On 4 July in Shropshire, the National Organic Conference (NOC) 2023, run by Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G), will let visitors see organic food and farming in action and showcase what the sector delivers for the organic market and the environment, domestically and on a global scale.
This year, the conference 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.
With a knowledgeable and experienced panel of speakers the UK’s largest organic event will explore organic supply chains and food networks, from building market sales to farming healthier soils.
Independent soil health specialist, Joel Williams, will be returning to OF&G’s flagship conference and use the latest science to clearly describe how good soil management is an integral part of a biological, whole system approach to farming.
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 a growing online platform.
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.
Focusing on research and development in seed breeding techniques, especially highlighting the need for legislative protection for genetically diverse cereal varieties, will be at the heart of a session to be delivered by representatives from UK Grain Lab; Organic Research Centre’s Dr Charlotte Bickler, Dr Edward Dickin from Harper Adams University, OF&G’s Steven Jacobs, organic farmer John Turner and Josiah Meldrum, co-director of Hodmedods.
The NOC programme will also feature a presentation to the winner of the Organic Research Centre’s Young Organic Farmer of the Year award for 2022/2023.
Following an organic, locally produced lunch prepared and served by the prestigious Shropshire-based restaurant CSONS, conference delegates will be taken on a guided farm walk and shown key developments at Green Acres Farm.
With staff from Organic Arable and the Organic Research Centre, visitors will gain an in-depth look at the latest research into ‘living mulches’ and an array of crop variety trials.
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. And Mark Lea will give delegates a tour of the farm’s grain processing and milling enterprise.
OF&G CEO Roger Kerr says: “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.
“Organic offers practical and pragmatic solutions as we continue to face huge economic and ecological crises. Backed by scientifically proven data, this level of knowledge exchange is critically important during a time of exponentially high commercial and climatic stress.
“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,” says Mr Kerr.
For more conference details and to book your place, visit: https://ofgorganic.org/news/national-organic-conference-2023
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