Restoring wildflower meadows could bring new era of superorganic food

first_imgThe decline is threatening once-common British flowers such as ragged-robin and harebell, which are closed to being listed as “threatened with extinction”.The Prince of Wales is calling for more Coronation Meadows to be planted to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.The project, which began in 2014, has so far seen 90 new meadows established across the country, including the recently completed Queen’s Meadow in Green Park, London.Ahead of National Meadows Day on July 1, homeowners are also being urged to leave a section of their garden unmowed to allow wildflowers to reestablish.  Cow grazing on Farthing Downs, an area of open space owned by the City forming part of green belt land to the south of London. Grazing cattle on wildflower meadows can improve health and the nutrition of meat Credit:Alamy Stock Photo Marian Spain, Plantlife chief executive, said: “Meadows, once a feature of every parish, are now an increasingly fragile part of our national heritage, but all is not lost.“Coronation Meadows is the largest initiative of its kind in the UK and it’s thrilling to see the ambitious challenge sown by the Prince of Wales being brought to life.”Besides being a quintessential sight of summer which enrich our lives, wildflower meadows are also a haven for wildlife; meadow plants like ragged-robin, lady’s mantle, burnet saxifrage and eyebright support an astonishing variety of wildlife from bees to butterflies to skylarks and lapwings.” Flowers flourish in Priddy churchyard, Somerset, as part of the parish meadows project Credit:Plantlife  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A Marsh Fritillary butterflyCredit:Giles Knightcenter_img Studies have shown that the meat of animals grazed on biodiverse pasture contains high levels of Vitamin E, and quantities of omega-3 fatty acids previously only found in oily fish. Dr Trevor Dines, Botanical Specialist at Plantlife, said: “Essentially you are what you eat. Animals that are able to graze on rich, diverse sources of plants will be healthier and their meat will be better. And livestock make meadows, they help them to thrive and improve diversity.“We would like to see a wildflower meadow on every farm and we would like to see more food branded as ‘wildflower meadow grazed’ as a sign of quality, one step up from organic.” A Marsh Fritillary butterfly The UK has lost more than 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s, an area equivalent to one-and-a-half times the size of Wales. Grazing farm animals in wildflower meadows could reverse the disastrous decline of Britain’s plants and wildlife and usher in a new era of super-organic food, the charity Plantlife has said.Conservationists at the charity, of which the Prince of Wales is a patron, are calling for every farm in Britain to plant at least one wildflower meadow on which cattle and sheep can live.Animals which graze on species-rich natural meadows of flowers, herbs and wild grasses consume far more minerals, proteins, and amino-acids, making them healthier and their meat more nutritious. In the past, Welsh farms often kept a wildflower-rich field called a “Cae Ysbyty” or “hospital field” where sick or recuperating animals were grazed so they could benefit from the mixture of herbs to aid their recovery.  Flowers flourish in Priddy churchyard as part of the parish meadows project last_img read more