Below is the programme for ORFC 2019.
Please note, although we don’t anticipate any major changes, the timetable will not be finalised until December when the programme is sent to press. We are still waiting for details for some sessions and if you are involved in organising, or taking part in a session and you notice something that is amiss, please get in touch quickly (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can put it right. This programme and all of the sessions included in it, are subject to change and/or cancellation.
ORFC 2019 Day 1 3rd January
Speaker: Eliot Coleman
Chair: Robert Fraser
Over the past half-century, pioneering farmer Eliot Coleman has been perfecting his organic farming practices and taking every opportunity to spread the word. He has been called “incomparable” by The New York Times and “one of America’s most innovative farmers” by Michael Pollan. His Four Season Farm in Maine is an internationally recognised model of sustainable small-scale organic agriculture, and in 2015 he received a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his innovative work to better the American food system. Coleman is the author of many books, including The New Organic Grower, a seminal title that helped launch the organic farming revolution and inspired a generation of farmers to work with the land, rather than against it. In his keynote session Eliot will guide the audience through the journey that organic farming has been on and what he believes is in store for its future. He'll share some of the valuable lessons that he has learnt along the way, recounting both highs and lows, while providing insight into what lies ahead.
Speaker: Vivien Sansour
Chair: Neil Monro
Part of the Fertile Crescent, Palestine has been considered one of the world’s centres of diversity particularly for wheat and barley. This biodiversity, which has kept us alive for millennia, is being threatened by policies that target farmers and force them to give up their heirloom seeds and adopt new hybrid varieties. Heirlooms, which have been carefully selected by our ancestors throughout thousands of years of research and imagination are forming one of the last strongholds of resistance to the privatization of our life source: the seed. These seeds are in essence carrying the DNA of our survival in a violent context that is seen across the hills and valleys through settlement and chemical expansions. The Palestine heirloom seed library is an attempt to recover ancient seeds and put them back into people’s hands. While the seed library is an interactive art and science project that aims to provide a public space for people to exchange seeds and knowledge; it is also the subversive rebel who is of the people and is inspired by the nature of seeds that travel across borders and checkpoints defying the violence of the landscape while reclaiming life and presence. The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library and its affiliated project El Beir, Arts and Seeds studio are located in the Bethlehem District and provide both seed and art collections.
Speaker: Steve Gabriel
Humans’ relationship to livestock has a long and storied past, and modern agriculture has sought to separate the field from the forest, and the food from the animal. Silvopasture, the agroforestry practice that combines trees, animals, and forages, invites us to explore an approach to ecological farming that ranks among the best solutions to climate change, all while providing an ethical and productive system for healthy livestock. Through historical narratives, case studies, and the latest research findings, this session will offer not only the key principles to a successful silvopasture, but also suggest a paradigm shift in the way we as farmers operate in the landscape. In particular, the immense potential in tree fodders will be discussed, exploring species including willow, poplar, mulberry and black locust, which both offer nutritional and medicinal benefits to livestock, and the farmer a response to increased rainfall and drought at the whim of a changing climate. These fast-growing trees offer a roadmap for implementation and a call to action, as planting them in diverse land types is one of the quickest ways to drawdown carbon and put it back where it belongs; in soil and in trees.
Contributors: Kerry McCarthy MP, Kath Dalmeny, Vicki Hird
By January 2019, we should know much more about what type of Brexit lies before us. We have weathered the EU Withdrawal Bill, with some positive outcomes and some important legal principles already lost, and by then Parliament should have had their Meaningful Vote on the UK’s proposed relationship with the EU. A new framework for UK agriculture (and fisheries) policy has started to emerge. We are promised a new Environment Act and watchdog that may or may not have teeth. Meanwhile, there is pretty unanimous agreement across the food and farming sectors that ‘no deal’ with the EU would be pretty disastrous for UK farmers (making the £13bn export market on our doorstep less accessible and more complicated), as well as for the environment, animal welfare, antibiotic controls, and workers’ and citizens’ rights. And international trade deals have taken on the status of elephant in the room whenever food, farming and fishing standards are discussed, raising questions about who will actually be taking back control: The UK and our elected representatives; Or international trade negotiators behind closed doors? Bringing together an experienced parliamentarian, with three leading Brexit food, farming and environment policy specialists, this session will take an accessible (and hopefully playful) approach to helping ORFC participants understand the Brexit ‘state of play’ that will inform food and farming policy for years to come, and indeed so much else that will be discussed at this year’s conference.
Speaker: The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Chair: Kerry McCarthy MP
The UK's farming sector is undergoing an unprecedented period of change with several key pieces of legislation, uncertainty around Brexit, and the possibility of free trade deals on the horizon. At the centre of all of these is the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove, who will be joining the APPG on Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming for an audience-led Question & Answer session. The session will be hosted by Kerry McCarthy MP: Chair of the APPG on Agroecology, member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Select Committee, and previously the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Speakers: Jyoti Fernandes, Nick Gumery, William Hudson
Chair: Charlotte Steel
In this session we will explore the opportunities and challenges of working more regeneratively together throughout the agricultural supply chain. By regeneratively we mean we are creating more than we are taking away; putting back more than we extract. It’s a change of mindset beyond sustainability, which seems to imply maintaining the status quo. Regeneration is about fixing the damage and beginning to think about a net positive balance. In terms of agricultural supply chains this is complex. How do we ensure that as consumers, retailers, wholesalers or processors we are encouraging, supporting and incentivising the primary producers of our food (or perhaps cosmetics!) to put back more into the soil, the community and the natural world than they take away? How do we make sure that profits are shared more equally and prices at the farm gate are not squeezed by disproportionate power further along the supply chain? Can suppliers and buyers collaborate to consciously regenerate agricultural systems, and develop and empower communities, whilst also working within the capitalist system? How would a truly regenerative web of enterprises that produce and exchange goods and services in a way that continuously adds value to each other and the planet actually work?
Speakers: Simon Parfey, Felicity Crotty, Jennifer Dungait, Neil Fuller
Chair: Paul Flynn
Is it possible to manage our soils sustainably? What are the key threats, and opportunities, for positive change? This workshop will offer the chance to meet leading academics and practical soil specialists to discover where the answers may be found. Hosted by the Soil Association.
Speakers: Lynn Tatnell, Jonathan Storkey, Jez Taylor
Chair: Nicola Cannon
Getting on top of problem weeds takes an integrated approach, including direct, cultural and biological control methods. This session will outline agroecological approaches to managing weeds with examples of some of the most troublesome arable and horticultural weed species. Hosted by Agricology.
Speakers: John Cherry, Sam Parsons
Chair: Rob Havard
The summer of 2018 will be remembered for a six-week spell from the end of June to the second week of August when daytime temperatures in parts of the country consistently topped 30°C (86°F) and many areas were affected by lack of rain. Debates about climate change and climate volatility were hotly contested as hose pipe bans were introduced. For the nation’s farmers, however, it had to be ‘business as usual’ to feed their animals. For pasture-fed farmers, feeding 100% pasture, this posed a greater challenge for some than others. This session, led by three Pasture-Fed Livestock Association members, from different parts of the UK, looks at how they fared and what lessons were learned to be prepared for future extreme weather events.
