At Millets Farm Centre we are committed to promoting sustainability and continuously work hard to improve our practices within the business. We are delighted to share with you the things we have achieved so far:
Supporting the environment
Phoebe Woods was planted in Winter 2004/Spring 2005 coordinated by the Woodland Trust and consists of 4 acres along a redundant river meadow, approximately 4000 trees made up of Oak, Willow, Alder, Ash, Hazel. This area is now open to the public for walking.
We have done extensive replanting across the farm as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, putting in hedgerows and tree planting in corner/unusable areas of of crop fields.
We grow Cricket Bat Willow on surplus farm ground that can’t be used for other crops. The trees are planted and grown for 15 years at which point they are felled and made into Cricket Bats and replaced with a new crop of young trees.
Our marketing materials are printed on paper from sustainable forests, where more trees are planted to replace those that have been felled. All of the inks used are vegetable based.
We sell the majority of our fresh fruit and vegetables by weight without any packaging.
We have introduced 10 bee hives into our orchards to support the depleted bee population that is so vital for cross pollination.
We have two large reservoirs which collect rain water during the winter months for us to draw on for irrigating the crops during the summer months.
We use a trickle irrigation system for our soft fruit which minimises the amount of water used and ensures the water reaches the plants and is not wasted by watering the surrounding area.
Our large lake supports wild bird life.
Reducing our energy consumption
Over an average 12-month period we generate 169 KWH/180,000 units p.a of electricity from our solar panels on roofs and in fields, significantly reducing our electricity usage from the National Grid.
In all areas of our Farm Shop and Restaurant we have automatic lighting so we don’t waste electricity by leaving lights on when nobody is in the room.
All Shop Floor lighting in the Farm Shop has been converted to LED.
Sprouts Play Barn has a reactive lighting system. On bright days, when a good amount of natural light is coming into the building, it adjusts itself so it uses less power.
Sprouts Play Barn has an air replacement system which extracts the air in the building and replaces it with fresh air from the outside rather than an energy hungry air conditioning system.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint
We make approximately 300 different cakes, biscuits and slices within our bakery department.
All of our bread is made in house by our Bakers every morning (with the exception of French sticks) using flour from Wessex Mill, Wantage, less than 10 miles away.
Our Home Produce department make fresh soups, salads, pates and desserts. Approximately 80 different variations in total.
50% of our suppliers within the Butchery department are local, within a 50-mile radius of the shop. We make our own sausages, burgers and kebabs.
On our cooked meat counter, the scotch eggs and sausage rolls are homemade.
Every day our Deli make fresh quiches in which we use local free-range eggs, British milk, British cheddar and homemade pastry.
We have approximately 110 different cheese in our Deli counter of which around 80 are made in the British Isle’s.
We buy our milk from a family run dairy, helping British diary farmers get a fair price for their milk.
Last year we produced 15 000 bottles of our own Apple juice from apples grown in our orchards and pressed on the Farm.
Of our dry goods suppliers 33% are local, based within 50 miles of the shop.
67% of our alcohol and soft drink suppliers are local, based within 50 miles of the shop.
All coffee, breakfast tea and hot chocolate sold in our Restaurants is Fairtrade.
Reducing our waste
All of our carrier bags and small bags used for fresh produce are biodegradable. They contain Totally Degradable Plastic Additives which means they become biodegradable and break down at a controlled rate once in landfill or a compost heap. The additives do not release any toxins and are therefore environmentally friendly. They will break down within 36 months compared to 500 years for a normal carrier bag.
Customers are also offered cardboard boxes from our many deliveries to take their shopping home in.
Instead of putting food that cannot be sold in the bin it is offered to Staff free of charge first.
Second class fruit and vegetables are fed to the animals on the animal walk way.
All other food waste is composted.
Across our Bakery, Deli and Home Produce departments 54 items of packaging are made of recycled materials and 68 can be recycled.
In 2017 between our Farm Shop and Restaurants we recycled 50 tonnes of cardboard, 4 tonnes of paper, 3 tonnes of glass, 300kg of plastic and 270kg of cans.
Regular staff training is carried out to ensure as much of our waste is recycled as possible.
Wooden pallets are taken back by suppliers to be reused.
We have a salvation army clothes bank on site available for customers to use.
Tired looking staff uniform is given to the field staff to wear to extend its life.
Supporting the local community
Each week we donate fresh fruit and vegetables to the Abingdon and Wantage Food banks.
Sales for our carrier bags go to charities nominated by our team. So far, we have donated over £2000 since the bag levy was introduced.
Our annual Dog Show is run in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind – no profit is made from this family event.
Our annual Duck Race is run in aid of the Air Ambulance and one other local charity by the Farringdon Rotary Club.
Every year we have a Donations budget of £2000 which we use to support local charities and fundraising events with Millets products, vouchers and events tickets.
We have opened up a route across the Farm into Permissive Paths allowing the local community access to countryside walks.
Plans for the future
Continue to reduce the amount of packaging used when we sell our products, ensure as much as is practical comes from recycled sources or can be recycled and communicate this information on an item by item basis with our customers.
Develop Phoebe Woods to support more wildlife by introducing wild flowers, bird boxes, and bug hotels.
Introduce recycling bins across the site to allow customers to recycle their waste as well as staff.
Introduce Electric car charging points.
Introduce a reusable cup scheme within our Restaurant and Café, and a reusable container scheme for Pick Your Own fruit and our frozen fruit and veg mixes in the Farm Shop.
We are going to enter into a new stewardship scheme to plant wild bird mixes and pollen and nectar mixes.
We are exploring battery storage for the energy generated from our solar.