GROWING THE GOODS
The Defra ELMS trial to map, assess and improve delivery of public goods in the horticulture sector
LWA Project Officers: Rebecca Laughton and Jyoti Fernandes
LWA Assistant Project Officer: Kathryn Miller
The LWA has been working on its Growing the Goods trial since July 2020. The trial forms part of Defra’s Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) Tests and Trials programme. Over the past eight months, Rebecca, Jyoti and Kathryn have held a series of workshops (on Zoom) with growers from across the horticulture sector to develop and try out ideas to design and test how the ELMS scheme could run.
Growing the Goods involves large, medium and small-scale fruit and vegetable growers, vineyard and glasshouse managers, including those with little previous interest in environmental issues and those with a long history of taking environmental action in their business. Importantly, trial participants have had the opportunity to input into the development of the new ELMS payment scheme that will replace BPS.
The first part of Growing the Goods, in July and August 2020, was the co-design phase, in which 20 growers worked together to adapt a computer mapping tool to create a Public Goods Action Audit and Land Management Planning tool, and to explore different options for developing a payment scheme.
The main trial
The main trial began in September 2020 with 40 grower participants from different regions around England. Rthe participants took part in a series of workshops in October and November 2020 to find out which style of teaching (peer-to-peer or expert-led) was most effective in enabling them to share knowledge about possible additional environmental measures they might adopt to increase potential payments. As well as looking at environmental actions, the participants also discussed how to encourage greater public engagement and investigating how supply chains influence the ease or difficulty of delivering public goods.
In December and January 2021, the trial participants created one of two different types of Land Management Plan (LMP) showing which environmental and public goods actions they would take to improve their farm’s performance. The trial participants used The Land App (digital land-mapping software launched in 2015) to create their LMPs.
Reports of Growing the Goods
Rebecca, Jyoti and Kathryn have been preparing Interim Reports for Defra throughout the trial’s duration to enable Defra to integrate the trial findings into the development of the ELMS national pilot. The final report from the LWA for Defra is due in September 2021.
In summary, the main aim of the Growing the Goods trial is to develop a way to reward fruit and vegetable producers who are already growing in ways that will benefit the environment, and encourage all growers to further improve their environmental land management.
Please contact one of the LWA project officers for more details of the trial or to read the interim reports.