22 April 2020
Woodhaven Gardens has been named 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.
The awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date.
Woodhaven Gardens is a family business established in 1978 by Eric and John Clarke, with the lifestyle choice soon becoming a passion for producing the best produce available.
The Levin property is unique for its size and crop diversity – 23 different vegetables, plus maize and ryegrass to improve soil health and reduce nutrient losses. Annually, they sell 27 million individual vegetable units which is about 10% of the national supply, and contribute between $30–35mil to New Zealand’s GDP.
In recent years, Woodhaven has significantly invested in reducing its environmental impact, adopting a science-led approach that balances conservation with commercial success.
The judges said major changes to farming practices have resulted in a significantly reduced environmental footprint, with further improvements ongoing.
“Woodhaven is a leader in research for the vegetable industry – contributing time, money and land in order to measure and provide evidence. This large-scale fresh vegetable growing operation is driving change in environmental sustainability.”
They commended the Clarkes for shifting production areas in order to reduce nitrogen loss and minimise the impact on water quality.
Woodhaven’s owners and directors view the farm holistically – growing for themselves while also enriching the lives of their staff, community, local iwi and environment. Their approach has been shared with Horticulture New Zealand and is being rolled out to other growers in the region.
As well as receiving this year’s Regional Supreme Award, they also received the: