3 October 2019
Beneficial insects in organic greenhouses

Workshop for growers at Northdown Orchard, Hants

23 October 2019
Soil nutrient management

A workshop with Mark Measures



17 September 2019
The Diversification Cluster web page has been launched!

Six Horizon 2020 projects are working together in the crop diversification cluster

17 September 2019
Organic World Congress 2020– call for contributions

20th Organic World Congress in France, September 2020



21 March 2019
In adversity, what are farmers doing to be more resilient?

Opportunities, barriers and constraints in organic techniques helping to improve the sustainability of conventional farming

Chris Atkinson

Chris is Head of Standards and Best Practice at the Soil Association. Growing up in a farming family, Chris has a degree in Agricultural Science and took his MSc in Agricultural Engineering. Following several years in agricultural research and practical farming he became an independent agricultural consultant and worked regularly for Scottish Organic Producers Association being involved in inspection, certifica­tion, research and education. Since 2007, Chris has worked for Soil Association, initially at the Northwest Organic Centre, moving to his current role in late 2009.

Anna Bassett

Following her degree, Anna spent nine years as a farm manager, primarily working on free range pig units. The management role involved overseeing and integrating other farm enterprises such as beef, sheep and cropping into the whole farm system. Following that she spent four years working in an advisory role with the Soil Association managing the technical advisory team for the food and farming department.  Anna now works as a consultant, specialising in high welfare livestock management. She still has strong links with the Soil Association but recently much of her work has been carried out in the US, initially for the American retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. and now for the American group Animal Welfare Approved, rolling out a high welfare farm assurance program across the US. Anna was introduced to the Pasture Fed Livestock Association through her work in the US with the American Grassfed Association and has been a director of PFLA since 2012.

Steve Bellingham

For the last 12 years Steve has worked for Natural England (and its predecessors). He has worked on the provision of advice to farmers and the delivery of grant schemes, and for the last two years has been working on the Organic Entry Level Stewardship and Entry Level Stewardships Schemes. Before working in the public sector Steve worked for a feed compounder and a firm of agricultural consultants, and prior to that he studied agriculture in Aberystwyth

Peter Brinch

Peter has worked as a Biodynamic seed producer since 2003 and Seed Development Fieldsman for Demeter seeds Stormy hall and general advisor and promoter of seed saving in farming and horticulture from 2001 - 2006. In 2010 he set the campaign and initiative, open pollinated seeds.   www.open-pollinated-seeds.org.uk

David Brooks

David specialises in studying the interactions between farmland management, plant species diversity and invertebrate populations with the aim of modelling how changes within each and the wider environment will impact upon invertebrate populations. The aim of the work is to produce more sustainable crop production systems by improving ecosystem services.

Dan Bull

Dan is farm manager at Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Berkshire and has been a grass farmer all his life, organically for most of it.

Kate Collyns

Kate worked in publishing for seven years before taking part in the Soil Association's Organic Apprenticeship scheme in 2008-2010, working at Purton House Organics near Swindon. She still works there part-time, and has set up a sustainable market garden between Bath and Bradford on Avon, Grown Green @ Hartley Farm, selling fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit to the café and farm shop, and several local pubs and restaurants.

Dr. Marion Casagrande

Marion is Assistant Professor for Agronomy at ISARA Lyon. Her research is focused on design and assessment of sustainable cropping and farming systems. In the last years she worked on organic wheat cropping systems, with an emphasis on the effect of weeds (QLIF project, 2005-2008). She was involved in a European project for designing sustainable vegetable farming systems in Latin America (EULACIAS project, 2009-2010). Recently she carried out a participative study with farmers to identify adaptation options to climate change (2011). She currently works on the barriers and drivers of the uptake of innovative agricultural practices by organic farmers such as conservation agriculture (TILMAN-Org project).

Philip Cook

Philip Cook is MD of the Coombe Farm farming and rural business activities. Philip trained as a chartered accountant and after qualifying in 1980 has spent his entire career in the agri food sector and been specifically involved with integrated food and farming enterprise.

