an option for us at Quorn. As the pioneer of meat-free, it’s a privilege to support this pioneering project alongside the partners, leading the way as pioneers together. Saving the planet one farm at a time.”
Dr Vincent Walsh, Head of Farm Innovation at RegenFarmCo, said: “Whether addressing the climate crisis, improving our food security or responding to changes in consumer behaviour, the way we manage our land and grow crops needs to change. And while innovations in agritech, and new low carbon methods of cultivation are incredibly important, it’s projects like the Biohub which will help ensure the farm to fork journey becomes genuinely sustainable.
“Having a major culinary business-like Levy UK+I take a leading role in this project, supported by Yorkshire Water, Quorn Professionals and ourselves, also demonstrates how collaboration between food businesses, landowners and farmers can support a more integrated, circular approach to the food supply chain.”
Lisa Harrowsmith, Lead Surveyor for Yorkshire Water, said: “Our land strategy focuses on delivering exceptional land for Yorkshire, forever. This project helps us to achieve that and much more. We’re delighted to welcome the Biohub at Ings Farm to our Beyond Nature® scheme.
“We, and our tenant farmers, are enthusiastic about sustainable land management and livestock farming – helping consumers to make better, more informed choices about where they buy their produce. We look forward to collaborating with our tenants and Beyond Nature® officers to support sustainable food sourcing at the Biohub.”
Enabling works have already commenced on the Biohub site, and employees from both Levy UK+I and Quorn Professionals will be taking in part in an extensive programme of land preparation and tree planting in November.