26 July 2017
GREATsoils Trial Demonstration Top Fruit

Assessing the health of your soil

20 July 2017
Letter to Michael Gove on Agroforestry

Government asked to support game-changing agroforestry systems

14 July 2017
'A Matter of Scale' report published

Small-scale, agroecological farms attract UK workers, produce high yields of vegetables and deliver multiple environmental and social benefits

5 July 2017
Demonstrating crop resilience through agro-biodiversity

ORC brings its expertise to NOCC17

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.

The future plans for the Charity are set out in the Corporate Plan 2012 - 2016, which can be sent on request.

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 – see the Working with us page for further details.

The current Council of Management consists of:

Mike Turnbull (Chair)

Mike Turnbull joined the PFT Council of Management as Chair in May 2012, succeeding Christopher Bielenberg (see below). He spent his working life in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Working initially in the Department of the Environment (on transport policy, housing, urban regeneration and international environmental protection), he then held two Director posts at the Housing Corporation, was Executive Director of the National Association of Head Teachers, and subsequently held several freelance management roles in public agencies before retiring in 2010. From 2012-2014 Mike was also Chairman of the International Tree Foundation (ITF), a charity that has promoted and funded sustainable community forestry projects in the UK and overseas, particularly in Africa, for 90 years and has been responsible for the establishment of hundreds of millions of trees. Prior to this, he was for 8 years the Chairman of Tree Aid, which works with vulnerable communities in Africa’s drylands to alleviate poverty and help cope with the impacts of environmental change, through community forestry and income generation projects. He has also been Vice Chair of a mental health charity, Sussex Oakleaf (2005-10).

Vikas Agrawal (Treasurer)

Vikas Agrawal is a graduate of Cambridge University, a chartered accountant and an experienced valuations and corporate finance practitioner with extensive experience of strategic planning and of leading large-scale business and technology transformations. He has lived and worked across the world, having been a consultant with Andersen Business Consulting, McKinsey & Company and Navigant. He has worked at Siemens, as Director of Strategy and Innovation at Siemens Business Services and subsequently as Global Engagement Director at Nokia Siemens Networks. Vikas has had a passion for green issues from an early age, winning the Daily Telegraph’s National Schools Essay Writing Completion on “The Green Economy”. Subsequently, as a management consultant and line manager, Vikas supported initiatives to develop new approaches to energy generation and resource conservation. He is a Trustee of the Dean Organic Trust, which supports young organic growers and organic business start-ups/expansions.

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.

Andrew Jedwell

Andrew Jedwell founded and developed Meridian Foods in North Wales over 25 years until he sold the company in 1999. He served for seven years on the UK Register of Food Standards, and a further seven years chairing its successor body, the Advisory Committee on Organic Food Standards, until it was closed down by the government in 2010. He was also a member and chair of the Organic Strategy Group in Wales. He continues his food industry experience by acting as a mentor to SME food companies. As well as being a trustee of ORC, Andrew chairs Cadwyn Clwyd rural development company, is a member of the Better Organic Business Links project steering group and is a director of Rhug Ltd organic farm and shop.

David Wilson MVO

David Wilson is Farm Manager of the Duchy Home Farm. The farm is used to demonstrate organic production methods both as a commercial working farm as well as through a number of research projects. David was a council member of the Soil Association for six years and is now an honorary life member. He sits on the Royal Agricultural College School of Agriculture Advisory Board and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Farming Committee.

David Wolfe

After a PhD in Engineering, David Wolfe became a lawyer. He works as a barrister with Matrix Chambers, often acting on behalf of NGOs and charities and specialising in challenges to decisions by public bodies, often in the environmental sphere. He has sat on the board (or equivalent) of a range of public and private organisations, big and small, joining the ORC Trustees in March 2013. His parents, Ann and Martin Wolfe, own Wakelyns Agro-forestry in Suffolk, which forms part of the ORC.


The Countess of March and Kinrara

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.