ORC is 40

Celebrating 40 years of organic research

When the ORC was founded, as Elm Farm Research Centre, forty years ago it was done so with a pioneering spirit and a genuine desire to push the boundaries and discover how organic farming practices could be incorporated into UK agriculture. 

That quest for knowledge has helped to develop practical and sustainable solutions for the industry. Our determination to drive positive change is as alive now as it was then and forms the heart of who we are as an organisation.

40th anniversary communication hub

We look forward to sharing our anniversary celebrations with you via this dedicated 40th anniversary page throughout 2021. Please continue to check this page for exciting updates and content which will highlight the impact of our work and latest research insights, whilst also helping you get to know our team!

#40rganic #sustainableresearch #exploreorganic #ORC40

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Dr Ambrogio Costanzo, Deputy Head of Research at the ORC

We work closely and in cooperation with farmers, exploring what the future of agriculture could look like together. At the ORC we are committed in sharing research results and processes through our knowledge exchange team, exploring new tools to help facilitate two-way communication between farmers and industry members.


Dr Will Simonson, Head of Research at the ORC

With its 3,000 farmers managing 300,000 ha of land across England, the organic sector has been an important testing ground for farm practices that have a proven ability to deliver public goods. These practices can therefore contribute significantly to the objectives of Environmental Land Management. This and related schemes should support future growth of organic farming but also the much wider adoption of these tried-and-tested agroecological approaches.

The Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, Patron of ORC

I am proud to be the Patron of the Organic Research Centre.  My uncle, David Astor founded the organisation to respond to farming’s unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels and research the development of practical, organic farming alternatives.  Over the years since then the team has worked with pioneering organic farmers to advance this goal through an invaluable programme of collaborative research.  I am delighted that the organisation is still going from strength to strength – especially at this pivotal time for the agriculture sector.

Lucy MacLennan, ORC CEO

We are at a pivotal time for change within the agriculture sector.  The Government’s introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme will reward farmers for maintaining and restoring the natural environment, ensuring livestock health and welfare, and reducing carbon emissions - something that the ORC has been researching and championing for the past four decades.  We have a vital role to play in the coming years of transition to ensure that investment in research, knowledge exchange and policy changes really do support best practices.

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