Chris Atkinson

Chris is Head of Standards at the Soil Association. Chris grew up on the family farm, has a degree in Agricultural Science and MSc in Agricultural Engineering. Following several years in agricultural research and practical farming he became an independent agricultural consultant and worked regularly for Scottish Organic Producers Association being involved in undertaking organic inspections, certification, research and education. Chris has worked for the Soil Association since 2007 and in his current role in late 2009. He is the UK Council Member for the IFOAM EU Group and is closely involved in the development of the EU legal framework for organic farming & representing the interests of IFOAM EU UK members at EU level. His work also involves the development of private standards for organic food, farming, aquaculture, textiles and cosmetics.

Stephen Briggs

Stephen Briggs farms 230 ha in Cambridgeshire. He is Principal Consultant with Abacus Organic Associates Ltd with expertise in soil management, crop production, agroforestry and business management. Stephen was a Nuffield Farming Scholar in 2011, studying Agroforestry in North America, Europe, Australasia & China. He holds various directorships, guest lecturers at universities and has held posts on UK Government Policy and Research and Development Committees. He is Vice chairman of the European Agroforestry Federation (EURAF) and is active in influencing agricultural policy at UK and EU levels. He is the author of ‘Organic Cereal and Pulse Production’ (2011).

Helen Browning

Helen Browning farms 547 ha in Wiltshire, as a tenant of the Church of England, with dairy, beef, pig, sheep and arable enterprises. Her business ‘Helen Browning’s Organic’ supplies organic meat to multiple and independent retailers…and also runs the village pub. Helen became Chief Executive of the Soil Association in March 2011, and prior to that was Director of External Affairs at the National Trust. Helen is also Chair of the Food Ethics Council and has been a member of several important commissions concerning British agriculture and food, including the Curry Commission on the Future of Farming and Food; the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission; and the Meat and Livestock Commission. She was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to organic farming.

Allan Buckwell

Allan Buckwell, Emeritus Prof. Agricultural Economics, Imperial College London. Lecturer, Newcastle University, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Wye College, London 1984-1999, Policy Director, Country Land and Business Association 2000-2011, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for European Environmental Policy, London since Jan 2012. Allan specialises in European rural policy, especially the CAP, trade issues, technology and structural change in farming and their impacts. Principal interest is balancing the food production and environmental land management roles of agriculture in Britain, Europe, and indeed, globally. His most recent publication is a review for the RISE Foundation on The Sustainable Intensification of European Agriculture.

Gillian Butler

Gillian has worked with farmers in the NE for over 30 years, mainly offering advice to livestock producers on feeding and forage production. She has been with Newcastle University since 1997 and joined the Ecological Farming Group at Nafferton in 2002 to set up a consultancy centre for organic red meat production in a project funded by the DTI. Her current research considers the impact of organic or low input management on animal product quality, primarily looking at fats; learning lessons how we can produce dairy produce, meat and eggs that are better for our health. She led the livestock production module on the MSc in Organic Farming and food production systems and has PhD students working on product quality in milk, meat and eggs. She is a member of the Soil Association’s Farmer & Grower Board.

Henry Creissen

Dr Henry Creissen is a Crops Researcher in the Crops and Agroforestry team based at Wakelyns Agroforestry. Henry attained his PhD in crop science/plant ecology from the John Innes Centre in 2013. His research interests are focused on approaches to modernise arable farming through the application of ecological principles in an agricultural setting. Henry is the deputy-coordinator of the Core Organic II project COBRA, which aims to coordinate organic plant breeding activities across Europe. He is also heavily involved in the EU funded project OSCAR, which aims to develop more sustainable systems of conservation agriculture and increase the diversity of cover crops and living mulches.

Simon Crichton

Simon joined Triodos Bank in 2009. He is responsible for organic food, farming and trade at the Bank. Triodos actively supports the organic market by lending to some of the UK’s leading organic businesses – from farmers, producers and processors to retailers and restaurants. Simon is also actively involved with the Organic Trade Board and a number of other organisations supporting a sustainable approach to business.

Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies is a passionate advocate of local food production. As a founder member of Canalside Community Food CSA , he is on their steering committee, establishing and managing an orchard for the project and does the book keeping, finances and business planning. He has also helped to set up Five Acre Community Farm and plays an active role in growing the produce and managing the business. He previously worked as a researcher with Garden Organic on weeds, pest and diseases and varieties among other topics.He has extensive experience in participatory and farming system research both in the UK and Africa.

Polly Davies

Polly started working in agriculture 2012, having previously been living in London for 10 years building banks and working as a Senior Project Manager for the National Trust. As well as running the family farm (Slade Farm) in South Wales with her parents Polly is completing a part time distance learning Master’s degree in Organic Farming from SRUC.

