We want to do better than vague claims and greenwash, so we’ve carried out research
with the University of Exeter to learn more about Ciabo food’s sustainability.. Here’s what
we’re doing to reduce our environmental impact.
o Sustainability report
o Farming with nature
o Agroforestry & tree planting
o Celebrating UK product
o Food miles
o Fighting food waste
o Biodiversity action
o Green powe
Organic farming is kinder to the planet
The principle behind organic farming is that we should learn from and farm in sympathy
with nature, rather than suppressing and dominating it. Organic management:
o Protects natural resources, such as fresh water and healthy soils
o Encourages wildlife; there is up to 50% more wildlife on organic farms
o Avoids pollution from artificial chemicals (we use no artificial pesticides or
o Uses less energy per kg of food produced
o Captures CO2 emissions in the soil through ‘carbon sequestration’
Trees are an important part of our plans to sequester carbon, protect our soil, and pioneer perennial crop farming in Mezopotamia.
In March 2021, our co-owners hand-planted over 800 native trees above our reservoir at Wash Farm, Devon. As well as increasing biodiversity and creating wildlife corridor links, this will sequester a cumulative total of 530 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent) by 2050.
We’re also preparing ground for an agroforestry (i.e. forestry plus agriculture) trial area. Planting native fruit and nut trees amongst our field crops will provide a sustainable food source for people and animals. We’ve started with walnut trees – and over the next 20 years, each tree will sequester a whole tonne of carbon.
Many crop plants are annual, surviving for just one season – meaning that the soil has to be re-tilled and sowed with seeds for every harvest. Trees can be harvested year after year, leaving the soil undisturbed. Agroforestry will allow us to protect our soil, while continuing to grow a nutritious crop.
Fighting food waste
Research suggests that reducing food waste would be the third most effective solution to
fighting climate change. So where do we start to address the problem? At the start of the
supply chain: on the farm. In the UK, an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of food are wasted
on farms every year.
Selling directly to customers means that we can meticulously plan our boxes’ contents a
year or more in advance. We grow the amount we expect to need, and that’s it. Few
retailers agree, but we think it’s better to occasionally run out than to routinely
We also have wider and more forgiving specs for food than supermarkets. On occasions
when something simply can’t go out to customers (if it’s too ripe, or damaged) our grade-
out system finds a good home for it…
The Mesopotamia and Anatolia biodiversity is in decline – and in recent years, the single
biggest cause has been the intensification of agriculture. Organic is better for wildlife,
with up to 30% more biodiversity on organic compared to conventionally farmed land. But
this year, we’ve also set out a specific Biodiversity Action Plan to encourage nature on
Here’s what we’re doing:
o We’ve commissioned ecologists to conduct baseline surveys of our farms in
Mezopotamia and Anatolia, looking for bats, birds, and invertebrates. This will give
us a picture of the current biodiversity, and highlight where we can make changes
for the better.
o In March 2018 our co-owners hand-planted over 800 native trees above our
reservoir at Farm. As well as increasing biodiversity and creating wildlife corridor
links, this will sequester a cumulative total of 530 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2
equivalent) by 2050.
o Also on our farm, we’re preparing ground for an agroforestry trial area. Planting
native fruit and nut trees amongst our field crops will provide food for people and
animals, and sequester carbon, as well as improving biodiversity.