Ballance Farm Environment Award Finalists
The Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) is run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFET) and aims to recognise and celebrate good farm practices which promote sustainable land management through an annual awards programme. It is run in 11 regions throughout New Zealand with each region having a recognised supreme winner of the award, alongside a series of smaller awards. The BFEA team believes that positive role models and opportunities for learning are the most effective tools to improve farm practices. Being part of the awards is a stimulating, informative and enjoyable opportunity to benchmark our farm with other like-minded farmers in our region. It also allows us to have other industry experts have a look at how we farm and give us constructive feedback so we can continue to become more sustainable and stay up to date with the best farming practice.
In 2020 Oakley’s are getting clear on our vision for the future and what we value as a company. With a declared climate emergency we want to show kiwis that we are committed to looking after the land and our natural resources, as we have been since 1870. That way, we can continue to sustainably grow fresh vegetables for New Zealanders to enjoy.
We had two rounds of judging: one in December and another in January after we were recognised as finalists for Canterbury. A diverse panel of judges came out to look at the entire environment that our farm operates in with particular consideration for sustainable profitability, environmental awareness, good business practice and social and community responsibility. We had people from Environment Canterbury, NZFET, Rabobank and the Ministry for Primary Industries come out alongside previous award winners and members of the BFEA committee.
Both times we had a meet and greet, sat down for some kai and went through a presentation we prepared looking at all corners of our business from soil management to community involvement (click on the links to learn more). We then packed into a van and went on an exciting farm tour – we even got to see Robin dig up some spuds! It was truly a family affair with managing director Robin Oakley, director and wife Shirleen Oakley, daughter April Oakley and father Graeme Oakley all there to showcase the farm.
The team loved meeting the judges and chatting about all things sustainability. We are eagerly awaiting the Canterbury awards evening in early March to see how we placed. Keep an eye out on our blog spot to stay in the loop and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @oakleysvegetables for all of the latest updates.