Dr. Julia Cooper

Julia is a Lecturer in Soil Science in the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University.  She worked in the organic industry as a researcher, smallholder and inspector in Canada, before moving to the UK in 2004.  Her main areas of research interest are soil C and N cycling in agro-ecosytems, with particular emphasis on: reductions in N losses via leaching and denitrification; greenhouse gas emissions; and C sequestration. She is the lead Newcastle researcher involved in the TILMAN-ORG project, has coordinated the N-TOOLBOX project aimed at strategies to reduce N losses to water from agricultural sources, and currently coordinates the NUE-CROPS project which focuses on identifying crop varieties and cropping systems to maximise efficiency of N and P use.

Caroline Corsie

Caroline has been farm manager of Lower Smite Farm for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust for 7 years and has a background in agronomy, soil health and conservation. She is tasked with maximising biodiversity value whilst making the farm commercially viable.

Simon Crichton

Simon joined Triodos Bank as Relationship Manager, Organic Agriculture in May 2009 and is responsible for lending to some of the UK’s leading organic businesses. As a farmer’s son on the Isle of Man, Simon had an early start in the industry, with a gap year working on a dairy and arable farm in Shropshire followed by a Degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams Agricultural College. In 1997 he made the move to agricultural finance with Nat West’s Farming and Agricultural Finance (FAF) and most recently with Rabobank’s asset finance company De Lage Landen. Simon is actively involved in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement and is Financial Advisor to the Board of Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG).

Dr Christophe David

Christophe is Executive Director at ISARA Lyon. His research is focused on design and assessment of sustainable cropping and farming systems with a special emphasis on organic farming systems. In the last years, he has worked on organic grain systems, with an emphasis on nutrient management and weed management. Recently, he coordinated AGTEC-Org EU project stressing agronomical and technological ways to improve organic wheat quality.  He currently coordinates two PhD working on nutrient management of organic systems (i) from the insertion of legumes and (ii) by partnership between specialised farms on local territories.  Christophe is field editor of Organic agriculture journal. He is also a member of the French scientific council of organic agriculture.

Gethin Davies

Gethin works for the RSPB as an agricultural adviser, focussing on livestock farming systems.   He supports RSPB staff working with many livestock farmers around the UK to help priority species, their farmed reserves, and their research and policy work relating to the livestock sector.

Dr. Thomas Döring

Thomas studied Landscape Ecology at Münster University (Germany) and Agriculture and the Environment in Aberystwyth, finishing his degree in 2000 with a thesis on carabid beetles in organic and conventional arable fields. Staying in the area of insect research in organic agriculture, he moved on to Kassel University (Germany) for a PhD on the control of aphid transmitted viruses in organic seed potatoes. He worked as postdoctoral researcher in the area of insect pest behaviour at Queen Mary University London and Imperial College London before joining The Organic Research Centre in April 2009 as Leader of the Crops Programme.

Neil Edwards

Neil is farm manager at Crichel Farm Ltd., a large organic dairy and arable farm in Dorset.

Sam Eglington

Samuel runs Samuel Eglington (Horticulture) Ltd formerly The Market Garden Supply Co. Ltd and grows vegetables under the Garden Farm Produce label for sale to local wholesalers and shops in Norfolk. He has recently launched The Market Gardener blog and shop selling the Terradonis range of seeders.

David Gould

David has 20 years in the organic and sustainability sector, from raw product to finished good across the entire value chain and with the full spectrum of its operators, supporters, and regulators. He has extensive experience as an organic farmer, processor, consultant, inspector, certifier, accreditor, and organizational strategist. He lives with his family on a small permaculture holding in Portland, Oregon, USA.

