CHICKENS4By Jess Latchford of First Choice

At First Choice, we pride ourselves on being able to trace where all of our products come from.

Working closely with farmers and growers who have the same principles as us with regards to husbandry and sustainability is of the utmost importance. Those who look after our feathered friends are no different. We are lucky enough to now be stocking Conservation Grade eggs, supplied by the lovely Patrick (via his chickens obviously) of Dinton Farm, in Bucks.

So, eggs is eggs right?! Wrong. What’s the crack with these eggs? Well, in a nut(egg)shell:

Conservation Grade is pledged to restoring farming sustainability. Its farming protocols concentrate on achieving ecological sustainability in food production through Nature Friendly Farming. Independent scientific trials demonstrate that this approach leads to a significant increase in biodiversity compared to conventional farming systems’

Eggs, such as those lay at Dinton Farm, carry the Conservation Grade ‘Fair to Nature’ seal of approval. There are a number of standards that these farms must meet in order to be honoured with this accolade. These include having to already be full members of an approved Assured Food Standards farm assurance scheme, and the prohibition of using harmful pesticides and any GMO products. Not only this, but members are also expected to undertake carbon accounting to estimate emissions from their land and operations, develop a Farm Environment Plan and they must participate in the training programmes provided for farmers. One of the most important parts of joining this scheme is allocating at least 5% of their land to conserving insect-rich areas, winter bird food and tussocky and fine grass (in order to provide ideal habitats for ground-nesting birds). These habitat areas must be validated by a third party that includes organisations such as the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

As you can see, it takes a lot of dedication and work to become a part of such a well-respected organisation. What’s clear is that these farms are truly making a difference to the landscape in which our food is produced. At First Choice, we feel we all have a responsibility to continually monitor and engage with those growing and producing our food, and helping them out where we can. Not only do they taste so much better, but we also know they and we are helping care for our environment. The chickens roam freely, and the surroundings which they occupy are feeding not only them but a whole host of other animals, insects and organisms.

For more information about First Choice call Ron on 07771 714527