Speaker: Johannes Storch
Chair: Adam Keeves
It is now widely acknowledged that tillage can have a detrimental effect on soil health. Find out how the team at Bio-Gemusehof (Germany) are applying different mulching systems and innovative machinery across 8ha of field crops and tunnels to reduce tillage, while feeding and protecting the soil. Hosted by the Soil Association.
Speakers: Lizzie Sagoo, Lydia Smith, Joe Howard
Chair: Samantha Mullender
Many progressive farmers and growers are seeing the benefits of integrating leys into cropping systems – in particular for weed management and soil health. This session will explore these benefits as well as the practical and financial implications from research and farmer experience. Hosted by Agricology.
Speakers: Chantelle Williams, Jeremy Percy, Ruth Westcott
Chair: Humphrey Lloyd
We're leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and the political wrangling of its quota system, but what next for our fish, fisheries and fisherfolk? Sustainably managing fish stocks whilst also rejuvenating our ailing fishing industry will raise many tensions, not least those between industrial ships and the small scale fishing fleet. We must now engage with these tensions and begin to articulate what food sovereignty means for our fisheries.
Speakers: Ruth Hancock, Beth Summers, Dee Butterly
Chair: Kate Briton
UK statistics show that more than 25,000 farms are currently being run by women and that nearly a third of the agricultural workforce is female. Both of these figures have been increasing year on year. Women account for 56% of employees in food retailing, 62% of kitchen and catering workers and seven out of ten waiting staff. Yet, we know that those most at risk of food injustice and poverty are often women and marginalised groups. This is an interactive, participatory and explorative session on the relationship between our food and farming systems and feminism: What do they have to do with each other? How can feminism help address and change current injustices in these systems? How do we empower more women to become active in, and confident about, effecting the changes we'd like to see in the food system, and agriculture?
Speakers: Simon Ruston, Erica Thompson, Oli Rodker
Chair: Mark Walton
The perception of current planning policy is that it poses many barriers to small-scale agricultural development. Is this really the case? How do we find creative ways to work around these barriers? What opportunities are there for us to work together to effect change? What are the success stories? Join us as the panel share their experiences and invite audience discussion to help explore these questions.
Speaker: Mark Walton
Recent research by Shared Assets, working with Kindling Trust, Ecological Land Coop and Organic Lea, identified the importance of a number of different functions that need to be in place locally and nationally to support community food growers. These included business support, market development, research, advocacy, skills, training and mentoring etc. This participative workshop session will identify what is and is not present in different parts of the country and what might be done to fill the gaps.
Speakers: Ed Hamer, Rupert Dunn, Maresa Bossano, Graham Willett
Chair: Dee Butterly
This session will explore what innovative and independent food distribution models small scale farmers are developing in the UK with a focus on Community Supported Agriculture. We will discuss why these types of short supply chains and informal markets are essential to guaranteeing the resilience of a small-scale farm business and getting the community involved. On the 10th anniversary of the ORFC we will be looking back at the development of the CSA movement in the UK over the past decade and looking forward to the potential for the next 10-years.
Speakers: Steve Carver, Joe Hope
Chair: Kara Moses
In our experience of running practical courses in rewilding at the Centre for Alternative Technology , a clear need has arisen for a network of small-scale land owners/managers and farmers who are keen to become involved in the burgeoning rewilding movement but do not have access to a large estate or large amounts of funding. A critical factor to success and viability is connecting with others taking similar approaches, both geographically to link-up habitats, but also socially to share ideas. In this session we will discuss the benefits of small-scale rewilding to farming, rural communities and biodiversity, and how it differs and complements landscape-scale rewilding. We will hear from people who are doing this work on the ground, about the benefits and challenges rewilding approaches offer. Finally, we will launch a UK network of land managers who wish to implement these approaches, and discuss what this might look like.
Speakers: Kerry McCarthy MP, Simon Fairlie, Isabella Tree, Maresa Bossano
Chair: Lucy Ford
Veganism has moved to the mainstream. More people (especially the young) are deciding to adopt vegan diets and, perhaps more importantly, more people see it as central to their identity. Most of those attending ORFC, be they vegans or not, share similar values about farming and its place in the world, yet there are divisions between vegans and non-vegans that, perhaps exacerbated by social media, seem to be getting wider. This session will bring together four speakers who have all discussed veganism in public and have differing views about its place in creating a world we all want to live in. It will be a chance to ask questions and explore, in a civil way, a topic that has become increasingly polarised.
Speakers include Miles King and Ian Rappel (others speakers to be confirmed)
Chair: Lucy Ford
In today's capitalist society, do we need to value (and therefore protect) nature by putting a financial value on it as 'natural capital'? What are the risks to the natural world and enlightened agriculture of such an approach? In a world where everything appears to have its price, what are the alternatives? Join speakers on both sides of the debate as we explore the concept of natural capital.
Speakers: Colin Tudge, Miles King, Amrita Bhoti
Chair: Lucy Ford
Wildlife conservation strategy these days is shaped by the entirely anthropocentric, materialist concepts of “natural capital” and “ecosystem services”. But although this approach may serve a political purpose, it is not sufficient. Truly to ensure the wellbeing of the biosphere we need to give voice and weight to spiritual values: to reinvoke a sense of the sacred.
Speakers: Will and Pam Best, Pammy Riggs, Iain Tolhurst
Chair: Lawrence Woodward and Eliot Coleman
Generally when people talk about health they tend to talk about disease. How to create and manage positive health in the farming and food system and what the process actually looks like is rarely discussed. Pioneers of organic farming and holistic health believed that a) the health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible and b) if disease can be infectious, so can health. However, in reality farming “for health” and managing the process of positive health on farms is not well articulated or understood. This session highlights some exceptions.
Speakers: Tony Davies, Lynn Cassells, Chris Clark, Martin Lines
Chair: Helen Cheshire
Under the government’s new ‘public money for public goods’ approach, taxpayers’ money will be made available to farmers who deliver tangible public benefits such as thriving nature, fertile soils, public access to the countryside and high standards of animal welfare. This new funding model has the potential to revolutionise our farming sector, creating resilient farm businesses that integrate the production of high welfare, nutritious food with the protection and restoration of our precious countryside for all to enjoy. In this session, hosted by the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), speakers will draw on their first-hand experience of adopting environmentally sensitive and high welfare approaches and how this has vastly improved their farm business by increasing profitability, building resilience and equipping them to deal with volatility. We will explore the new business opportunities presented to farmers and land managers by the government’s ambitious policy direction, as well as those provided by new markets for ecosystem services, and the role of the supply chain in ensuring farmers receive a fair return for their produce.
Speakers: Erica Davies, Robyn Copley-Wilkins, Patrick Holden, Guy Singh-Watson
As recent studies suggest consumers are becoming more concerned about avoiding plastic than they are about price, can small local businesses be nimble enough to take advantage of this new consumer awareness? During this session we will discuss: Packaging which reaches consumers, how will this increasingly affect farm businesses as shoppers move to avoid plastic packaging? And farm plastic waste, what are the problems and how can they be resolved?