Tim Downes

Tim is partner on a family organic dairy and beef farm in Shropshire. Tim has been managing the farm throughout its organic production with wife Louise and parents who run the beef enterprise. They have been measuring grass to help decision making for 10 years and using a mix containing chicory/plantain in all grass clover mixes for the last 8 years. Tim has an involvement with R&D through sitting on DairyCo’s research board. He is a board and technical committee member of OMSCo and is also involved with Harper Adams University as professional adviser to the agricultural courses.

Marc Duponcel

Marc qualified in agriculture and has a PhD in economics. He has been working at the European Commission for about 10 years and before that worked at the FAO (in the regional office in Budapest) on technical support to policies for countries of central and Eastern Europe.

Haydn Evans

Haydn farms in Pembrokeshire. The farm has been organic for 15 years and milk is sold direct to Rachel’s Dairy in Aberystwyth for the manufacture of yogurt. The farm land has a 5 year rotation of stubble turnips, 1st year wheat/barley and arable silage under-sown with grass. Haydn is currently chair of the Farmers and Growers Board at the Soil Association and has recently joined IFOAM EU. For the last 3 years he has acted as a mentor to young farmers taking over the farm from their parents as part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Young Entrants Support Scheme. In addition he also sits as a farmer member on the Agricultural Land Tribunal dealing in legal matters of agricultural disputes.

Conrad Ferris

Conrad Ferris (Principal Scientist Officer) is responsible for the Sustainable Dairy Systems research programme at AFBI Hillsborough. He has over 20 years of experience in dairy research, across a wide range of areas. These include the development of feeding and management strategies for high genetic merit dairy cows within grassland based systems, optimum dairy cow genotypes, and reducing the environmental impact of milk production systems.

Federico Filippi

With a background in ancient/Indian religion and philosophy, Federico is an independent researcher and farmer whose research interests include permaculture, agroecology, organic farming and traditional farming systems from around the world. He manages an urban gardening project in London and farms with oxen at New Gokul, Hertfordshire. He is currently preparing his postgraduate PhD research at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University located at Ryton Organic Gardens in Warwickshire.

Angus Gaudie

Angus Gaudie converted Stamfrey Farm in North Yorkshire to organic in 2001 and farms 125 ha. The 140 cow crossbred dairy herd has Jersey, Scandinavian and New Zealand genetics, calving in spring and autumn to produce an all-year-round supply of milk. Angus and his wife Sue (who comes from Cornwall) run a small dairy processing unit making Yorkshire Clotted Cream and a low fat drinking/breakfast yoghurt that is sold through many outlets. They have a great team of staff and three boys, Will, Sam & Joe, who are interested in the farm but none of them work on it yet!

Catherine Gerrard

Dr Catherine Gerrard is the data analyst at The Organic Research Centre. She is an applied mathematician and has experience of carrying out financial, statistical and mathematical analyses.

Jason Gittins

Jason Gittins is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years of experience with ADAS. He operates mainly in the poultry sector and is the project manager for this work. Jason has a long track record of providing technical consultancy, research and other inputs to UK government departments and agencies. He works with a wide range of commercial clients, including corporate companies in both the egg and poultry meat sector and multiple retailers. He also has involvement with a number of smaller farmers and with egg packers and marketeers.

Edward Goff

After teaching Agricultural. Science in a Zambian secondary school Ed returned home to take on the family farm (40 ha) in Shropshire and in 1976 established a dairy herd. In 1983 after a study tour in Germany and Switzerland and with the help of Elm Farm he began to farm organically. Last year he retired and engaged an energetic and enthusiastic young man to do the farming for him under a contract-farming arrangement. The farm is now 60ha.

Jon Goodman

Jon Goodman undertook a Soil Association Horticultural Apprenticeship at Daylesford Organic Farm from 2011 to 2013. In February 2014, he and 3 other young growers established a market garden on a few acres of land rented from an organic farm in the Forest of Dean. Ragmans Lane Market Garden is a partnership run on a non-hierarchical basis. The business supplies various local shops and restaurants, as well as marketing produce directly online through the Dean Forest Food Hub.

Bill Grayson

Bill is an organic livestock farmer from NW England, specialising in provision of targeted grazing regimes for nature reserves and other wildlife sites. The business has been entirely self-supporting financially for more than 20 years. Bill was an OCIS advisor from 1997 until the scheme closed. His main clients were upland livestock farms across northern England but his remit also included conservation sites elsewhere in the UK, where conversion to organic standards were being considered. With a PhD in grazing ecology, Bill provides a conservation-grazing consultancy service and runs professional development courses for conservation staff working in this area.

Richard Harding

After starting his agricultural career in Devon Richard Harding has worked for a range of livestock, mixed and specialist fresh produce agricultural businesses, and is currently working as an agronomist for Procam an agronomy company based in Lewes, East Sussex. A specific part of this role involves focusing on nutrition something he is extremely passionate about. Having recently undertaken a number of trials focusing on trace element programs in cereal crops a key focus has been soils, soil biology, conservation agriculture and no-till systems around the world.