René Groenen

René is a biodynamic gardener for 33 years in the Netherlands. The last 12 years he is fulltime engaged with seed propagation (broad beans, French beans, cauliflower, winter purslane, chinese leaves curly kale etc.) and breeding in red beet, carrot, cauliflower and onion. Together with his wife and a co-worker he runs a garden of 8.25 hectare in he south of the Netherlands. René is member of the board of Kultursaat e.V.

Roger Hitchings

Roger has worked for The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm since 1998 and is currently Principal Consultant in Information Services.  His background is in soil science and education, and Roger was a commercial organic vegetable grower for 8 years.  The primary theme of Roiger’s work at ORC has been knowledge transfer in the form of farm advisory visits to commercial clients and through government funded schemes such as the Organic Conversion Information Service and Farming Connect.  The work has also included training events, the delivery of short courses and project engagement on pesticides, organic supply chains, seeds, vegetable market studies/surveys, integrity audits, and environmental benchmarking.  He is secretary to the Organic Growers Alliance and was a member of the UK Government’s former Advisory Committee on Organic Standards and Chair of its Technical Committee for 7 years.

Richard Jacobs

Richard possesses a wide and authoritative knowledge of organic food and farming as well as the policy that governs it.  He has been involved in the organic food sector for many years and is Chief Executive of Organic Farmers & Growers, one of the UK's leading certification bodies for organic food and farming. Also known widely as OF&G, the company was the first body approved by the UK government to carry out the inspection and licensing of organics and last year celebrated 20 years since that milestone.  Richard was a member of the Government's Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS), until it was closed in a Defra reorganisation, and for a number of years was the Chairman of the United Kingdom Organic Certifiers Group (UKOCG), representing all of the UK organic control bodies.  In his past Richard has also been an organic beef and arable farmer for eight years, working for four of those years with the respected Organic Research Centre Elm Farm in Berkshire.

John Kay

John is Farm Wastes and Resources Adviser for the National Trust. He is principally responsible for providing consultancy services on livestock waste and effluent management and farm wastes infrastructure across the Trust’s 200,000ha of farmland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. John has worked in this capacity for the National Trust since 1993.  He works closely with National Trust’s team of regional Food and Farming Advisers to help implement improvements on the ground. John is a strong advocate of high standards of environmental management and efficient resource use in agricultural production.

Richard Kempsey

Richard is Technical Director of Stonegate Farmers.  Stonegate has some 35 farmers supplying organic eggs into the Waitrose under the Columbian Blacktail and Duchy brands. Richard also farms 22,000 free range hens on his own farm in Shropshire. (Columbian Blacktail & Clarence Court).

Prof Nic Lampkin

Nic is Director of The Organic Research Centre and formerly Director of Organic Centre Wales and Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University. He has been involved in organic farming research since the 1990s, with a particular focus on economic and policy issues and is author of Organic Farming, co-editor of the Organic Farm Management Handbook, and more recently has led the development of a tool box for the evaluation of organic farming action plans. He is the organic sector representative on the Defra Agri-environment Stakeholders Group and a permanent member of the EU Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP).

Dr Clare Lukehurst

Clare has been a Fellow of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants for the last 17 years specialising in renewable energy and rural development particularly biogas.  Currently she is the UK National Team Leader representing Government, farming and biogas interests on the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 37 ‘Energy from Biogas and Landfill gas’. In 1993 she introduced the concept of centralised AD to the UK for the first time in a study for the North Tamar Business Network. What started as an enquiry as to how to reduce the problem from slurry odours and spreading during the holiday months led to the approval to build the 1st UK centralised biogas plant: Holsworthy Biogas.

Dr Katharine Leach

Katharine is Senior Livestock Researcher at The Organic Research Centre, working mainly on an EU project on Sustainable Organic and Low Input Dairy Systems (“SOLID”). With a Degree in Animal Production, and a PhD, both from the University of Edinburgh, her recent background is in dairy herd health and welfare, having worked on projects aiming to reduce mastitis and lameness at the University of Bristol.  Prior to this she was based in Scotland, at SAC Crichton Royal Farm.

