Eco-friendly farmer honoured by retailer

Peter Stirling with his award from M&S.
Peter Stirling with his award from M&S.

An Arbroath farmer has been recognised by M&S for his outstanding contribution to sustainable farming with a special award presented yesterday (Thursday).

Peter Stirling was presented with Marks & Spencer’s Farming For The Future Produce Award for Scotland 2014 at the first day of the Royal Highland Show.

His firm P.J. Stirling, which has five fruit farm and employs 35 full time staff and over 400 seasonal staff, specialises in supplying M&S with strawberries and sprouts.

He impressed the judges as his farm continuously assesses its processes and growing methods to improve efficiency whilst minimising their environmental impact.

The recent introduction of biomass systems at the farm also represents a significant financial investment and has had a marked impact on the farm’s energy use and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The quality of produce has also benefitted from the new technology which has led to reduced wastage.

Peter said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s great to work with a big retailer like M&S which recognises the importance of high quality produce and the need to safe-guard our agricultural industry for future generations.

“These awards are a true validation of the hard work farmers are putting in right across the country and it’s a real honour to have been chosen as this year’s winner.”

Steve Mclean, M&S head of agriculture and fisheries, said: “Choosing the winner of our M&S Produce Farming For The Future Scotland Awards gets tougher every year but Peter Stirling’s commitment to innovation, best practice and future-proof farming really set him apart from the competition.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Peter for his forward thinking approach and dedication to farming excellence. He has demonstrated a real drive to go the extra mile both in the quality of his produce and in his approach to sustainability.”

M&S Farming For The Future champions sustainability and innovation, helping farmers work towards things like being carbon neutral, cutting landfill waste, sustainable sourcing, ethical trading and encouraging healthier lifestyles amongst staff and customers.