Farming News - Has ‘alternative farming’ become the mainstream?
Has ‘alternative farming’ become the mainstream?
As the Oxford Real Farming Conference gears up for its tenth year, the very values that set it apart from the Oxford Farming Conference, have also seen it soar in popularity over the last decade.
Taking place on 3-4 January 2019 in the Oxford Town Hall and St Aldate's Parish Centre and Church, the 2019 Oxford Real Farming Conference will be the biggest yet. The conference - which had to take on additional venues this year to accommodate demand and long waiting lists over the last two years - sold out of tickets in December, and is set to welcome 1000 delegates, with hundreds more on the waiting list.
Tom Simpson, ORFC Conference Manager said: “We’re so delighted to see that enthusiasm for the Oxford Real Farming Conference growing year after year, and believe it reflects the changing mindset in what good farming, food production and land stewardship looks like. The status quo is rightly being challenged.”
This year’s programme tackles key issues that have dominated news headlines over the past year, such as the Agriculture Bill and life after Brexit, rewilding and problems of pollution - from chemicals to plastics - and how farmers can become more resilient in the face of climate change.
ORFC co-founder Ruth West, said: “During these uncertain times, we find that agroecology increasingly offers some certainty in how you manage your land and business. Its power lies in the ability to tackle problems holistically and proactively, as well as providing some vital resilience in the face of shocks like extreme weather or Brexit-related impacts on supply chains.”
Practical sessions are always a key part of the conference and this year some timely skills are being explored, including agroforestry, soil management, pasture regeneration, mulching, drought resilience, business advice and more.
Tom added: “We have our usual diverse crowd of delegates, which is made up of around 50% mud on the boots farmers, and a mix of activists, food producers, and new entrants. We have 240 speakers - of whom more than half are women - and over 100 sessions. We’re celebrating our tenth birthday in style.”
The conference is open to all who are interested in working towards a more sustainable food and agricultural system, from farmers and growers to scientists and policy-makers.