Dr Paul Mäder

Paul Mäder is the head of the Soil Sciences Group at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland. He has studied Agriculture at the ETH Zürich, did his PhD at the University of Basel, and is responsible for the DOK long-term trial since 1987. He is the author of more than hundred publications in the field of farming system comparison, soil fertility and crop quality. He has a special research focus plant microbial symbioses – especially the functional role of mycorrhiza for plant nutrition and soil fertility.

Dr Heather McCalman

Heather graduated in agriculture from the University of North Wales, Bangor and gained her PhD from Wye College and working for ADAS as a Livestock specialist before travelling and working abroad.  She developed an interest in organic farming research, development and advice at UWA.  She has been a member of the Grassland Development Centre in IBERS since 2000 and takes the lead in organic extension.  She was appointed as GDC Manager in 2008 and the team has progressed into participatory research projects   to further reinforce links between land managers and research scientists at IBERS and to develop research outputs into practice with farmers.

Mark Measures

Mark is an independent organic agriculture consultant specialising in advice and training in farm business management, husbandry, conversion planning and organic systems development. Mark has 25 years of organic farming experience; he established the Organic Advisory Service (EFRC) in 1985 and headed it for 15 years and initiated and coordinated the establishment of the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative. He has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of organic production and its markets, research and standards development. He has travelled widely and has experience of organic extension throughout the world.  Mark currently works through a number of organic organisations and producer groups including heading the Organic Systems Development Programme at EFRC.  He is a partner in a mixed organic farm, joint editor of the biannual Organic Farm Management Handbook and Director of Institute of Organic Training and Advice (IOTA), which provides training, information and accreditation to advisers throughout the UK and Ireland.

Dr Kurt Möller

Kurt holds a degree in Agronomy with the specialization in Crop Science, and a PhD research in organic potato production from Technical University of Munich. He then gained a post doc at University of Giessen, Germany. For five years he has been an assistant professor at University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. His main research areas are use of digestates as fertilisers and characteristics of commercial organic fertilizers.

Becky Nelder

Becky is Livestock Researcher at The Organic Research Centre and has been part of the team for 4 years working mainly on monogastric feeds.  This has focused on the move to 100% organic rations. Projects have included home-grown feeds, on-farm processing and locally sourced feeds. She has also been looking into novel and underutilised protein sources for pigs and poultry.

Dr Susanne Padel

Susanne is principal researcher and team leader for livestock, socio-economics and sustainability assessment at The Organic Research Centre, covering projects related to standards and certification, market development and consumer attitude, policy support, profitability as well as assessing the public benefits of organic farming.  Susanne has been involved with organic farming since the early 80s. After working in advice for organic farmers in North Germany, she worked as a researcher at Aberystwyth University, joining ORC in 2009. Susanne holds a degree in general agriculture from the Uni. Kassel, Witzenhausen and a PhD in agricultural economics from Aberystwyth University on conversion to organic dairying.

Ross Paton

Ross farms 350ha mixed farm with an emphasis on dairy and has been organic since 2001.  The farms is 40ha woodland and 40ha cereals, with all calves reared for beef or replacements, and a closed herd. The farm is a Climate Change Focus Farm and engaged with the SAC Paraban Project (Johnes Disease control).  Ross is Chair of the Auchencairn Initiative, Chair of the farmer owned co-operativ Caledonian Organics, Director of the Scottish Organic Milk Producers, and Chairman of Farm Stock Scotland.

John Pawsey

John farms 1,700 acres, a predominantly stockless organic system south of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and is a fourth generation farmer. He also contract farms a further 830 acres for 4 other organic farmers locally. John is a former Chairman of Suffolk’s FWAG, a member of the NFU’s Organic Issues group, a member of the IFOAM UK group and is currently Chair and a Director of Organic Arable. He is married with 3 children.

