Unilever Regenerative Agriculture_Unilever Colman's Mustard Jar (2)

Source: Unilever

The project will last for four years

Unilever has launched its first regenerative agriculture programme in the UK, working with farms that grow mustard seeds and mint leaves used in Colman’s products.

The project will trial the application of regenerative agriculture practices across mustard and mint farms around Norwich and Peterborough over four years, with the first crop of the programme due to be sown next month.

Unilever will bring together two farming co-operatives – the English Mustard Growers and the Norfolk Mint Growers – agricultural service provider Farmacy, and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

Multiple practices designed to address the unique challenges of the mustard and mint crops will be trialled on the participating farms.

These methods will include the use of low carbon fertiliser, crop nutrition strategies, planting of cover and companion crops, new digital water irrigation scheduling systems and reduced cultivation.

Unilever has worked with the farms to collect and establish baseline data and created a framework to measure the impact of the practices.

It will collect data on soil health, fertiliser use, biodiversity, water use efficiency and carbon reductions, as well as impact on yields and farm profitability.

Unilever will also fund the development of new technologies to improve data collection on farms, including a device that will be able to measure carbon levels in soil in situ.

“Healthy soil should matter to all food businesses and as the climate crisis continues to impact the natural world, we need to not just protect but to help regenerate the soil and farmland used to grow the crops and ingredients we enjoy every day,” said Unilever UK&I head of nutrition Andre Burger.

The project contributes towards Unilever’s global goal to invest in regenerative agriculture practices on 1.5 million hectares of land and forests by 2030.