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National Organic Cereals 2011 is go, go, go

Date Published: 07/07/2011

It’s a big day for us; National Organic Cereals occupies a great deal of our time and attention throughout each year, all to ensure that it runs smoothly on the day. Today is that day – and so far, so good. 

The audience for National Organic Cereals 2011
It's a full house (or barn, actually) for the morning session
We have a full house here at Bedlam Farms, just outside March, Cambridgeshire, where we are being hosted by Clive Martin and his family and colleagues. They’ve done us proud with the setting.

Already today we’ve heard some fascinating presentations, particularly from Waitrose, BQP and farmer, John Pawsey, on the supply chain trial they are all deeply involved in. It’s a system that aims to smooth out the price and cost bumps along the chain and it’s working well so far. The hope is that it could provide a model for stability in the chain that others will successfully follow.

Charlotte Smith, presenter of Farming Today on BBC Radio 4 and former Countryfile reporter, is our moderator and is doing a superb job. You really can tell the difference when you’ve got an experienced  high-calibre journalist pulling the threads together and teasing out the issues.

Farm walk at National Organic Cereals 2011
The farm walks prove to be as popular as ever
As I write, the farm walks are under way (and under threatening skies…). This year there’s a bit of the feel of a military operation about them as the delegates are coordinated by our radio-toting chaperones, complete with mildly sinister-looking ear pieces!

There’s a good reason for this; the farm walks are a key feature of the day and we wanted to make sure everyone had the chance to fully appreciate them. We broke people into smaller groups and sent them off to hear from different experts on each trial plot (41 varieties of organic wheat, triticale, barley, etc).

Now we’re looking forward to an organic hog roast (pig courtesy of Waitrose via BQP) with a very tempting looking vegetable paella for the non-meating-eating types.

We’re looking forward to the afternoon and, once we’ve all recovered from packing up and the three-or-so hour journey home, there will be further reports and plenty of pictures and videos to share. We hope you find them interesting and welcome any comments below.