Dr Bruce Pearce

Bruce joined The Organic Research Centre in 1999 and has undertaken a number of roles.  He is currently responsible for overseeing the research and information programmes, contracts and personnel of the organisation.  His research activities have covered a wide range of areas include seed and variety rights, monogastric feed and production, farming sustainability assessment, implications of GM and participatory research methods. Prior to joining The Organic Research Centre he was part of MAFF’s Chief Scientists Group and worked for the Consumers Association’s Gardening Which? Magazine.  He has a degree in Biological Sciences and PhD in Horticulture.

Peter Plate

Peter is a practicing farm vet in Salisbury with a special interest in organic farming and a member of the Soil Association Agriculture Standards Committee. 

Ben Raskin

Ben has been working in horticulture for 19 years. He is currently Head of Horticulture at the Soil Association and also works freelance as a horticultural advisor. Recent projects include work for The Community Farm near Bristol and Carbon Gold.  Ben has a wide range of experience working with growers at all levels of production. His own experience includes; running a walled garden in Sussex supplying a Michelin starred restaurant, working for Garden Organic at their gardens in Kent. Ben also set up and ran the 10 acre horticultural production at Daylesford organic Farm, before moving to the Welsh College of Horticulture as commercial manager.

Pete Riley

Pete was appointed Campaign Director of GM Freeze in 2004.  He was previously Senior Campaign on Food and Farming for Friends of the Earth. Ben has a degree in Ecology from the University of Edinburgh.  He worked on two projects developing sustainable food and energy production in the Vale of Evesham from 1975 -1992. For five years he was a consultant in waste management and minimisation with Save Waste and Prosper Ltd specializing in hazardous household waste, composting and waste minimisation.

Dr Dave Roberts

Dave is Head of SRUC Dairy Research Centre, Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries with particular interest in grassland and dairy farming systems.   He is Lead scientist for DairyCo research partnership on ‘Forage, soils and grassland.’  David was President of British Grassland Society 2009 – 2010 and Vice President Royal Highland and Agricultural Society Scotland  in 2011 .  He is a board member of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming)  and of RABDF (Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers), as well as a Fellow of Royal Agricultural Societies and a Nuffield Scholar.

Kevin Ruston

Kevin has been Head of Defra’s Organic Team since December 2010. He has also recently taken on responsibility for uplands policy and leads on the UK’s mapping of Areas facing Natural Constraints (ANC), under the draft Rural Development Programme. He has worked in a number of central Government Departments where his responsibilities have ranged from policy on Trade Union and Employment law, through managing the Disability Discrimination Bill Team, to leading a Customer Insight project in Defra. 

Geoffrey Sayers

Geoffrey is a dairy farmer, with a previous career in finance in London, Hong Kong and Bangkok.  He has 1700 milking cows over 5 sites in the Westcountry. Four sites are organic and 1 is in conversion. The farm focuses on milk from grass for welfare reasons and to lower our cost of production. His cows average 5000-6000 litres per cow on a block calving system using mostly cross bred cows.  He founded The Well Hung Meat Company in 2002 and runs a Holiday Cottage enterprise called Carswell Cottages in South Devon. He also has a dairy brand called Holy Cow, which currently has one product, Organic Cottage Cheese, sold through Waitrose.

Alan Schofield

Alan is an organic grower with 30 years of experience.  Alan and Debra used to supply the multiples and local wholesale markets Unhappy with the uncertain returns from both sources. They established Growing with Nature (GwN) in 1992 to secure a market for own grown produce and now works in collaboration with 4 other local growers on production. GwN won the Lorraine award for conservation in food production in 1996 and then was voted best UK Horticultural producer in 1999 by SA/You magazine.  In 2004 Alan won the Organic Trophy for his contribution to UK Organic horticulture. He is a past Chairman of the SA Horticultural Standards committee and past member of the Standards Board and UKROFS technical committee. Currently, he is a member of the SA Farmer and Grower board, an advisor to Isle of Man Government on Organic production and has recently established a local producer base on the Island selling through a network of Farmers markets. He is also a Chairman of the Organic Growers Alliance.

