Menu Making the Fens sustainable and resilient!
Explore the Fens

The Fens account for around half of the most productive (termed “grade 1”) agricultural land in England.  The Agricultural sector includes farming and horticulture with 37% of England’s vegetables being grown here including Fen celery which has been given EU geographically protected status due to its distinctive nutty and bittersweet taste. This puts it on a par with Melton Mowbray pork pies and Parma ham. The Fens are also an important area for growing ornamental bulbs and flowers.

Around 8-9% of fenland farmland is under environmental stewardship. In these schemes farmers are actively involved promoting wildlife on their farms for which they receive additional subsidies. In the Fens the key focus is on the improvement of areas of grassland to make them more attractive for wildfowl and waders and the installation of arable field margins to provide food and cover for populations of farmland birds (birds which really heavily on in-farm habitats for their existence). Many fenland farmers are passionate about the wildlife on their farms and prepared to go that extra mile.

The new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) will have a profound effect on the way the land is farmed and for farmers. It will bring challenges but also the new opportunities that could work for the land and the business. More information on ELMs

A challenge that is facing farmers and growers in the Fens who have areas of peat on their holdings and use to grow crops will be how to continue using those areas if they are productive and reduce the CO2 emissions. Research and work is being carried out by a number of organisations and information released when it becomes available. Fenland SOIL is a farmer led organisation that is working to help find solutions to this challenge. 

Alternatively if the areas of peat are not productive due to issues with maintaining water levels, considering a change of land use to wetland that will create peat forming habitat and restore the remaining peat to a healthy ecosystem that sequesters and stores CO2 instead of emitting may be an option. 

Commercial Glasshouse Production - For many years this sector has worked to develop circular systems and improve the carbon footprint of nurseries. New technology is providing more opportunities to achieve low carbon farming. Two new nurseries are being built, one in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Low Carbon Farming team set out to improve greenhouse heating systems to meet this challenge, and in doing so created a world first. Read more