Farming the Yeo Valley forever

As you would expect from an organic brand, doing the right thing is at the heart of Yeo Valley. Owners the Mead family have been farming in the valley since 1961, and strive to make their business really sustainable so that they can continue to farm there forever.

With a business like Yeo Valley, a lot of energy needs to be generated to become truly self sufficient, but it is achievable.
Adrian Fenton Conservation Director Holt Farms Ltd

Yeo Valley continue to invest in making their business even more sustainable and always use 100% renewable energy sources. It is their ambition that, through a combination of solar power, biomass and energy saving devices, Yeo Valley and Holt Farms, its dairy farming sister company, will become energy self-sufficient.

Yeo Valley Holt Farm Ltd became a Triodos customer when Triodos helped to finance the installation of a 500kW solar array which occupies one acre of the roof at Holt Farm Dairy. The panels have the potential to generate energy for up to 225 homes and produced enough energy, on average, for 140 houses. They were a big investment for Holt Farms at the time.

Pass it on

Investing in renewables at Holt Farm is just the start; helping others see the benefits of incorporating sustainable initiatives is also really important to Holt Farms and the loan from Triodos also helped establish an educational link between the Yeo Valley Headquarters, Holt Farm and Yeo Valley’s organic garden.

“We run public tours of Holt Farm to various groups – mainly schools, businesses and Soil Association groups – to show sustainable farming at its best,” explains Adrian.

Our philosophy is to do what’s right, for people, for animals and for the environment, and this includes how we run our business.
Adrian Fenton, Conservation Director Holt Farms Ltd

The tour shows how Holt Farms are working towards self sufficiency; as well as a tour of the new solar installation, visitors can see some of the smaller initiatives Holt Farms has introduced.

The tour also shows how the soil is fertilised with manure from the dairy cows, leguminous crops grown as part of the crop rotation cycle, and how bees are important for pollination.

The Triodos Bank loan also funded a viewing gallery in the milking parlour and a classroom/meeting room.

“Using Triodos for the loan was also a very important part of Holt Farm’s long-term sustainable plan. Our philosophy is to do what’s right, for you, for wildlife, and for the world and this includes how we run our business,” said Adrian.

Adrian concludes: “With a business like Yeo Valley, a lot of energy needs to be generated to become truly self sufficient, but it is achievable. It’s our ambition to be 50% energy self-sufficient in the next 10 years. We will be harnessing even more of the sun’s energy with solar panels across all our buildings to power all our sites.

Triodos Bank has 40 years’ experience in financing organic, biodynamic and sustainable agriculture – visit our organic farming page to find out more.

Triodos Bank has published a vision paper on food and agriculture systems. The paper calls for a radical systemic transition from the current production-focused systems towards one that is ecologically and socially resilient and based on balanced ecosystems, a healthy society and inclusive prosperity.

Click here to find out more about the vision paper.