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7 April 2023

Alongside the British Standards Institute (BSI) last week, the UK government launched a new Green Finance Strategy and Nature Markets Framework aimed at boosting the development of green finance and investment in nature-based solutions. The Nature Markets Framework includes investments in soil health to enhance land and provide carbon sequestration, nature recovery, clean water, and other benefits.

Aldi UK has announced that all of its fresh produce growers in the UK will be Leaf Marque certified by the end of 2023. Leaf Marque certification is an independent guarantee that produce has been grown sustainably with care for the environment and workers, including responsible soil management, crop rotation, and reduced use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. This move is part of Aldi's commitment to promoting sustainability and responsible farming practices.

The Soil Health Industry Platform (SHIP) has released its first annual report. SHIP is a collaborative initiative aimed at aligning and amplifying the efforts of major food and drink businesses to improve soil health throughout the UK supply chain, launched last year by the Sustainable Soils Alliance. The 11 members of the Platform have signed up to a soil health commitment, broken down into six categories for action: consistent metrics, risk reduction, communication, knowledge exchange, financial support and Net Zero.  

Farmers and MPs are opposing Natural England’s request for less sheep to be grazed on Dartmoor national park. According to experts, overgrazing, particularly by sheep, is damaging habitats and putting rare bird species at risk of local extinction. Overgrazing can cause soil compaction and erosion, and loss of nutrients, which can have a negative impact on the growth of vegetation.

A new study shows that using compost can benefit both the growth and taste of plants, and the health of the soil. By using compost fermented with a specific bacteria, Thermophilic Bacillaceae, the researchers found that carrot plants grew bigger and tasted better. They also discovered that compost can help plants use natural nutrients more efficiently, which could lead to more sustainable farming practices in the future.

An analysis by NRM Laboratories has revealed that a significant proportion of arable soils in the UK are too acidic. This could impact nutrient availability for crops, with the analysis showing that nearly 25% of the soil samples tested were below the optimum pH level of 6.5 for arable soils and require lime to address the issue.