• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

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Farmer Launches Green Acres: Promoting Environmental Awareness and Carbon Offset Solutions in Northumberland

Mike Dungait, a lifelong farmer from Stannington, Northumberland, is pioneering new efforts to help businesses and individuals become more environmentally conscious and offset their carbon footprint locally. Through his initiative, Green Acres, Dungait aims to foster sustainability and biodiversity while enhancing the local economy.

 

Farming has been a cornerstone of the Dungait family for generations. The family’s agricultural roots trace back to the Roundhead era, and in 1959, Mike’s grandfather moved to their current farm in Stannington, where they have since cultivated a diverse and thriving agricultural enterprise. Over the years, the farm has remained mixed, integrating sheep, cattle, and crops, and more recently, introducing horse liveries and hay supply services.

In recent years, Mike has focused on integrating environmental practices into their farming operations including the installation of solar panels and the move to bio mass fuel.  Recognising the unsustainable nature of intensive farming, which often relies heavily on artificial inputs, Mike has turned to regenerative agriculture. This approach involves planting diverse crops, such as bumble bee bird feed mixes and various grasses, to rejuvenate the soil and attract beneficial predators that protect crops naturally.

Mike’s innovative venture, Green Acres, is a ground-breaking initiative designed to provide transparent and effective carbon offsetting solutions. Unlike many large-scale, international offset programs, Green Acres emphasises local action and visible results. Through planting trees, hedges, cultivating bee hives, and maintaining grasslands, the initiative allows businesses and individuals to offset their carbon footprint directly in Northumberland.

“Our entire premise is to do something local and visible,” says Mike. “We want people to understand why looking after our environment is important and to see the tangible impact of their contributions. We manage people’s sustainability commitments with the knowledge that the offsetting is being done ethically and locally. We’re also giving people solid green credentials that literally don’t cost the earth.”

The system works by people paying a monthly subscription with the basic package planting 17 trees per year, sequestering 60 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Green Acres stands out by offering detailed information and metrics on how much carbon is offset through their programmes. This transparency is crucial for businesses needing to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. By using lower quality land for environmental projects and keeping productive land for agriculture, Green Acres ensures that food production continues while also enhancing local biodiversity.

Mike and his team are committed to involving the local community in their efforts. Green Acres offers various packages for families, individuals, and businesses to join their mission. Local schools will soon take part in talks and visits to the site which will enhance the work done on climate and the environment within the school curriculum. The young people will be able to view nature through wildlife cameras and monitor activity in the many bird boxes being installed. Participants become part of the Greenacres community, helping to spread awareness and drive further environmental action.

“Like nature, there is a delicate balance here. We are creating a space for everyone’s future while maintaining and enhancing our working farm,” said Mike.

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Photo: Mike Dungait at Green Acres ( Steve Brock Photography)