Speakers: Tom Lancaster, Stephen Briggs, Vicki Hird
Chair: Abi Kay
The UK Agriculture Bill - a crucial element in DEFRA's policies for future farm support and regulation - is a once-in-a lifetime event for most of us working in or on farming. This session will focus on how the Bill has emerged over the past months, what's to like about it, where it is weak in terms of delivering a sustainable future farming policy framework, and where the really murky bits lie in both how the Bill is written and the politics behind it. Those attending will be able to also share their judgement on the Bill and consider how to lobby their representatives to get the best out of this Brexit Bill and the policies which emerge from it.
Speakers: Molly Scott Cato, Christopher Price, Robin Grey
Chair: Elise Wach
Our agricultural land is being promoted as an asset for financial speculation and tax avoidance, rather than a place for land based livelihoods and growing food. What are the drivers of this and how does this impact farming in the UK? Come and learn about the myriad of tax breaks and other privileges given to owners of agricultural land and why they exist. Help us work out what a better system could be and how we can work together to achieve this.
Speaker: Jay Abrahams
Wetland Ecosystem Treatment, or WET Systems, can purify a range of wastewater types, but use no nonrenewable energy in the process. They differ from conventional Sewage Treatment Systems and Reedbed Treatment Systems, in that WET System design views the wastewater not as a 'problem to be got rid of’, but as a primary resource - the energy input to a beautiful, productive, ecologically diverse, constructed wetland ecosystem. A WET System can be a component part of a whole site water reticulation system, where all of the water flowing through a landscape or development is harvested, guided by gravity flow, and used as the basis of a fertile system - holding onto fertility and growing as much as possible locally. Whole Site Water Reticulation Systems and WET Systems are both ‘components’ of what can be called 'Functional Landscapes' - densely planted, ‘living’ earthen structures, which hold water passing through the landscape in a way that enables it to be used productively. These designed ‘natural systems’ can be viewed as ‘recombinant ecologies’ created to help to repair the damage wrought on natural ecosystems by past and current human interventions. When planted with an appropriate species mix, these constructed ecosystems embed within the fabric of the land the ecosystem service functions of rainwater harvesting, wastewater purification and resource production. They are designed to be resilient, stable to erosive forces, and perennially productive through specific planting regimes, minimising both flooding and soil erosion, and enhancing soil creation.
Speakers: Duncan Catchpole, Gareth Davies, Guy Singh-Watson, Julie Brown
Chair: Paola Guzman
Box schemes and CSAs are some of the most common business strategies to commercialise sustainably grown food in the UK. In England there are at least 250 of such enterprises. These schemes represent an independent retail sector that works towards a better food system. Some of these schemes have expanded nationally whilst others remain local. Therefore, how should the box scheme and CSA sector scale up to trade more food? This session will gather some of the main figures in the Box Schemes and CSA sector who have each implemented a strategy to scale up. This session will be an opportunity to discuss how these strategies work, how they interact with each other, the problems in the food system they resolve and how the sector can work together to trade more sustainable food.
Speakers: Christian Reynolds, Julie Brown, Duncan Catchpole
Chair: Paola Guzman
Food hub is a term used in the UK to describe different types of ‘alternative’ food enterprises or spaces. From enterprises that aggregate and distribute food, to enterprises that broker sales and coordinate distribution, to places where people can come together to learn celebrate local food. Thus, the term food hub has no precise definition. To tackle this ambiguity this session will explore food hubs in from three different perspectives: Firstly, by presenting the results of the first UK food hub survey conducted by University of Sheffield. Secondly, by showing the work developed in the US on food hubs. And finally, by showing two examples of enterprises in the UK developing food hubs. This session is designed to those interested in alternative food retail enterprises that deliver more than sustainable food.
Speakers: Jo Wright, Wendy Paul, Jan Billington, Rachel Siegfried, Ashley Pearson
Chair: Fiona Haser
In this session we will present a short history of the cut flower industry in the UK, its demise in the 1960s and '70s due to the global expansion of horticulture and the total domination of the sector by the Dutch. We will show through our various artisanal business models how essential our work is in promoting British cut flowers, and the importance of growing flowers seasonally in this country without relying on imports. Produced organically, flowers contribute to the wellbeing of the land, and because we all grow a huge variety of species our farms are brilliant for biodiversity. We want to encourage others to join the burgeoning movement of flower growers and win their share of the £2 billion domestic industry at the same time as spreading the joy that flowers bring.
Speaker: Mama D
Here in the UK, we perhaps take too much for granted in the way we speak about ‘that which feeds us’. Yet the way we speak about food defines and shapes how we further relate to the forms in which it is grown, traded, processed, distributed and, finally, eaten. How might we more critically approach our nourishment while taking into account a shrinking planet and a fragile environment? Come and share your thoughts and also prepare for this evening's session in the Christopher Room, 'The Food Journey'.
Speakers: Richard Gantlett, Rowie Meers, Bekka & David Corrie-Close, Jane Hewson, Rupert Dunn
Chair: Lynda Brown
Modern farming has become much more of a singular occupation, with increasingly less opportunities to share views on what makes farmers and growers get up in the morning, and be inspired by what they do. This free ranging self –help workshop brings farmer /grower wellbeing centre stage, and offers an opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions in a mutually supportive, collaborative and meaningful manner. We believe the time has also come for farmer/grower wellbeing to achieve the same status and attention as farm health. With the help of our panel, we will explore what farmer/grower wellbeing does (and doesn’t) look like in reality. We will look at the relationship between farm and farmer health, pin point priorities that facilitate personal health & well being, and how these may help farmers /growers achieve a better quality of life in an ever increasingly complicated world. All topics, novel suggestions, and views are welcomed, including ethical and social aspects the modern agro-ecological farmer/grower faces in this fast moving challenging century. We hope you can join us, and we look forward to an enriching session.
Speakers: Simon Parfey, Felicity Crotty, Jennifer Dungait, Neil Fuller, Paul Flynn
Following the Sustainable Soil Management session earlier, this is a chance to meet the speakers and share ideas to take home. Hosted by Soil Association.
Speakers: Lynn Tatnell, Jonathan Storkey
Chair: Katie Bliss
Got a problem weed you don't know how to crack?! Found a miracle cure?! Join this gathering of weed enthusiasts to share your woes, ideas and successes! Hosted by Agricology.
Speakers: John Cherry, Sam Parsons, Rob Havard
Following the "Drought Resilience: Lessons learned from 2018" session, join the speakers for an informal discussion. Hosted by PFLA.
Speakers: Nathan Richards, Pamela Mason, Eifiona Thomas-Lane, Dai Miles, Arfon Williams, Gerald Miles, Alicia Miller
Chair: Jane Powell
How do you connect farming, nutrition, wildlife and the environment, social justice, culture, business and the economy to make a food system that's better for everyone? The Welsh Government has a wide range of policies on the food industry, obesity, the environment, planning and community food growing, amongst many others that are relevant to Welsh food production and it is currently finalising its land management strategy, Brexit and Our Land, that maps a new turn in Welsh agriculture. These policies are also bound by the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. But we need a holistic perspective that recognises the necessary inter-relatedness of these policies and concerns and brings them into dialogue with one another. If we can see a bigger picture, we can refashion a grander and more radical future for our food system. We will hear from some key areas of Welsh food, farming, environment, nutrition, health and wellbeing and then together we will explore how the pieces all fit together. Come and see if we can forge stronger links between them and build a more integrated food system.
