Visitors to the 16th National Organic Conference are in for an immersive experience showcasing the best of organic food and farming, with opportunities to attend discussions on supply chains and food networks, explore the latest scientific advancements in the sector, and tour a local organic farm’s key facilities.
Taking place on 4th July in Shropshire, the event is organised by Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) and will be chaired by Ben Briggs, editor-in-chief at Agriconnect. Delegates will be welcomed to Green Acres Farm by hosts Mark and Liz Lea, who have held an OF&G organic licence for more than 20 years.
The event programme features expert talks led by a knowledgeable and experienced panel of speakers, who will be discussing organic supply chains and food networks, from building market sales to farming healthier soils.
Soil health will be at the heart of a session delivered by independent specialist Joel Williams, who will expand on how good soil management is an integral part of a biological, whole-system approach to farming using the latest science.
Garethe Hughes will be sharing how the innovative Open Food Network is successfully creating access to new markets and building a fairer UK food supply chain through its growing online platform.
Meanwhile, Stephen Briggs will present Climate Farm Demo, a seven-year pan-European project led in the UK by Innovation for Agriculture and Abacus Agri, which aims to establish a network of 1,500 climate smart organic demonstration farms, with 130 based in the UK.
Another session is set to explore emerging seed breeding techniques and highlight the need for legislative protection for genetically diverse cereal varieties. The winner of the Organic Research Centre’s Young Organic Farmer of the Year will also be announced at the conference.
Following an organic, locally produced lunch prepared and served by the prestigious Shropshire-based restaurant CSONS, delegates will be taken on a guided farm walk and shown key developments at Green Acres Farm.
The Woodland Trust’s Jack Starbuck will be joined by Liz Lea to explain how the farm’s new woodland plantation was designed and implemented, while Mark Lea will give delegates a tour of the farm’s grain processing and milling enterprise.
Visitors will also gain an in-depth look at the latest research into ‘living mulches’ and an array of crop variety trials, presented by staff from Organic Arable and the Organic Research Centre.
Commenting on the event, OF&G CEO Roger Kerr said: “Now in its 16th year, OF&G’s NOC has become the organic sector’s flagship event in the UK food and farming calendar. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase organic in-person and in action, with evidenced benefits the organic sector is delivering.
“Organic growers are providing nutritious food using scientifically researched and well-established agroecological and sustainable farming methods. Organic is helping to protect and restore the environment, while maintaining a viable and buoyant market, currently valued at £3bn.
“NOC welcomes everybody, not only those working in the organic sector, but also from the wider food and farming community, to come and see innovative, real-world organic techniques in an immersive, working farm environment.
“This conference offers the organic sector the opportunity to step forward and communicate our unique and vital contribution to the climate and nature emergencies,” Mr Kerr concluded.
For more details and to book tickets, visit: https://ofgorganic.org/news/national-organic-conference-2023