Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit (FCCT)
FCCT is a not for profit organisation that was set up in 2009 to support farmers in the UK to reduce the GHG emissions from their farms. Whilst remaining a farmer led organisation it has now grown to be the foremost organisation in the UK delivering low carbon advice and support to farmers and providing free online tools to UK farmers via its carbon calculator and toolkit.
FCCT has helped lead the revolution in how soils are regarded in the UK agricultural community and in 2018, on World Soils day, initiated the Soil Farmer of the Year completion in order to recognise and showcase farmers who are at the forefront of that work.
I started FCCT with a farming colleague and launched the organisation under the wind turbines at Westmill in 2010. “Carbon cutting Farming – Getting it from the Horse’s Mouth” was the conference, we had industry leaders talking about what was possible (and needed) and we also ensured that, most importantly, it was a conference where farmers were able to share their experiences and exchange ideas with other farmers.
This sense of grassroots collective engagement still underpins much of FCCT’s work and is most obvious in the Farm Net Zero project FCT is leading in Cornwall.
Climate change and the urgency to reduce our own farm greenhouse gas emissions, whilst still producing good food, is an area that the majority of agriculture industry in England has been far too slow to face up to. I have been working to reduce my farm GHG emissions for many years and I hope the person(s) who take over at Westmill will build on the back of this work to demonstrate a commercial fossil free farm which the whole of UK agriculture should be aspiring to.
Westmill also hosts a number of independent businesses on the farm, some of these are profiled below to give an indication of the range of activities at Westmill.
Blacklands Organics rents 10 acres from Westmill and grows a wide range of organic vegetables.
Jamie and Mary who run Blacklands were apprentice organic growers in Gloucestershire and started their own business at Westmill in 2016. As well as selling veg direct from Westmill Jamie runs a market in Oxford and a box delivery scheme
Field scale organic vegetables have been grown at Westmill since Pete Richardson set up Westmill Organics in 2000. Jamie and Mary took over the land when Pete retired; Pete currently chairs the Organic Growers Alliance.
Westmill Forestry is specialist forestry and landscaping family business run by Guy Newton and his sons that has been operating out of Westmill since 2005 Westmill forestry works across much of southern England and even in the heart of London!
Tony’s Trees. Tony Hinkes grows organic veg at Westmill and which he sells every week in Faringdon Farmers Market. Tony’s Trees, which he set up several years ago was one of the first organically certified fruit tree nurseries in the UK. He has been dancing and living a low impact life and at Westmill for 12 years.
Acorn Education – for a similar period of time Chris Parks has been living off grid with his family at Westmill in the straw bale house he built. Chris is an expert in traditional bee keeping running courses on site and internationally and has one of the only bee saunas in the UK. He is also a story teller and educator and builds iron age round houses across the UK