Chair: John Letts
Modern conventional and organic cereal production relies on building fertility through the use of leguminous crops, leys and manure in order to maximise grain quality and yield. Both systems eliminate biodiversity at field level, and replace it with genetically uniform crop varieties that are susceptible to disease and drought, and are unable to adapt to climate change. Organic grain yields in the UK average only 0.7 - 0.8 tons of grain/acre (1.7 - 1.9 t/ha) per year in mixed farming systems - which is equal to the average yield in the Medieval period, when cereals were grown in largely stockless rotations in very low input conditions. In contrast, genetically-diverse populations of ‘heritage’ grains will yield 1.1 - 1.4 tons/acre of high quality baking grain, year after year, without significant rotation or nitrogenous inputs, and increase biodiversity while vastly reducing both labour costs and the carbon footprint of grain production. The key to truly sustainable cereal production is the use of genetically-diverse ‘heritage’ and ‘composite-cross’ populations of cereals that are well adapted to low input growing conditions – and a thriving, local market for artisan bread, beer and spirits.
Facilitators: Guy Shrubsole, Vicki Hird, Carys Roberts, Mark Walton
A recent investigation by 'Who Owns England' reveals that the extent of County Farms in England has halved in the last 40 years. Dorset County Council has recently earmarked six of its County Farms for disposal and sale – 14% of its entire estate. County Farms are a traditionally important step for new entrants into our farming communities. How do we stop and reverse their decline? What campaigns, coalitions and research do we need to protect them? This will be an interactive workshop where we want attendees to bring their ideas and expertise to help plan practical actions!
Ever considered a joint venture? If you are struggling to find land or an opportunity to start your farming business or you are looking to offer land to develop new business ideas or help prepare for retirement, then this session is for you.
We are bringing together experts in joint ventures from England, Scotland and Wales along with farmers who are extremely experienced working in joint ventures to share their practical advice. It’s the ideal opportunity to come and see how joint ventures work in practice, what could they do for you and ask the panel your related questions.
This session is supported by the European NEWBIE project
Speakers:Nick Mole, Jenny Phelps, Liz O’Neill, James West
Chair: Kath Dalmeny
Brexit throws up many challenges for our food and farming system – not least the many issues around standards, public funding, governance and who will hold industry and government to account. This year’s Brexit Marketplace features four specialists on issues that we feel are so far under-represented in post-Brexit policy development, to share their priorities and tell us how we could all be supporting a more integrated approach. Participants will be able to hear from and cross-examine all four specialists, in a lively, fast-flowing and engaging workshop format – on the themes of: (1) What new agriculture policy means at a local level; (2) GM regulation; (3) Animal welfare; and (4) Pesticide regulation and reduction.
Speakers: Carol Lever, Fidelity Weston, Nick Palmer, David Bowles
Chair: Philip Lymbery
The Environment Secretary, the Rt Hon Michael Gove, stated that he wants a “gold standard" in food labelling in Britain. Higher welfare labelling schemes have existed for some time, as has method of production for labelling of eggs. Organisations including Compassion in World Farming are campaigning for method of production labelling to be extended to meat and dairy. The panel will discuss options for “gold standard” labelling and the current situation in which consumers are often confused and misled.
Speakers: Nick Palmer, Mark Hayward, Chris Clark, Thomas Lancaster
Chair: Carol McKenna
Livestock production and its use of finite resources is devastating biodiversity and pushing wildlife to the brink of extinction. Action needs to be taken urgently and many farmers are already farming for food and nature. Panel members will discuss what needs to be done by government, business, citizens and consumers to ensure food security whilst protecting animals, people and the environment. The session will include Compassion in World Farming’s announcement of a new award for farming, food and nature.
Speakers: Janet Dwyer, Will Cockbain, Robin Milton
Chair: Patrick Begg
There are over 6,500 farm businesses in the hills. The average Farm Business Income in 2016/17 was £27,000 before any family labour costs. Basic Payment Scheme income averaged £22,700 and Stewardship payments averaged £11,200. We know BPS will be withdrawn by 2027. How can farm businesses thrive given these financial pressures to keep producing good quality food and public benefits? Will farmers be able to rely on government contracts to pay them on time for delivering public benefits. What will be the impact on remote rural communities if restructuring of landholding occurs? Hosted by the Uplands Alliance.
Speakers: Naomi Oakley, Viv Lewis, Kay Hutchinson
Chair: Kevin Bishop
Many upland farmers have a strong stewardship ethic and value the landscape they produce and the environment they farm. How can farmers and other land managers actively demonstrate their active custodianship of the uplands environment: taking responsibility for its upkeep and protection by committing to reduce pollution, increase biodiversity and proactively adapt and embrace the need for sustainability in light of climate change. How do we deliver all this while maintaining the strong cultural heritage of hill farming and commoning systems?
Speakers: David Corrie-Close, Hannah Fawcett, Christopher Price
Chair: Rob Stoneman
The Government’s consultation document is very clear that public money will be in return for public benefits. Now is the time to be bold and ambitious. These landscapes need to be supported, managed and enhanced. This will require public investment and new financial structures that recognise the public benefit the uplands deliver. Like all public services, we need to invest and reward appropriately in order to maintain and enhance these benefits. What are public benefits? How can we make this work in practice and avoid the huge challenges and pitfalls of the current Countryside Stewardship scheme? Is HNV farming the way forward? How do we reward landscape scale delivery?
Speakers: John Mettrick, Bob Kennard, Richard Young, Nick Allen
Chair: Lady Parker
Small abattoirs are essential for local meat production, including organic and pasture fed. They are crucial in serving producer-retailers, adding value to animals and meat products by the way meat is butchered, packed or further processed. This ensures a better return to the farmer and is a service rarely provided by large slaughterhouses. But the number of small abattoirs is falling dramatically; a third of the smallest abattoirs shut between 2007 and 2017, with six more closing this year and others considering closure. This has detrimental impacts on the environment, animal welfare and the local rural economy and puts fully traceable local meat production at risk, as it becomes uneconomic to transport limited numbers of animals and small quantities of meat long distances. This session will explore the main problems facing local abattoirs and provide an update on the campaign to save them. We will particularly address the significant issue of waste disposal and the lack of value for hides, skins and other by-products. We will also consider the potential for mobile abattoirs and on-farm slaughter in areas without a local abattoir.
Session facilitator: Mama D
Join Mama D for an immersive and thought provoking evening experience...
"We are bringing ourselves into the public eye and then being blindfolded in it, in order to take away the gaze formerly deemed imperial.
We are bringing to your bodies, a deepening experience of what it might feel like to be commodified and treated like an incidental part of life: food as chattel, luxury food, throwaway food, food and lives wasted in the production of surplus.
We will take you on a journey and we ask you to savour the experience, reflect upon it and then share how the insights gained by your interacting body can inform a new era of food justice and what part you might play in it!"
Speakers: Joanna Parman, Adrian Carne
Chair: Sally Bagenal
At no surprise to farmers and growers, recent studies have shown the increasing difficulty of earning a sustainable livelihood through selling a product that has been commodified. Is branding the answer? Is it possible to beat world prices? Where are the pinch points? Where are the opportunities? Do we band together or do we go it alone? Where is the future? In this interactive session, facts (sorry can’t get away from them!), consumer trends and added value experiences will be given as we ask attendees to explore and test with the panel, ideas that they may have to see if we can answer some of the questions presented above.
