ORFC Director Francesca Price looks forward to the conference programme coming together
This is the bit of conference planning I love, when the submissions are flowing in, you’re in conversation with partners and the possibilities for the next ORFC seem endless!
And this year, anyone submitting ideas or attending the ORFC has the choice of two conferences. One in person in Oxford – back together again for the first time in three years! – and another online, with speakers and delegates from around the world.
While the pandemic kept us all away from meeting face-to-face, it did have an incredible silver lining for ORFC. In 2021, with the support of our partners, we made the decision to host an online global conference which attracted an unexpected 5,300 delegates.
It enabled our community here in the UK to reach out internationally and share knowledge and express solidarity with farming communities, food producers, activists and others in 125 different countries. It was an extraordinary seven days with over 130 sessions in seven languages which left many of us buzzing and wanting more.
And so what started as a way to manage a crisis, ended up being the beginning of a global agroecological community which we hope will continue to grow year on year.
This week, as part of the planning for our next global programme, we’ve been talking to the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) who will bring us a glimpse of the practical and policy work happening with farming communities across Africa. Also, La Via Campesina – the organisation that represents 200 million peasant farmers worldwide – who are currently supporting farmers facing very difficult situations in the Ukraine.
Over the next few weeks, the team will be chatting to food sovereignty groups in New Zealand, Canada, Holland, Vanuatu, Gaza and the Caribbean. There are some fascinating sessions starting to shape up which I’m sure you’ll be keen to join.
Back in Oxford
Meanwhile back in the UK, we had the pleasure of bumping into many of you at Groundswell last week and catching up with what you’ve been doing. Over the last two years, ORFC has officially welcomed four new partners; LION, Shared Assets, Sustain and Schumacher College who alongside the Soil Association, Pasture for Life and the Landworkers’ Alliance will be helping us to shape a jam-packed programme to keep you all on your toes in Oxford.
But the bulk of the sessions in January will still be down to the ideas and proposals you send us – ORFC remains a conference for its community, programmed by its community. The venues and number of delegates may have increased but ORFC remains a platform for you to share your ideas, showcase your work and continue to build the movement.
Send us your proposals
So if you haven’t done so yet, get your thinking caps on and send us a proposal. You now have an extra week! The final deadline is 11:59pm BST on 7 July 2022. We’re particularly keen to hear about anything radical or anything practical.
The in-person conference will be across two more venues this year – all within a short walk of each other – and will be 90 minutes long, giving us all plenty of time for discussion. There will also be space for food, music, performance and any other creative gatherings you’d like to suggest.
We very much look forward to reading them all!