Oxford Real Farming Conference 2020 – Agricology in Practice

Agriculture has huge potential to be part of the solution to enhancing biodiversity, addressing climate change and supporting and enhancing natural resources, whilst also building vibrant and resilient farming businesses. 

At Agricology we envision a vibrant future for UK farming – where all farmers and growers are using agroecological practices to create healthy, productive and resilient farming systems. Agroecological approaches have the potential to improve farm business efficiency and deliver favourable environmental outcomes.

This transition means replacing inputs with knowledge to work with and enhance the ecological processes within a farming system.      

Agricology is a community of farmers, growers, researchers and advisors sharing knowledge and experience with agroecology in practice, online and in the field. Our aim is to stimulate and encourage farmer-led innovation. See www.agricology.co.uk or @agricology to learn more.

This year Agricology returns to ORFC hosting the Agroecology in Practice Room (Assembly Room) and discussions in the St Aldates room, together with the PFLA and Soil Association. These sessions will dig deeper into a range of agroecological practices on a mixture of arable, horticultural and livestock farms, with researchers and farmers sharing their knowledge from experiences in the field. Come and join us!

We will kick off the two days at a session exploring the benefits of pulses in crop rotations  at 12 -1pm in the Assembly room. With increasing demand for plant-based protein, there is a growing potential market for UK-grown pulses which deliver a range of beneficial agroecosystem services including nitrogen fixation and habitat for pollinators and natural enemies but also face challenges in the production method and route to market. This session will bring together George Young, Fobbing Farms, Christine Watson, SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College, Steve Belcher PGRO, Katie Bliss, Organic Research Centre, and Josiah Meldrum, Hodmedod’s.

From 14.30 – 15.30 Rosemary Collier, University of Warwick and Adam Keeves, Organic Growers Alliance will tackle the Impact of Climate Change on UK Horticulture, presenting experiences from UK growers and model examples of the changes to come, with specific detail on insects. The session will aim to highlight the issues growers should pay attention to, but importantly present techniques to build resilience in organic systems. Join for the break out session afterwards in the St Aldates room to share ideas on how you are and could be enhancing resilience.

On day two, we look at the Future of Agroecological Weed Management integrating an ecological and technological perspective with insights from Chloe Maclaren, Rothamsted Research, Nicola Cannon, Royal Agricultural University (RAU), Sarah Cook, ADAS, and farmer Mike Mallett, Maple Farm, Kelsale, who will share some insights on creating a weed resilient system to see how all this can work in practice.

Finally, if you want to get to Know your soils better – bring along your soil analyses at 14.30 to the St Aldates room – Becky Wilson Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, Jonathan Leake University of Sheffield and Mark Measures EIP-AGRI Soils will delve into soil – discussing methods of soil analysis (chemical, biological and carbon) and how to utilise the results to inform adaptation in management practices. 

We look forward to meeting new and familiar faces throughout the event – in addition to the sessions, we will be hosting break-out discussions (see programme) and a stand in the main hall.

Not got a ticket / worried about the clashes?! Fear not – we will be filming the sessions which will be available after the event on our YouTube channel!

For more information about agroecological farming practices visit our website and browse over 600 articles, blogs, farmer profiles from research and practice. You can sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media @Agricology for all the latest!

We would also love to hear from you – share your ideas and experiences, suggest topics we should cover or share videos, tweets and questions. Email us on enquiries@agricology.co.uk


Lydia Moore is Agricology’s Project Manager.

Associated Agricology Partner Organisation(s):

The information contained above reflects the views of the author/s and does not necessarily reflect that of Agricology and its partners.
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