Oxford Real Farming Conference 2024

Date : 4th January 2024 - 5th January 2024
Venue : Oxford Town Hall

The 15th annual Oxford Real Farming Conference has over 150 sessions and 400 speakers including Farming and Fashion ‘Turning Fashion into a Climate Solution’, Sam Lee: Folksongs and Stories from the British Isles, and The Commons with Professor Guy Standing

The Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) is an alternative farming conference that brings the real food and farming movement together every January in Oxford City with 30 sessions live streamed. Farmers, growers, activists, policymakers and researchers gather from around the world for a radical programme that includes talks, policy analysis and discussions on the future of farming and agroecology. Free online tickets are available to all those in Majority World* countries.

ORFC is an international gathering where progressive ideas on agroecology, regenerative agriculture, organic farming and just food and farming systems are shared. This year’s programme explores critical issues for food and farming through economic and ecological crises, land justice and The Commons, youth activism and ancestral practices. ORFC is a place to exchange and disseminate radical thinking and activism with leading thinkers in agroecology practices over two days in Oxford City and online.

ORFC attracts farmers, activists and policymakers from around the world. This year speakers are coming from Uganda, Ethiopia, Brazil, Tonga and Andra Pradesh in India. Live streamed sessions will include The Commons, a political Hustings and Food Sovereignty Perspectives from Europe with La Via Campesina. Rt Hon. the Lord Deben – John Gummer will be in conversation with Chris Smaje on small scale farming and how it can tackle the climate crisis.

A taste of the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2024: 

Farming and Fashion

Presented by model and activist Arizona Muse’s charity DIRT’s co-head Simona Valuckaite, Turning Fashion into a Climate Solution presents a movement for a better fashion industry through regenerative fibre farming. With an emphasis on the soil, DIRT is a charity with roots in the fashion industry, working to create true change inside a deeply destructive system of poverty, slavery and environmental degradation. This session is a journey into clothes, shoes, accessories and all the pieces that make up the fashion industry puzzle and their work to switch fashion’s sourcing power to get behind regenerative agriculture.

Other sessions include Native + Invasive Dye Plants with suppliers of The Bristol Cloth, the UK’s pioneer large scale soil-to-soil fabric production, Barn to Yarn Scaling regenerative fibre production with Mallon Linen, Loopy Ewes, and workshops The Fibreshed Toolkit and Rediscovering the seeds of the flax fibre industry in Scotland.

Farming Advice From The Frontline Of Climate Change

Although Spain is Europe’s most biodiverse country, the south is at the forefront of climate change, aggravated by the effects of intensive horticulture which illegally drain aquifers and destroy biodiversity.  La Junquera is part of a major movement to build a wildlife barrier, through nature restoration projects and farms, to prevent the encroachment of such development and to welcome young people back to rural areas. Young farmers from regions experiencing extreme weather in Spain explain the challenges related to water management and climate change at La Junquera.

Colonisation and reparations

Oxford, Agriculture and Colonialism is a critical look at Oxford’s role in the history of agriculture, slavery, and colonialism. ORFC has always been a critical conference and looks to Oxford and its powerful institutions as a way of highlighting the symbolism of Oxford and the legacies of imperialism. Land as reparations and how to get there looks at strategies for communities who are directly affected by systems based on exploitation, violence and extraction and their fallout. No Borders in Land and Food Justice is a No Borders analysis of the food and land justice movement. Land Justice and Systemic Racism is an exploration and co-education on systemic social issues linked to land justice and the wider environmental movement with a discussion focused on race, culture and the legacy of colonialism.

The Commons and Commoning sessions

A Progressive Vision of a Good Society with Guy Standing and David Bollier. Commoning of the City: How community growing and peri-urban farming could lead the way for food, land, and social justice in urban areas will feature voices from grassroots community groups including Granville Community Kitchen, Southwark Land Commission, and Glasgow Community Food Network. a Progressive Vision of a Good Society

Professor Guy Standing said: “Taking a commons approach is the only viable way of reviving our food system on land and in the sea. In that context, the Oxford Real Farming Conference can be the catalyst of a national campaign for a Charter of the Commons.”

Ancestral knowledge and the connection to the land

Diasporic Black and Brown Communities: Land, Belonging, Representation and Social Justice a panel discussion from speakers Mikaela Loach, Claire Ratinon

Carlos Ayala with varied, (un)conventional perspectives and different professions linked to land chaired by Rosina Al-Shaater and Miss Divine. They will explore, honour and celebrate experiences, wisdom and intergenerational practices of diaspora about land justice and presence in the environmental scene. Sharing Our Land Stories and Lineages delves into complex relationships to land with diasporic identities and histories of displacement.

Andhra Pradesh women farmers are building a movement to scale up agroecology and end rural poverty collectively transforming the food they grow, their families’ health, and increasing their income. They are the largest transition to agroecology in the world and their ‘True Cost Accounting’ measures social capital: collective action, trust and support, and community cohesion (including confronting domestic violence). They are working to make available their effective climate resilient methods to other regions and cultures.

Next generation 

Young Crofters from Scotland ask How did we? How do we? And how can we feed ourselves on the islands? Looking at Crofting, Community Land Ownership and what this model of low-intensive sustainable agriculture can contribute in the context of the climate emergency. Uist crofter and co-founder of Scottish Rural Action, Theona Morrison said: “I would consider the assets of ‘rural’ far from being on the back foot, rural holds the keys to the future in food, energy, and fresh water. There is evidence that rural areas are more resilient in a time of shock, such as the pandemic.”

Intergenerational farming sessions include The Youth Convergence on Land Justice, bringing people aged 16-24 from across the UK to discuss issues and opportunities young people face in land work, from farming to forestry, activism to nature restoration. The Penpont Project session brings together speakers from three generations and different backgrounds. They share how they are working together to restore nature, shift towards regenerative agricultural practices and build community across 500 acres at Penpont, the UK’s largest intergenerational nature recovery project.


Award-winning folksinger, song collector, activist, and nature conservationist with three critically acclaimed albums Sam Lee presents a session Songdreaming: Awakening our Companionship with the Land through Song. Alongside musicians working at the intersection of art and nature, they discuss how song is anthemically and ethically enriching the agroecological movement. On Thursday there will be an evening dinner performance of Sam Lee’s new album ‘Songdreaming’ a suite of love songs from and for the land.

UK Premiere of Six Inches of Soil a new feature-length documentary film from Director Colin Ramsay following the highs and lows of three new English regenerative farms over the 2022 growing season in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Cornwall. These stories examine a growing movement, showing the challenges faced by those who step away from conventional farming and the supermarket supply chain. The film is introduced by Sarah Langford, author of Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution.

Ruth West co-founder of ORFC said “ORFC started as a one-off event with a bucket for donations to cover the cost of the room hire. It was held in Oxford as a much needed antidote to the annual Oxford Farming Conference – a bastion of industrial agriculture that was sponsored by corporates and attended by Ministers. We positioned ourselves across the street and put out a press release announcing our presence. This model, established early on has allowed us to move with – indeed often ahead, of the times. Always in mind is the principle that we are there to serve and support the growing community of farmers and others committed to bringing about the much needed transformation of our food supply. We gather to challenge and expose the failings of industrial agriculture however it may seek to rename itself; always based on the principles of agroecology as a practice, a science and a social movement. Above all, we are thrilled to be a part of this wider global movement of shared vision and hope for change.”

Oxford Real Farming Conference takes place in venues throughout Oxford and online on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 January 2024. For more information and tickets visit www.orfc.org.uk

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