Speaker: Milly Carmichael
The Bee Roadzz project is a partnership between environmental groups, farmers and communities in neighbouring towns and villages in Wiltshire. It is a local, joined up response to the National Pollinator Strategy and the newly proposed Protection of Pollinators Bill. In its efforts to create joined up corridors of food and nesting habitat for wild bees and other pollinators it is also connecting people to each other and their landscape. What we do for bees, it seems, we do too for ourselves. Crucially, it is building stronger bridges between farmers and their local communities and offering the chance to utilise the resources of the farmed landscape to broader benefit of health and wellbeing.
Speakers: Lynne Kenderdine, Lisa Schneidau
Chair: Ed Parr Ferris
Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) is the only charity that exists to protect all wildlife in Devon and to safeguard Devon’s unique natural environment. DWT has worked with farmers and landowners across Devon for over 30 years, providing high quality advice on wildlife, sustainable land management and ambitious habitat re-creation projects. This session presents our practical experience of re-creating wildflower grassland. It will include: methods of collecting wildflower seed, preparation of donor and receptor sites, practical tasks, success rates, and costs; case studies of grassland creation; and discussion on the importance of traditional meadows and the benefits to our countryside and wildlife
Organised by New Food Entrepreneurs and the Sustainable Food Trust, this informal session at St Aldates Tavern aims to draw out real farming success strategies for an audience of young farmers and potential new entrants. We need more real farmers, but the question is how to get started? Or if you are already farming but want to move in a more sustainable direction, how do you go about it? We’re sure many people have questions about marketing, land access, business planning and a lot more. These are just some of the things we hope to address by bringing young people together to share experiences and ideas. We will begin with an introduction by Ian Wilkinson of Costwold Seeds / Honeydale Farm and stories from young farming entrepreneurs with new ideas. So grab a drink and join us for what promises to be an inspiring start to the evening.
Need finance? Then come to the launch of the Real Farming Trust’s new £1.34 million
‘Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme’ (LEAP) which is funded by the Esmée
Fairbairn Foundation, CIVA and the A Team Foundation. This new programme will
provide affordable unsecured loans of £25,000 - £100,000 side by side with a grant
and a structured and tailored mentoring programme. The Fund was developed with
funding from Power to Change who are also providing some of the funding for the
Come with your questions and meet the people and organisations involved.
For more information, please visit www.feanetwork.org
The following people will be available to talk to: Robert Fraser, Clare Horrell and Jamie Hartzell (Real Farming Trust), Laurence Scott (Esmée Fairbairn Foundation), Michael Norton (CIVA), Robert Reed (A Team Foundation) and Jenny Sansom (Power to Change, The Big Lottery Fund).
Speaker: Suzanne Crampton
Hosted by: Tracy Wathen-Jones
Eleven years ago, Bodacious the ‘shepherd cat’ appeared in Suzanne Crampton’s life after she found him wandering around a shop in Kilkenny, Ireland. When no one claimed him, she took him back to join the array of other animals on her Zwartbles sheep farm. This book is told from Bodacious’ perspective, and takes readers through a year of life on the farm, from his daily farm duties and “shepherding adventures", to the country living and his “unique bond with the shepherd Suzanna”.
ORFC 2019 Day 2 4th January
Speaker: Richard Perkins
Having left Organic Crop Production studies in 1999 with more questions than answers, Richard Perkins spent the subsequent years building up a diverse set of experiences. He had the honour of running the first internationally accredited regenerative agriculture training programs in Dominican Republic, Poland and Luxembourg; introduced concepts of Regenerative Agriculture in Poland, Belarus, Latvia, Denmark and Finland and pioneered Keyline Design and aspects of Regenerative Agriculture in cold-climate Sweden. Now based at Ridgedale Farm AB at 59°N in Värmland, Sweden, he documents the farm regularly through his Youtube channel. Join Richard today as he gives an overview of the work that goes on at Ridgedale while discussing how some/many of the techniques he has developed in Sweden are applicable in small farms in the UK.
Speaker: Barbara Hachipuka Banda
Chair: Ben Raskin
In 2004, Shumei International partnered with the Mbabala Women Farmers’ Co-Operative Union to introduce Natural Agriculture in Zambia. Natural Agriculture encourages minimum intervention in the growing process and involves the use of indigenous seeds, the practice of seed saving, and the cultivation of soil in its natural state without inputs. This project works with smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women, to leverage their traditional cultural knowledge of the land while introducing ecological farming techniques to reduce reliance on store-bought seeds and agrochemicals and increase resilience to climate change. Barbara's presentation will provide an overview of how working with women farmers to promote sustainable agriculture also has a positive impact on gender equality, poverty reduction, education and community development.
Speakers: Andy Dibben, Pete Richardson, Nathan Richards, Rebecca Stevenson
Chair: Ben Raskin
Does buckwheat work against couch grass? What’s the best time to tackle creeping thistle? What new kit or techniques are working well? Suitable for growers of any scale, join us for an informal and interactive session where you can ask our experienced panel for advice on the key challenges growers face.
Speaker: Kimberley Bell
An essential part of the work of sustaining an agroecological system falls at the feet of secondary food producers and retailers. We need a sweeping cultural change to support this new, more complex system of farming, a new way of valuing food and a different way of viewing economics. Diversified and holistic; these new values cannot be simply communicated in lecture halls, schools or through policy change – they must also be demonstrated more immediately and practically within an appropriately designed system of production and commerce. A good retailer can tell you that people often do not act on their intentions alone. If we want to change consumer behaviour then scientists, farmers, cooks, bakers, and retailers need to work together to influence a more powerful driver: Appetite.
Facilitators: Andy Goldring plus team
This session will create a space for collaboration and planning between organisations, practitioners and networks. Its part of the "CTRLShift: An emergency summit for change" event and process started in Wigan, March 2018 which has now involved over 90 organisations.
The initiative starts with two premises.
Firstly that we face huge challenges - climate disruption, Brexit, collapsing biodiversity, social injustice and rapid technological change (to name just a few!)
Secondly that we already have many of the solutions we need to overcome these challenges.
What we don't yet have are sufficient opportunities to plan together and create the new relationships and initiatives that we can use to accelerate the adoption of these nature and people friendly approaches. The session will start with a brief introduction and then use a simple facilitation process to enable participants to cluster around key areas of focus, and look at opportunities to enhance collaboration over coming months. If you can't make the session, please do drop in to the CTRLShift stall in and add your comments, activities, processes, toolkits, aims, tensions and resources to the big picture mapping we are creating during the event.
Speakers: Andrew Barbour, Lindsay Whinstance, Jonny Rider
Chair: Naomi Oakley
Silvopasture is an ancient practice that integrates trees and pasture into a single system for raising livestock. Research suggests silvopasture far outpaces any grassland technique for counteracting the methane emissions of livestock and sequestering carbon. There are also animal welfare benefits, providing shelter and shade. But how do you get started? What types of trees work best and how long will it take to establish? This session will hear from two farmers who have made a start – in different parts of the UK, with their own climate challenges; and a livestock researcher who will look at the nutritional and behavioural benefits of access to trees for livestock. Hosted by PFLA.
