19 January 2021
Intercropping for sustainability

Two-day Conference with AAB, DIVERSify and ReMIX at Reading University

6 September 2021
Organic World Congress 2021

New date! Postponed from September 2020

30 July 2020
ORC welcomes the National Food Strategy

The first major reviewof our food system in 75 years

24 July 2020
The future of organic farming and the environment

All to play for if full benefits of organic farming for wildlife, the environment and health are to be realised

29 April 2020
Tim Bennett is the new Chair of ORC

Former NFU president takes on chairmanship of Organic Research Centre

The Charity

Progressive Farming Trust

The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm is the trading name of the Progressive Farming Trust Ltd, a registered company no. 1513190 limited by guarantee and a registered charity no. 281276.

The PFT's Memorandum and Articles of Association from 1980 define the objectives of the company, the charitable aims and the activities that may be undertaken by us, and are available on request.

The annual reports and accounts can be accessed here.

Membership and Council of Management

The PFT MoA provides for a limited number of members of the company that can elect the Council of Management. Members of the Council of Management act as both Company Directors and Charity Trustees and meet quarterly to set strategy, review progress and ensure compliance with company, charity and other legislation. New Trustees may be co-opted or elected from time-to-time Ė see the Working with us page for further details.

The current Council of Management consists of:

Tim Bennett (Chair)

Tim farms with his wife Susan in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. The farm is mainly organic and grassland-based with some woodland. Tim is Chairman of CIEL the agri-tech centre for Livestock innovations and also of the Farmers Club in London. Tim is a former Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, former President of the NFU and of DairyCo (now AHDB Dairy). He has held many other roles in the Industry including governor of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research and is a member of the Welsh Land tribunal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society and of the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

Alice Astor

Alice Astor is an organic farmer who has devoted much of her life to bringing up her four children on her organic farm and, as a trustee, supporting the two democratic schools, Sands School , Ashburton and Park School ,Dartington, that her children attended. These two democratic schools were started in Devon after the closure of Dartington Hall School, which she had attended. She is trustee/co-founder of the Phoenix Education Trust, which was founded in 2000 in order to support and promote democratic education in as many schools as possible, and she is also a trustee of the Virginia House Settlement, Plymouth, the Sharpham Charitable Trust; and the Meadowbrook Trust. As the daughter of David Astor, Alice was originally involved in farming on his organic farm in Dorset. The farm was sold in 1981 and the farming enterprise moved to Elm Farm, Newbury starting what has become The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm.

Adrian Blackshaw

Adrian is Chairman of the Organic Trade Board (OTB). He is also a partner in a commercial organic apple and walnut business. He was previously Chairman of Herefordshire Food Partnership and Herefordshire Tourism Company. He has had Board involvement with Herefordshire-based organisations, including executive responsibility in Herefordshire for economic regeneration, and is a past Business Ambassador for the new emerging Hereford University. Adrian has had a varied business background in a number of industry sectors, including medical product development, electronic publishing and as an investment banker. He gained considerable City experience with the Financial Times and as a Director of two quoted companies. He was vice-Chairman of West Mercia/ Warwickshire joint Police Audit Committee, majoring on Treasury & Risk Management, scrutinising operational, financial and reputational risk.

Roger Kerr

Roger is the Chief Executive at Organic Farmers & Growers CIC, the second largest UK organic control body, certifying just over half the UK organic land area and about a third of the sector overall. On top of his CEO duties at OF&G he is currently also Chairman of the UK certifiers group, the UK representative on the IFOAM EU Council and a Director of the Organic Trade Board. He is from a farming family, holds an HND in Agriculture from Harper Adams and has worked on various farms over a number of years. He spent ten years working within the agricultural supply industry before moving into the organic sector in the late 1990ís. He helped establish Calon Wen, a Welsh organic dairy farmers co-operative, in 2000, which secured the first ever branded organic milk listing in a UK major retailer amongst a number of other innovative projects. In 2007 he was instrumental in establishing a brand new liquid milk processing plant in South Wales seeking to supply local Welsh milk (both organic and non-organic) to Welsh consumers. He has been a supporter and proponent of organic production since his days at Harper Adams in the 1980ís and is keen to see organic food and farming become the natural choice for farmers, growers and consumers.

Donald Peck

Donald is a retired emerging markets economist, who spent much of his career in South Asia and South America as a business adviser and investor. He worked for the World Bank Group in Washington DC, and then for CDC, the South Asia and Africa investment arm of DFID; later spending 12 years in India investing in businesses large and small. In 2005 he helped found Lok Capital, an initiative in India investing in social enterprise with funds under management totaling over £100m. He advises Paul Hamlyn Foundation on their India grants programme and other investors on social enterprise and impact investment in emerging markets. Since 1994 he has been a trustee and, since 2010, Chair of the UK Foundation Rachel & Pamela Schiele (FRPS), which runs a significant organic farming business in Argentina. He is also a treasurer (since 2009) of the Institute for Public Policy Research, and a trustee of St Johnís Smith Square and ThinkAhead and a member of the board of an Indian infrastructure finance company, IDFC Ltd.

Christine Watson

Christine is Professor of Agricultural Systems at SRUC and a Guest Researcher at the Department of Crop Production Ecology at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences). Christine leads a team of soil scientists working across the biology, physics and chemistry of soils. Her own research focuses on the management of micro and macro nutrients in organic and conventional agricultural systems. From 2003-2010 she served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS) and also chaired their R&D Subcommittee. Christine is a member of the Scottish Organic Forum and helped develop Organic Ambitions (Scottish Organic Action Plan 2016). She is involved in managing and teaching the SRUC MSc in Organic Farming which is now delivered in partnership with ORC. Christine was President of the European Society for Agronomy (2014-2016), and is currently President of the Association of Applied Biologists and an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

Ned Westaway

Ned is a specialist barrister who practices at Francis Taylor Building in London. He is rated as a leading junior by Chambers & Partners in three areas: planning, environment and agricultural & rural affairs. He is on the Attorney Generalís Panel of London counsel, is a trustee of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and is standing counsel for the Campaign for National Parks.


The Duchess of Richmond

Peter Kindersley

Juliet Kindersley

Yvonne Pye

Jan Sundt

Christopher Bielenberg

Christopher was educated at Trinity College, Dublin where he graduated with an Honours degree in Physics. He went on to obtain a Masters in Business Administration at The European Institute of Business Administration, INSEAD. Following a number of appointments in international corporations he founded the management consultancy firm, The REL Consultancy Group, which had an international presence on four continents. Christopher has been involved in farming all his life and in addition has been actively involved in the development of various green energy projects, both wind and wave. Christopher was Chair of the Council of Management of ORC from its inception until May 2012.