RSPB's Hope farm, at the time of the wheat harvest, Knapwell, Cambridgeshire

Richard and Inger Mee - Leicestershire

Richard and Inger Mee were finalists in the RSPB Nature of Farming Awards 2013.

Overview

Judge's view

"This farm is a model of how to engage with local communities and neighbouring farmers and show there is a different way – using organic – to create both a profitable business and rich and varied habitats for wildlife."

- Fergus Collins, Editor, Countryfile

Summary

Richard and Inger have farmed organically since 1998. Growing wheat, fruit and salad vegetables, and raising beef cattle, pigs, sheep and laying hens. They supply Waitrose and local butchers, and their on-site farm cafe – promoting local, organic food.

Nectar flower strips, beetle banks, wild bird seed mixtures have created diverse habitats around the farm, buffering the neighbouring SSSI wood and enhancing wildlife corridors along well established hedgerows. Formerly ploughed land by the river has been reverted to extensive grassland.

The farm now throngs to the sounds of skylarks, lapwings and reed buntings. It provides a home to brown hares and barn owls, purple hairstreaks and bats. Trefoils, clovers and chicory provide food for both wildlife and livestock.

In addition they've made good use of support and advice from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Natural England and the Woodland Trust.

Farmer's view

“We are convinced that organic farming, hand-in-hand with protecting wildlife, is the right thing for us to do.”