Speakers: Adrian Newton, Charlotte Bickler, Andy Howard
Chair: Katie Bliss
Growing crops together presents opportunities for enhancing the resource use efficiency and resilience of cropping systems. This session will explore the potential of ‘plant teams’ in theory and practice, and share some of the practical findings from the Innovative Farmers / Diversify Field Lab. Hosted by Agricology.
Speakers: Anne Stobart, Jim Twine, Caroline Brevett
Chair: Adrian Steele
An essential workshop for herb growers, processors and interested parties to inform the development of the new UK Organic Herb Growers Alliance (OHGA). Short presentations from our expert panel will explore the opportunities and challenges facing UK organic herb growers–including barriers to entry and the need for high-quality drying and processing facilities. Find out how OHGA membership can help your business.
Speakers: Charlotte Rowley, Richard Pywell
Chair: Katie Bliss
Managing pests biologically requires an integrated approach, including improving our knowledge of pest life cycles and integrating habitat to encourage their enemies. This session will share experience and practical tips from science and practice to help us look to design pest resilient farming systems for the future.
Speakers: Steven Newman, Steven Briggs, Jez Ralph
Chair: Darren Moorcroft
Many farmers are interested in planting trees and agroforestry, but practical support is currently thin on the ground. Dipping into the soon-to-be-published 'Agroforestry Handbook', this session will explore the process of planning a new system, finding markets for wood products and calculating the business opportunities of an agroforestry system. Hosted by the Soil Association.
Speakers: Dee Butterly, Josh Healey, Rupert Dunn
Chair: Adam Payne
Overcoming obstacles to establishing the next generation of young farmers and new entrants is a critical issue. Over 33,500 farms have closed down in the UK in the past 15 years. The average age of a farmer is 58 years and just 3% of farmers are under thirty-five year old. New entrants looking to make a start in farming face huge costs, low returns and little in the way of policy support. Despite this there is a rising tide of new entrant farmers finding ways to return to both rural and urban land to produce good nutritious food on a small scale for their local communities. In this session new entrants to dairy, horticulture and arable farming will share their stories, their passions and their struggles, highlighting the issues they have faced and the things that would have helped them out. We will also discuss what the Landworkers’ Alliance are doing to support the next generation both practically and politically.
Speakers: James MacKessack-Leitch, Mags Hall, Kirsteen Shields, Ninian Stuart
Chair: Pete Ritchie
How can government legislation, regulation and fiscal policies enable more people to steward and work the land – providing food, timber and other public goods for our communities? The session will draw from the experience of four people involved with land in Scotland over the last 20 years: the Director of Nourish Scotland; a Scottish Land Commission Policy Officer; a landowning farmer; a Green Party campaigner. The session will explore the dynamics between government, landowners, tenant farmers and those who wish to work the land but can't get their hands on any… We will cover some of the different initiatives and proposals that have emerged in recent years such as: Right to Buy (for tenants, crofters or communities); Community Empowerment Act; Woodland and/or lowland crofts; and the potential of a Good Food Nation Bill. We will also touch on the different legislative approaches of countries in the UK and internationally.
Speakers: Eliot Coleman, Adam Payne
Chair: Ellen Rignall
Have you ever lamented the scant selection of tools on the market for small scale vegetable production in the UK? Many growers are already reinventing tools to maximise efficiency and make tough jobs less demanding. Learn from the experience and ingenuity of two growers on how they have adapted and redesigned hand tools and tractor-mounted equipment to best suit their operations.
Speakers: Kay Johnson, Rachel Wheble
Chair: Charlie Clutterbuck
The “Preston Model” is a term applied to how one council, and its seven ‘anchor’ institutions are implementing the principles of a ‘new municipalism’. Developments are not just run from the Town Hall but with businesses and co-operatives to engage more with local procurement. Preston offers a model for a way forward that encourages local food production and living wages for food service and land workers. Preston is an ideal place to try and build local food production and consumption as it is surrounded by Lancashire, a county with the two main farming methods in the UK – arable and pasture, in similar proportion to the rest of the country. This workshop will consist of three short (5-10 min) presentations on how The Larder is part of the Preston Model, and how we can promote food and farming in municipal development. We will break into three smaller workshops to discuss and propose ideas for implementing proposals promoting better food in cities, using the principles of ‘new municipalism’. These will feed back to our plenary to work up an overall proposal that could be implemented in Preston – and copied elsewhere.
Speakers: Kath Dalmeny, Melanie Fryer, Kay Johnson, Elise Wach, Elizabeth Westaway, Deirdre Woods
Chair: Sheila Dillon
Can increased local food production and stronger local food economies ensure better food that's good for people and planet?
The proposed legislative framework ‘A People’s Food Policy’ is structured around nine themes and provides the blueprint of an envisioned regenerative food system in England. Based on food sovereignty, agroecology, the right to food, social and environmental justice, it is progressive and prioritises healthy diets, public health, agrobiodiversity, community development and farmer livelihoods. The publication of ‘A People’s Food Policy’ marked a wider process of strategising and action, determining how to use the positions and proposals laid out in the document. This session will focus on food (the second theme), in particular policy proposal 2.2: Increase local food production and consumption, with speakers and facilitated small audience groups discussing how different activities contribute to improved local food production, build stronger local food economies and ensure better food for people and planet. Feedback will be used to inform the future work of ‘A People’s Food Policy’ in designing an effective legislative framework to help realise a better food system.
Speakers: Kay Johnson, Simon Platten, Alex Geldenhuys, Dhara Thompson
Chair: Lynne Davis
Food retail continues to be dominated by a small number of companies. Stronger regional coordination of smaller enterprises is required in order to boost opportunities for innovation and growth in the sector. Many groups are experimenting by using online platforms to reduce the overheads of their enterprises. However as of yet, there are few success stories.
Successful examples of internet pre-ordering food distribution systems take advantage of local community assets to leverage the project and enterprises are experimenting and innovating to create models that work. There is a huge amount of learning that is ongoing. Open Food Network is initiating a project that works with small and medium scale food enterprises to help them learn from each other quickly, and to build capacity to make the necessary changes to enable them to grow; building a learning community for such enterprises.
This session is part of this shared learning project. The session will; hear from successful regional food enterprises, outline and ask why some of the solutions have failed, invite stories and suggestions from participants for other solutions, and explore next steps in terms of implementing these solutions
Speakers: Chloe Donovan, Clare Hill
Chair: Anna Cura
Do you want to shift the food and farming system towards a fair and resilient one for all? Do you believe people are the key to creating systemic change? There is an emerging trend in food and farming, one where people are best understood as food citizens, whose agency in and connection with the food and farming system goes beyond the simple act of consuming food. This is a movement we call Food Citizenship. It takes many shapes and forms, but always builds on this common belief. Come and join other like-minded pioneers, share insights, learn from others, and identify your unique position for creating change in the food system.
Speakers: Kate Pressland, Nina Moeller, Rupert Dunn
Chair: Patrick Mulvany
Publicly-funded food and farming research needs to change direction, as highlighted in the Food Ethics Council eMagazine ‘For Whom?. It should strengthen resilient, biodiverse, agroecological food systems for all citizens in the long-term. Yet, it mainly props up industry for short-term private gain. On IAASTD’s 10th anniversary, join us to explore radical options for research and innovation.