Nadia Scialabba

Nadia has been pivotal in mainstreaming environmental considerations in the food and agriculture sector since 1985 within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.  Currently, she is the senior adviser to the Assistant Director General of FAO's Natural Resources Management and Environment Department.  Nadia is responsible for the FAO cross-sectoral programme on organic agriculture, as well as the development of tools for sustainability assessments throughout the production, post-harvest, marketing, consumption and end-of-life food chain.

Dr Jo Smith

Jo studied for an MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy at the Natural History Museum and Imperial College and for her dissertation compared soil macrofaunal communities in organic and non-organic gardens. She went on to complete a PhD on assessing the value of agri-environment schemes for soil biota with the Centre for Agri-Environment Research at the University of Reading, joint with the Soil Biodiversity group at the Natural History Museum. She has been working at The Organic Research Centre since June 2009. As Senior Agroecology researcher, Jo is responsible for the agroforestry programme, and is working on a range of projects investigating the value of agroforestry as a way of reconciling production with protection of the environment.

Laurence Smith

Laurence Smith is Senior Sustainability Researcher at The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm. His work is focussed on the development and application of sustainability assessment tools and farm-system modelling.   Laurence is also leading a work package within the Defra and Devolved Administration funded Greenhouse Gas Platform and is pursuing a part-time PhD at Cranfield University exploring the impacts of a large-scale conversion to organic farming in England/Wales.

Alison Smyth

Alison specialises in working with farmers to develop agri-environment schemes that deliver sound benefits for wildlife whilst integrating biodiversity and wildlife/habitat management with their everyday farming activities.  She is an Associate Consultant with Abacus Organic Associates; works closely with Natural England delivering OELS Best Practise training and advice; and uses her extensive experience in practical conservation management to advise National Trust and many private landowners in managing sensitive landscapes and habitats in the East of England.

Phil Stocker

Phil is the Chief Executive for the National Sheep Association, the UK’s specialist membership organisation for those interested in sheep and sheep farming.  Phil took up this role in 2011 having spent well over 20 years in practical farming and farm management, followed by 15 years leading the Soil Associations support for its farmer and growers members.  Phil is keen to see the efficient production of healthy sheep, incentivised through strong markets, and central to attractive and healthy environments and rural communities

Elizabeth Stockdale

Elizabeth is a lecturer at Newcastle University in the School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development.  Twenty-five years of studying soils has just made her more and more excited about the world beneath our feet and she can often be found in holes in fields sharing that enthusiasm with farmers.

Jessica Stokes

During her MSc in Animal Behaviour at Exeter University Jessica came to Bristol Vet School at Langford over the summer of 2007 to work on the healthy feet project, working with farmers to reduce lameness in UK dairy cattle. In autumn 2007 she joined the Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group to start a PhD as part of the healthy feet project, investigating novel and existing methods of detecting and treating digital dermatitis (DD), an infectious foot disease in dairy cattle.   She then carried out a post doc looking at the risk of breakdown with DD infection and time to recovery.  Eager to apply research in the field and put research skills to use in knowledge transfer on farm, in March 2012, Jessica joined the AssureWel project, a 5 year collaboration between Bristol University, RSPCA Freedom Food and Soil Association working to embed animal based welfare assessment into farm assurance schemes.  Her role includes providing training and support for producers and assessors to target management strategies to improve welfare outcomes and facilitating knowledge transfer on farm through existing industry channels to support welfare improvement.

Christopher Stopes

Christopher is President of the IFOAM EU Group with over 25 years’ experience in policy, research, technical and market development for sustainable food and farming with a primary focus on organic, climate change, animal welfare and pesticide policies. He was previously Head of Research at The Organic Research Centre – Elm Farm and has degrees in biological sciences and agriculture.

