Organic Research Centre strengthens Board with the appointment of three industry leaders

Appointments will bring senior experience in food policy, agricultural economics, rural policy and food retailing to ORC’s Board.

The new appointments – Janet Dwyer, Honor May Eldridge and Jake Pickering – will bring a breadth of experience from research in sustainable agriculture, agricultural economics and policy through to food retail and will support ORC in its work to deliver the transition to naturally healthy and resilient farming systems.

Commenting on their appointment, Tim Bennett, Chair of the Board of Trustees at ORC, said:

“The addition of Janet, Honor and Jake to our Trustee Board will significantly strengthen our leadership and governance. This will help us ensure that we continue to deliver innovative research and knowledge transfer, to better equip farmers in managing the transition to naturally healthy and resilient farming systems. The wide range of experience, contacts and expertise that they bring to our organisation will be invaluable as we work to help farmers navigate the global challenges ahead.”

Janet Dwyer

Janet joined the Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire (CCRI) in 2002 after working for more than a decade in a government agency and an independent policy think-tank. She was awarded the title of Professor of Rural Policy in 2010 upon appointment as CCRI’s co- Director, and then became CCRI Director in 2013. Janet directs and undertakes research related to agriculture, the environment and rural development. Her research expertise centres on European and UK rural development policy and practice, with particular interest in integrated approaches, environmental sustainability and institutional adaptation. Janet is well-known in policymaking circles in the UK and EU, has skills in facilitation and consensus-building, and is a regular speaker at international conferences.

Recent projects include a major study on rural economies and communities for Defra; evaluations of the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on generational renewal and local employment in rural areas; also on knowledge, advice and innovation in agriculture; and on rural socio- economic conditions across the EU; and an evaluation of the impact of LEADER on Balanced Territorial Development, for the European Commission. She co-led PEGASUS – a major, EU-28 Horizon2020 funded study on public goods and ecosystem services from farming and forestry (; and is supporting the government of Malta to prepare its CAP Strategic Plan for 2022-2027.

Janet is currently President of the UK Agricultural Economics Society, also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a founder and steering group member of the Uplands Alliance, and Director of Rural England. She chairs Defra’s Nutrient Management Expert Group and sits on advisory boards and panels for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Green Alliance, and Defra (rural academic panel). In 2017, Janet was elected an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies of the UK, and member of the French Académie d’Agriculture.

Honor May Eldridge

Honor is a food systems consultant, working primarily to advise NGOs and businesses in the agriculture and food retail sectors. Her areas of focus include UK agriculture policy, international agrifood trade policy and agri-tech innovation. She has written briefings on potential food implications from a transatlantic trade deal, on the unintended consequences of crop insurance programmes, and on migrant labour in large-scale horticulture. In addition to her role with Wilson Wraight, she is currently Policy Lead at Plantlife International, the Chair of GM Freeze and participatory board member of Bristol Food Producers.

She was previously Head of Policy for the Sustainable Food Trust, worked on post-Brexit policy at the Soil Association and was the Legislative and Government Affairs Coordinator in Washington D.C. for the Center For Food Safety.

Jake Pickering

Jake is the Senior Manager for Agriculture at Waitrose, where he leads the team that is responsible for setting and implementing the Waitrose agriculture strategy. His responsibility stretches across the livestock, dairy, fresh produce and horticulture supply chains producing Waitrose products. After completing a degree in Agriculture and Business at the Royal Agricultural University, Jake started his career on the Sainsbury’s graduate scheme. Over the seven years he spent at Sainsbury’s he worked in various roles across sourcing and agriculture, including secondments to retail and food processing.

Jake is a passionate foodie and never happier than with his head in a cookbook planning his next culinary adventure.

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