Speakers: André Tranquilini, Marina O'Connell, Stuart Cragg
Chair: Gabriel Kaye
Biodynamics has proven able to green deserts, transform soils, increase biodiversity, improve farm viability and provide healthy food. The Biodynamic Association session has short presentations to open up ‘what is biodynamics’ & ‘how is it regenerative’ with time for questions and discussion in groups around each speaker. “How can biodynamics make my farm/garden more resilient? Why would I use it?” – André Tranquilini. “Healing and regenerating the life of the soil; with reference to biodynamic preparations”– Marina O’Connell. “20 years of biodynamic farming – a practical perspective” – Stuart Cragg. Bring your questions.
Speakers: Ian Cheshire, Kath Dalmeny, Helen Browning, David Fursdon
Chair: Sue Pritchard
Come meet and talk to a panel of The RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commissioners, including Chair Sir Ian Cheshire and Director Sue Pritchard. The Commission is a major 2-year independent inquiry on the future of food, farming and the countryside, funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. The Commission is convening different kinds of conversations, with citizens, producers, businesses and academics from different sectors and with diverse perspectives. We are working together to find common purpose, create new possibilities for action, and inspire a mandate for change for safe, secure sustainable food and farming, flourishing rural communities, healthy people and healthy planet. We published our Progress Report in October and are embarking on further research, evidence gathering and inquiries, for our report and recommendations to governments, business and citizens, to be published in June 2019.
Speakers: Ludivine Petetin, Viviane Gravey
Chair: Sam Packer
'Green Brexit' rhetoric from the Environment Secretary has focussed on the environmental harm of the Common Agricultural Policy and the opportunities for better food and farming of leaving the EU. This interim report includes case studies from across the EU which set the bar for what a 'Green Brexit' would truly mean. It asks whether better food and farming depend on a specific form of Brexit or whether they could be implemented irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations.
Speakers: Emily Norton, Patrick Holden
Should the equivalent of financial accounting standards apply for sustainability assessment? Could the UK lead the world in requiring an annual sustainability audit based on an international harmonised framework of assessment? This session will provide an update in the progress being made in persuading governments and markets to adopt such an approach, which could for the first time link outcome based sustainability assessment with food labelling.
Speakers: Molly Scott Cato, Andy Goldring, Isabel Carlisle
Chair: John Thackara
Bioregions are a very old way of human organising around food and other essential resources, and one that is in a resurgence right now. Local economies and ecologies are in a squeeze: climate change, erosion of eco-systems, loss of biodiversity and increasing human pressure on natural resources all mean that we are facing big challenges. Solutions will not come from governments, big business, academia or statutory bodies acting alone. Civil society also needs to be engaged and that means all of us pulling together at a geographical level that makes sense and that we can call ‘home’. Bioregions offer that level of belonging and organising. Mapping onto river valleys, coastal areas, upland stretches and mountains that have a geological and human cultural coherence, bioregions give us focus and a clear territory on which to act. In the centre of this frame, which may be smaller or larger than the county level, is the land’s real productive capacity, and the question of what human activity can be sustained locally. But how do we start to tell this new story in a compelling way that puts care for our planet first? The speakers are all leading thinkers and doers in the bioregional sphere. New ideas will emerge from their public discussion and your interactions with them in the Q&A.
Speakers: Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher (EcoNexus)
Chair: Helena Paul (EcoNexus)
Many people see new technology as the magic trick that will solve our problems. This has drawn us into industrial agriculture, based on vast monocultures and the massive application of chemicals and controlled by ever more powerful corporations. Why is this techno-narrative so strong and culturally enshrined and how can we change that? The narrative of industrial agriculture is like a violent fairy tale with heroes and villains. Agroecology is often dismissed as being about the past, but actually it is the future. To shift opinion we need compelling narratives about food production to lead us towards agroecological approaches: small-scale, diverse agriculture, including organic, biodynamic, permaculture etc.
Speakers: Jenny Hawley, Helen Browning, Richard Young, Robert Craig, Dinah Hillier
The Stockholm Resilience Institute have identified nitrogen pollution as ranking right at the top in terms of transgression of planetary boundaries, but because nitrogen fertiliser users in agriculture are not financially responsible for this damage, use by farmers remains very high. This is because without costing in its negative impacts, there is a strong business case for its use. In this session, leading experts will identify, quantify and monetise the areas where damage is caused by nitrogen use in agriculture and explore the opportunities for applying the polluter pays principle as a post-Brexit policy instrument.
Speakers: Liz Bowles, Sarah Hickingbottom, Darren Moorcroft, Indra Thillainathan
Chairs: Krysia Woroniecka and Jessica Sinclair Taylor
There is a tension inherent in how we use land, whether we want to safeguard space for nature, create places for people to live, or grow both food and non-food crops. Overshadowing this debate is the threat of climate crisis: with mounting evidence on the urgency for agriculture to play its part in meeting ambitious decarbonisation targets, what will land use in 2100 look like if we manage to balance food security and reaching net zero emissions from UK agriculture? And how do we get there? Join Feedback and an eclectic panel to peel apart some sticky questions, including the value of using land to grow products that have low nutritional value, like sugar beet, or can’t be eaten, like bio-energy crops – while hearing how farmers are experimenting with techniques like agroforestry to integrate decarbonisation with food production into the future.
Speakers: Ellen Rignell, Wayne Frankham, Helene Schulze
Chair Neil Monro
How do you go about including seed within your planning? How do you set up seed exchanges? How do you sell seed? These are some of the questions we'll look at in this session as we discuss the different ways you can 'close the circle' of production.
Speakers: Jenny Phelps, Martin Wain, Ann Cantrell, James Hawkins, Richard Rumming, Caroline Hanks
Chair: Brian McDonald
Since its launch in 2015 the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has enabled ninety-eight groups of farmers and land managers to develop shared plans, coordinate action, and receive training and advice from their group facilitator across their landscape to aid action to improve its quality and help restore wildlife and natural systems for all our benefit. This landscape scale approach can cover land under existing agri-environment and forestry/woodland agreements, common land and land not currently covered by a scheme. It builds on the principles of partnership working to deliver environmental benefits. Developed from the principals of the Lawton report, Making Space for Nature (2010) and the flagship Nature Improvement Areas programme, the Facilitation Fund now with over 2,400 farmer, forester and land/water managers is helping deliver real change in the countryside. This session will demonstrate how the approach is working, making a real difference in real places, with farmer members and their group facilitators from a few of the groups delivering this change.
Speakers: Sarah Myhill, Nick Mole
Chair: Tom Rigby
"Probably the most striking part of the OP (organophosphate) chemical saga is its relentless predictability. From the first warnings in 1951 right up to today the pattern has been the same: warnings followed by more research leading to conclusions which beget more research and more warnings. For those who have been poisoned and have lived with failing health for years watching these events has been a horrifying drama with a beginning but no end. They, like everyone else, know that OP chemicals were formulated to poison by destroying the nervous system. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that some people end up sick and crippled because they, quite innocently, came into contact with these highly dangerous chemicals. In the case of sheep farmers the misery is compounded by knowing that government forced them to dip under the law." (extract from the 2004 Organophosphate Report). This session aims to give an update in light of recent events.