Jonathan Storkey

Jonathan is a plant ecologist working in agricultural systems. The broad remit of his work is to expand the knowledge base of the functioning of arable plant communities to inform management strategies that reconcile crop production with the provision of ecosystem services and the conservation of biodiversity. His work spans a gradient from applied weed science, including developing cultural control options to control weeds, to more fundamental plant ecology, including quantifying the functional traits that determine the assembly of weed communities in contrasting environments.

Phil Sumption

Phil is an organic grower, researcher and IOTA accredited advisor.  He grew up on a farm in Somerset before studying Rural Environment Studies at Wye College. After working on various organic farms he was the organic grower at Radford Mill Farm in Somerset between 1989 and 1996 and then spent 2 years on VSO in Lao PDR. He has worked in the research department at Garden Organic since 1999 (then HDRA) working on various projects including; Conversion to Organic Vegetable Production, the Sustainable Organic Vegetable Network, Organic Weed Management,  Leafy Vegetable germplasm - stimulating use and NIAB organic vegetable variety trials. Phil has also been an OCIS adviser with the Organic Advisory Service a mentor to CSA growers and has converted a walled kitchen garden at Cotesbach, where he grew organic vegetables for 10 years. He is also on the committee of Mercia Organic Producers, the Organic Growers Alliance and is editor of The Organic Grower. He has contributed to a number of books including Organic Vegetable Production - a complete guide and Pest and Disease Management.

Iain Tolhurst

Iain has been an organic producer since 1976 operating a 200+ per week box scheme using 90% own produce from 75 different crops on 17 acres of land at Hardwick Estate in south Oxfordshire. The farm was the first to attain the Organic Stockfree symbol in 2004, with no grazing animals and no animal inputs to any part of the farm for the past 20 years.  Iain is well known within the organic movement having been active for over 30 years. He also works part time as an advisor for many horticultural farms nationally and internationally, various organic organisations delivering seminars and conducting farm walks. He carries out some voluntary work overseas as well as being the Chairman of Thames Organic Growers. He is considered to be a leading expert on stock-free organic horticulture, and low carbon local vegetable production systems. The farm is a working example of agroecology in action that has been developing over a long period of time and displays a high level of self-sufficiency whilst maintaining close links with the local community.

Richard Tomlinson

Richard is an innovative and successful organic dairy farmer. He farms over 1000 acres of land that carries a herd of 650 dairy cows plus young stock. He was an early advocate of organic farming, converting to organic in 2000, with all of his milk being sold to Calon Wen, the Welsh organic Milk co-operative. Richard was instrumental in setting up Calon Wen some ten years ago and has recently retired his Chairmanship of seven years to release more time to focus on Fre-Energy, he still sits on the board as a founder director. He sees the adoption of anaerobic digestion as the next step in responsible sustainable farming.

Mike Townsend

Mike’s early career was in commercial horticulture, before moving in to Forestry.   He has worked in both the private sector in commercial forestry, as well as the voluntary sector in the UK and in Kenya. For the last 17 years he has worked for the Woodland Trust, initially as Operations Director, and then Chief Executive. Following a break he is now a Senior Advisor in the Trust’s conservation team.  He is also a Fellow at the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and holds a degree in Forestry and a Masters degree in Environmental policy. He was awarded the OBE in 2003 for services to forestry.

Andrew Trump

Andrew runs the farmer-controlled grain marketing business Organic Arable -the only dedicated organic grain business in the UK.  As well as providing marketing services Organic Arable also provides technical support and market development for the organic sector. Andrew has been working for Organic Arable for 4 years and has held various roles within the organic sector providing primarily marketing but also technical advice.

John Turner

John comes from a 100ha organic farm at Little Bytham, near Stamford in Lincolnshire which he runs in partnership with his brother Guy.  The traditional mixed farm supports a Pasture-Fed commercial suckler beef herd and produce Wheat, Barley and Oats for human consumption.  As one of the founding members of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association his work both on and off the farm has an emphasis upon exploring practical, viable steps towards reducing reliance upon non-renewable inputs whilst maintaining a commercial focus to the business.

