A great deal of energy and effort continues to be invested in developing the projects identified by the Sustainable Growing Media Task Force.
Gary Scroby, HTA Policy Manager comments “Many stakeholders have grouped together to make good progress on individual work streams and we expect delivery of some key outputs early in the New Year.” These include:
Project 4: was established to deliver the Task Force promise that “All growing media are made from raw materials that are sourced and manufactured in a way that is both socially and environmentally responsible”. ADAS have been developing decision trees that will evaluate all growing media materials against seven key criteria; habitat and biodiversity, energy use, water use, social compliance, pollution, renewability and resource use efficiency. These will be finalised in January and then tested by manufacturers on existing products.
Project 7: is developing the methodology for a minimum performance standard to ensure that multi-purpose composts are fit for purpose. STC will shortly conclude glasshouse growing and seedling trials and will produce recommendations in January. The Growing Media Initiative will then look to mould the outputs of Projects 4 and 7 into a workable membership scheme for manufacturers to benchmark the responsible credentials of their growing media mixes.
Others include the landscape sector working group’s development of an assurance scheme for public sector procurement that will ensure responsibly sourced growing media is used through contract growing, and the forthcoming HDC managed project to deliver a programme of targeted research and development, knowledge transfer, demonstration trials and dissemination of best practice to move the professional sector down the same path.
Scroby adds, “Most of the Task Force projects hinge on the work within Project 4 to define responsibly sourced growing media. The complicated threads of this work are starting to come together, and in the New Year we will test the emerging conclusions in the market place. By 2015, we will have a workable scheme in place that enables all parts of the supply chain to measure the social and environment responsibility credentials of their mixes.”