Root Zero, the carbon-neutral potato brand produced in Pembrokeshire (Wales) by Puffin Produce, has begun the first stage of developing its new broadleaf woodland. As part of its move to full carbon neutrality without third-party offsets, Root Zero has planted 2,500 trees across three acres in Pembrokeshire, forming a new stream-side woodland corridor with species including oak, cherry, downy birch and hazel. The saplings have been chosen to fit in with the surrounding trees and all have been grown in Wales.
The Root Zero Biodiversity Woodland will be managed for the next 15-20 years while it establishes and is expected to sequester around 380 tons of carbon over the next 100 years. Growers will plant a total of 30 acres by 2030 to form the new Root Zero Woodland with benefits to biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and soil and water management. Trees are being planted on land that would not otherwise be productive for agriculture. The woodland will provide pollen, nectar, berries and acorns for birds, bees and small animals, as well as offering new habitats.
It will link with other biodiversity conservation work on Root Zero farms, including a feeding programme for the endangered yellowhammer bird, barn owl nesting boxes, and support for rare solitary bee populations.
Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce, said: “When we launched Root Zero last autumn, we set ourselves ambitious targets to reduce the carbon footprint of the product, as well as making a significant contribution to improving the health of our soil and protecting the biodiversity on our land. Planting the first trees for the Root Zero Biodiversity Woodland is a major step towards achieving those targets and showing that we can create commercially successful, sustainable products by adapting the way we grow, process and transport our vegetables. I’m proud that Root Zero will be leaving a woodland legacy for generations to come.”
In addition to the woodland planting, growers of Root Zero potatoes use regenerative practices to remove carbon from the atmosphere, regenerate soil and increase biodiversity.
Around 110 miles of hedgerows are being conserved and 445 acres of new cover crops are being planted to increase the sequestration of carbon dioxide, boost soil health, and provide further additional habitats.
Root Zero is working in partnership with Tilhill Forestry Wales to develop, plant and manage the new woodland.