Woodhaven Gardens, the 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, are fans of how New Zealand Good Agriculture Practice’s (NZGAP) Environmental Management System (EMS) ‘add-on’ makes compliance more straight forward.
‘I see the EMS process as the way of the future. After going through the process, it is very clear that this is the path for the industry to go,’ says Woodhaven Gardens’ Jay Clarke, pictured right with Father John, left.
The EMS ‘add-on’ complements a grower’s regular NZGAP audit, by including Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) in the suite of tools that NZGAP offers. FEPs are a way for growers to map their property and identify hazards to calculate their environmental footprint, and record improvements over time.
‘FEPs allow for individual farms, be it kiwifruit, potatoes or leafy greens, to identify their unique risks and put in plans to mitigate them,’ says Jay. ‘The whole process was familiar, being quite similar to the food safety audit and taking the same philosophy of identifying risks and ways to manage those risks. There is a clear checklist and roadmap to prepare you for the audit so there aren’t any surprises.’
Woodhaven has invested significantly in reducing its environmental impact in recent years, adopting a science-led approach that balances conservation with commercial success.
Jay says all businesses have an environmental footprint and growing is no different.
‘It’s just a process of stepping back and looking at areas which do contain risk, and then figuring out the best mitigation tools to fix them.
‘It’s not scary and you don’t get a black mark if there’s something you need to improve. You use those things to build into your plan and keep improving your business when and where you can. Not everything needs to be perfect on day one.’
To found out more about the NZGAP EMS and FEPs, go here: https://www.nzgap.co.nz/