Graham Vallis

Graham started farming on a 90 acre Duchy of Cornwall starter farm in 1985.  Six years later he moved to a 300 acre neighbouring Duchy farm which has now grown to 420 acres.  In 1996 the decision was made to go organic when OMSCo (The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative) was set up. The farm is now run by Graham his wife Sandra and two of their daughters, (the eldest is a large animal vet).  It comprises of a milking herd of 150 – 180 (depending on TB status) mixed breeding, low cost, low maintenance cows.  Graham is also a Director of OMSCo and Chairman of the advisory for Culm Valley YFC.

William Waterfield

William’s career in farm management started with the Co-operative Wholesale Society and subsequently lead to the management for private land owners.  He has spent the last 20 years as a farm consultant and specialises in the provision of management advice for organic dairy farmers.  He is a member of the Institute of Organic Advisors and Trainers.  As a member of the Farm Consultancy Group of independent consultants, he is one of the leading providers of advice to organic dairy farmers working with individual businesses and also as a discussion group facilitator.   He helps organic farmers to develop sustainable and profitable businesses and specialises in grass and forage based systems. He is FACTS qualified.  His services include technical and environmental advice as well as advice on businesses issues ranging from the preparation of annual budgets and plans to negotiating business tenancies.

Dr. Christine Watson

Christine leads the Soils and Systems research team at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Her research interests include nutrient cycling and soil management in organic and conventional farming systems. Christine and colleagues continue to run a long-term experiment on organic crop rotations established at Aberdeen in 1991. She is also a member of the management team and teaching staff for SRUC’s Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in organic farming.

Mike Westrip

Having spent 15 years growing organic produce as an employee, in 2008 Mike crossed the bridge into the somewhat more real world of growing for a living with your own business.  He has just finished building his own house on his own 2 acres of land.

Jon Wilson

Jon is Farms Manager for Holt Farms in North Somerset.  They farm 1250 acres both in the valley at Blagdon and on the Mendip Hills, with two dairy herds with a total of 420 pedigree British Friesian cows. Holt Farms has had some organic land since 2000 and converted the rest of the farm in 2009

Louisa Winkler

Louisa is a Research Assistant with the Crops Team at The Organic Research Centre.  She has been based at Wakelyns Agroforestry in Suffolk for almost three years and has worked on both arable and horticultural trials, developing a special interest in plant breeding and seed sovereignty.  Louisa has also worked part-time for a local commercial grower.  Previous to joining ORC, she completed a traineeship with IFOAM EU Group in Brussels.

James Winpenny

James is a member of the Defra Organic Team and heads the section that deals with the implementation of the EU organic Regulations in the UK. This involves providing guidance on the EU Regulations, ensuring that the organic control system works effectively in the UK and dealing with general queries. He has been a member of the Defra Organic Team for four and a half years

Prof. Martin Wolfe

Martin is Principal Scientific Advisor to The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm. After a career at the publicly-funded Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, starting in 1960, he held the Chair of Plant Pathology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (1988-97). He now farms Wakelyns Agroforestry in Suffolk, which is the main site for ORC arable farming research. The field trials are rotated within six organic agroforestry systems, developed over the past 18 years to optimise functional biodiversity. The diversity theme continued in the current main project on wheat population breeding as an alternative to monoculture

Lawrence Woodward

Lawrence, OBE has been at the forefront of developments in organic agriculture in the UK for over 30 years. He has also played a prominent role in its development in the EU and internationally. He was a co-founder of The Organic Research Centre and its director and currently acts as its Principal Policy Adviser. Amongst many positions he has been President of IFOAM; was for 15 years a member of the UKROFS Board during the critical period of standards development and served on the Soil Association Council. He was the founding chairman of OMSCo and sits on the Board of Organic Arable and Organic Seed Producers. He is co-ordinator of Citizens Concerned About GM (GM Education), he advises HAWL and is working on projects about food quality and health (Whole Organic Plus).