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Conference to tackle the challenging questions

Date Published: 18/10/2013

Can you hear the grinding, zinging and occasionally screeching sound of arguments being sharpened ready for battle?

If so, it’s because the central theme for the approaching Organic Research Centre Organic Producers’ Conference has been announced and it’s got all the potential you could want for a good old ding dong!

“Intensive sustainability or sustainable intensification – which way forward for organic farming?”

That’s going straight for the metaphorical jugular, is it not? There are passionate arguments on both sides and there’s a really good case for a point in the middle too. Thrashing those out is going to be fun though.

Is non-organic farming learning a thing or two about lowering inputs while maintaining outputs and caring more intensively for the environment and wildlife at the same time? If so, does that eat organic’s lunch, so to speak? Does organic need to respond? Are organic and non-organic farmers even in competition or simply different parts of the same picture?

They’re tough questions, but at some point they are going to need answers and it looks like this is where we’re going to collectively start pulling at the threads.

From a less dramatic perspective, the ORC Organic Producers’ Conference is definitely a key point in the calendar. It allows everyone with an interest in the sector to get together and discuss a whole host of topics, or simply to catch up with familiar faces they may not have seen since a previous ORC conference.

Our team always enjoy it for its practical elements, intellectual challenges and, frankly, the social side over the two days. This time out it’s being held at Aston University’s Business School, in Birmingham, on the 22nd to 23rd of January.

If you’re in the organic sector and you’ve never been, we thoroughly recommend it. The full programme is not being revealed until November, but it’s sure to contain the practical and the theoretical, along with insights into ORC’s latest research.

Full information and links to book are available here. If you’re going and intend to get embroiled in the debates, don’t forget to pack some razor sharp arguments along with some soft soap. You’re going to need it all this time around.