Can we talk?

Date Published: 03/02/2010

The Soil Association conference gets underway today in Birmingham (and yes, they have already been publicly ribbed about the industrial location, at The Custard Factory).

We have folk there, as do most organic organisations and companies. It’s generally a setting in which the more philosophical issues are dealt with and the temperature taken of the sector at this point in time – a kind of state of the nation event for organics.

Interestingly, this year it seems to have kicked off with the SA charity’s director, Patrick Holden, espousing better co-operation and less divide between organic and non-organic farmers. This is pleasing, because it’s what OF&G has been saying since it became the UK’s first government approved organic certifier in the early 90s.

Of course deeply held perceptions and prejudices do not disappear overnight, or merely on Mr Holden’s say-so. There has to be trust and understanding between organic and non-organic supporters and farmers, but hopefully this signals that more of those involved in organics are willing to be inclusive, rather than critical.

If you’re not at the conference, the best way to follow it is using Twitter. There are various people providing updates from the scene, including our own Development Officer, Steven Jacobs, and Deputy News Editor of Farmers Weekly, Caroline Stocks.

Fear not though, if you’re not a ‘Tweeter’ yet you don’t have to delve into this new world too deeply. Just follow one of these links to see a timeline of what people are saying about the event in your web browser.

Using the Twitter website: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23SAConf

Or using the Twitterfall service: http://twitterfall.com/?trend=saconf!%231F3547