Speaker: Lydia Medland
The out of season tomato has become an almost emblematic feature of the modern diet, available in fast food chains and vegan restaurants alike. Yet the experiences of seasonal workers who produce these crops according to the just-in-time dynamics of global demand workers are little visible from the UK. In this session, Lydia will explore the stories and findings of her work with seasonal workers in the Chtouka Ait Baha in Southern Morocco, a region that Lydia describes as an enclave of global production due to the intensity of working life. The session will begin with participatory dynamics.
Speakers: Fidelity Weston, Fred Price, Jenni Dungait, Hannah Steenbergen
Chair: Abby Rose
Fidelity and Hannah have both been monitoring soil health on their farms for the last year, with the help of the Sectormentor for Soils app created by Abby (in collaboration with the PFLA and Niels Corfield). Jenni Dungait works directly with farmers to encourage bringing soil science to the field and learning from farmers what works. Jenni has shown the simple in-field slake test is an excellent proxy for Soil Organic Carbon. Fred is in the 7th year of his journey from a conventional to regenerative farm and has some tips about how he uses the soil as his guide. This workshop is all about sharing our learnings as we have iterated on tests and methods to make soil tests more practical in the field and more helpful in terms of the insights they provide. We will also demo doing the slake test, and infiltration test and then go through some of Jackie Stroud’s earthworm quiz with everyone. We will enable farmers and growers to go home and do these tests for themselves. Let’s all work together to create practical soil health indices that works for each farm, created by and for farmers, with the backing of good science and experience.
The ORFC has grown in size, significance and popularity over the last decade. Whilst this annual counter-conference has brought together a wide network of enlightened farmers, activists and scientists, there is a growing need for the network to interact and develop outside of the conference - across the seasons and a wider geography. With this in mind, and with the huge potential for everyone involved to share experience, practice and ethos, this session will seek views and options for the development of a College for Real Farming and Food Culture. Discussion led by Colin Tudge and Ian Rappel
Speakers: Andrew Barbour, Lindsay Whitstance, Chris Jones, Naomi Oakley
An informal meeting with the speakers from the "Silvopasture: planting for shelter and forage" session. Joining them will be Steve Gabriel, Nic and Paul Renison who farm in Cumbria and their Woodland Trust advisor, Paul Leeson. Hosted by PFLA.
This informal break out session will bring together participants from ‘Controlling pests biologically’ and ‘Plant teams for the future’ to explore questions around the role of crop diversity in managing pests, disease and weeds. What do we know from research and practice? This will be an opportunity to exploring questions like:
'Is there evidence that crop diversity helps to reduce inputs / enhance yield through the provision of ecosystem services?'
'How can crop diversity help keep pest, disease and weeds at manageable thresholds?'
'Which plant teams and in what configurations over space and time?
'What is working and how can we replicate it on our own farms?'
There will also be an opportunity for fine tuning your ID of pests and beneficial insects. Featuring, Adrian Newton, Andrew Howard, Charlotte Bickler, Charlotte Rowley, Richard Pywell, Julian Gold, and Katie Bliss. Hosted by Agricology.
Speaker: Julian Thompson
Land Explorer is a new online data mapping tool being developed by Shared Assets to help anyone find the data and information they need about land. Come and find out more about the types of land data you can find using Land Explorer and let us know how you would like to us it develop it further.
Speakers: Kate Huggett, Guy Shrubsole
Chair: Robin Grey
Land plays a central but often unmentioned role in our country today: Widening inequality, a chronic housing crisis, a dysfunctional food system, poor public health and impending climate disasters. The Land Justice Network have been bringing people together to talk about how land ownership and control is central to all these issues. Join us to hear about what we've learned and to continue the discussion.
Speakers: Kate Huggett, Leslie Barson
Chair: Robin Grey
Inspired by the People's Food Policy, members of the Land Justice Network are exploring how to best create a People's Land Policy and starting to think about what should be in it. Come along to share your views and learn more.
Hosted by Three Acres And A Cow, bring a ballad to share, or come along to listen and join in with old folk songs about land and farming
Speakers: Juanfran Lopez, Javier Carrera
Chair: Matt Dunwell
'Biofertiliser’ is a loose term indicating the use of ferment to enhance biological and mineral additions to soil and plant. It has the potential to increase the farmers' ability to build health and increase crop yield with low input costs. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the practices and quality of homemade biofertiliser. In this session Juanfran will be talking about his experience of making and using biofertiliser in the UK and across Africa, drawing on field trials and applications in temperate and tropical climate.
Speaker: Helena Paul
Chair: Susanne Gura
This session will expose corporate concentration along the food chain. It’s not just the seed and pesticide sectors that are experiencing mergers and extreme concentration, but also livestock genetics, feed, fertilizer, processing, and the retail food trade. Big corporations buy smaller companies and thus increase their market share and power, both within and across the sectors. Hence, companies can dictate prices, terms and conditions and, increasingly, the political framework. Degraded ecosystems, impacts on human health, compromised livestock welfare, exploitation of the Global South are all aspects of a food system too much under corporate control. How can we oppose it? What are the ways out? After initial presentations, we invite farmers and eaters to share their experiences of trying to be independent of corporations in the food chain. AGROPOLY is the title of an easy to read, attractive document that shows in brief how industrialization and concentration in the global food sectors undermine sustainable food systems and food sovereignty. It was launched in 2012 by Berne Declaration (now Public Eye), is available in several languages and regularly updated.
Speakers: Michelle Cain, Tom Levitt, Christine Page
Chair: Simon Fairlie
This session will be in two halves: the first half will discuss what arguments should be advanced to emphasise the value of real milk; the second half will be about future strategies for promoting real milk.
Speakers: Kai Lange, Jane Gleeson, Caroline Aitken
The need for training in the agro-ecological sector is taken up by small pockets around the UK. How can we connect and create a network of training that meets the diversity of needs of new entrants, small holders, converters and farm managers. We need quality education across all levels of the food culture to ensure economically viable, productive and holistic food systems. What have we got? What is needed? How can we network? Come and collaborate.
Speakers: Oli Rodker, Ollie Bettany
How can ELC meet the needs of new entrants into farming? A participatory workshop for potential new smallholders to understand, develop and influence the work we're doing to develop affordable small-scale farm clusters.
Speakers: Oli Rodker, Ollie Bettany
2018 was a big year for ELC. This session is an opportunity to learn about our innovative approach to creating affordable sites for ecological farming, understand the progress we've made and the challenges ahead, ask questions and find out how to get involved.
Speakers: Shane Holland, Ed Martin
Chair: Anthony Davison
This session will look at ways to build communities that: grow, cook and value fresh healthy food and buy-in to their own local supply chain; value and include old people through their knowledge of food growing and cooking; come together to celebrate seasonal foods and add value to produce; set up community meeting places for trade and interaction; set up delivery vans that can also be used for community transport; encourage all to take an active role in their local food celebrations and supply chain.
Speaker: Peter Lefort
Whether we are undertaking activism, business or any other project, looking after ourselves often takes a backseat. But none of us are immune to burning out. Join this practical session to discuss the symptoms and risks of burnout, and use tips and tools to help build resilience into our daily (and busy!) lives, as well as how to avoid contributing to burnout in others.