New greenhouse growing standards announced

New standards for organic greenhouse crops have been put forward by the Soil Association, which include reducing their carbon footprint, it has been revealed.

Following an open consultation on the topic, the organisation has detailed three main areas of proposed change.

Firstly, an energy plan should be drawn up if certain amounts of fossil fuels are being used to heat crops.

Secondly, producers who do not rotate their crops must demonstrate they have a robust plan in place to deliver soil and crop health.

Finally, all producers must create a fertility management plan, which should outline how nutrients are being used as efficiently as possible.

Kathleen Hewlett, Soil Association standards coordinator, said:
"Growing crops in a glasshouse or polytunnel helps to increase productivity and extend the UK growing season but if these ‘protected cropping’ systems are to make a contribution to the resilience of our food supply it is important to ensure that they are managed as sustainably as possible."

The Soil Association was formed in 1946 by individuals who were concerned about the implications of the trend towards intensive agricultural systems after the Second World War.