The Prince believes passionately in the clear advantages of organic farming. In 1986, The Duke decided to convert the Duchy Home Farm to a completely organic farming system. Twenty years later, Home Farm is not only a successful and viable working farm, but is a flagship for the benefits of an organic, sustainable form of agriculture.
Some of the features of Home Farm:
The Duke is Patron of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and has worked for many years to help preserve the rare native breeds of the UK, which have been replaced over the years by foreign breeds and breeding programmes more suited to intensive farming methods. Animals such as Tamworth and Large Black pigs, Irish Moiled, Gloucester, Shetland and British White cattle, as well as Hebridean and Cotswold sheep feature at the farm, and are highly prized by The Duke for the quality of their produce and their natural affinity with the British farming landscape.
The first product in the Duchy Originals range was the Oaten biscuit made with organic oats from Home Farm in 1992. Years later, the organic food business has gone from strength to strength selling everything from jams to garden furniture. All profits, currently at around £1 million a year, go to charity.
Education and Research
Home Farm has links with the Soil Association, the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), and is one of the Elm Farm Research Centre’s network of 12 Demonstration farms (for those interested in converting to the organic system). Visits, literature and workshops are used to promote the links between food, farming, health and the environment.
Vegetable box scheme
The Farm now runs a successful vegetable box scheme providing locally sourced and fresh organic produce to over 140 families in the area. The Duke encourages the growth of heritage seeds for the box scheme, sometimes just on a very small plot just to keep the gene pool alive.
Organic mutton from Home Farm is sent to Calcot Manor Hotel near Tetbury and the Ritz in London. The Duke is enthusiastic about restoring mutton (meat from a two year-old sheep), to the dinner tables of the nation after speaking to struggling sheep farmers who found they could no longer get a decent price for older ewes. To this end, The Duke launched the Mutton Renaissance campaign.