Sarah Hathaway

Sarah is Senior Technical Manager for Soil Association Certification and has worked for SA Certification for the last 15 years in various roles including certification officer,inspector and technical manager. Having grown up in rural Norfolk, she has always been immersed in agriculture of all types from an early age and has lived and worked on various farms including a glasshouse horticultural production unit, an arable farm in Norfolk and an organic dairy farm in Somerset. While studying for a MSc in Agriculture and Business Management, she started to look into organic production methods and wrote her dissertation on research and knowledge transfer of organic farming techniques.

Joshua Healy

Joshua Healy grew up with organic farming, spending his childhood at Elm Farm and Waltham Place Farm. After studying Chemistry at university he began to work at North Aston Dairy in 2010, a business his father had started. Soon he became a partner and is now the sole active partner in the business.

Roger Hitchings

Roger Hitchings retired from his post as Principal Consultant in Information Services at the Organic Research Centre in 2013 after 15 years of service. His background is in soil science, education, and organic vegetable production. His work at ORC focused on knowledge transfer including commercial consultancy, OCIS visits, training delivery, and project engagement. He was a member of ACOS and Chair of its Technical Committee. He is a pool member of EU Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP). As an independent IOTA accredited consultant he is still involved in the delivery of training and advisory work. He is Secretary of the Organic Growers Alliance.

Alice Holden

Having completed a degree in social anthropology in 2003 Alice was unsure of a career path. During a summer working at Blaencamel Farm Alice realised that at the right scale, organic farming could involve all the attributes of community engagement and environmental stewardship she was interested in. In 2006, Alice undertook a two year SA apprenticeship at Coleshill Organics, mentored by Pete Richardson. She is now head grower at Growing Communities, Dagenham farm, a 2 acre market garden in the London suburbs. Last year she published her first book, Grow, with the aim of encouraging more beginners to have a go at growing their own veg, even if on a very small scale.

Patrick Holden

Patrick Holden is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust, a new organisation based in Bristol, UK, working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. After studying biodynamic agriculture at Emerson College, he established a mixed community farm in Wales in 1973, producing at various times: wheat for flour production sold locally, carrots, and milk from an 85 cow Ayrshire dairy herd, now made into a single farm cheddar style cheese by his son Sam. He was the founding chairman of British Organic Farmers in 1982, before joining the Soil Association, where he worked for nearly 20 years and during which time the organisation led the development of organic standards and the market for organic foods. His advocacy for a major global transition to more sustainable food systems now entails international travel, regular broadcasts, and talks at public events. He is Patron of the UK Biodynamic Association and was awarded the CBE for services to organic farming in 2005.

Hannah Jones

Hannah Jones works jointly between the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, and the Rural Business School at Duchy College. Her interest integrates research linking plant physiology, climate stress, and agro-ecosystems. The work within her group and with collaborators focuses on the role of diversity for increasing resilience to agricultural production. At the farm-scale, the role of cropping diversity within and between rotations is being studied at a number of levels with a goal to understand the interaction between agricultural production and the ecosystem in an increasingly variable climate.

Prof Nic Lampkin

Nic is Director of The Organic Research Centre and has been involved in organic farming research since the 1980s, with a particular focus on economic and policy issues. He is author of Organic Farming, co-editor of the Organic Farm Management Handbook, and more recently has led the development of a tool box for the evaluation of organic farming action plans. He is the organic sector representative on the Defra Agri-environment Stakeholders Group and a permanent member of the EU Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP), and is currently advising Welsh and English governments and the IFOAM EU Group on issues relating to organic farming support under the new CAP/RDP.

Victor Leforestier

Victor is an agronomist and is passionate about conservation agriculture. His parents are farming in Normandy on some of the best French soils. He has worked and travelled to learn more about conservation agriculture in the United States and in South America. He currently works as a technical salesman for SLY France, a manufacturer of strip-till cultivators. He writes for the French no-till magazine ‘TCS’ run by Frédéric Thomas. He is a Nuffield Scholar for 2015, the title of his study is ‘How can holistic management be applied on an arable farm, and what does it tell us about our current cropping system’.

Tony Little

Tony Little has been at Organic Centre Wales for 13 years, working on knowledge exchange projects for organic producers and more latterly supporting and developing organic supply chains in Wales. He is a keen, if amateur, fruit and vegetable grower and helps out on an organic upland sheep farm.

Trevor Mansfield

Trevor joined the Soil Association in September as Head of Policy on Farming & Land Use. Previously he worked for Natural England as a Senior Specialist focusing on agri-environment schemes, embedding climate change mitigation and adaptation in environmental land management schemes. He was also involved in the development of woodland and wood pasture options for the New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS). Prior to that he worked as an agri-environment farm adviser based in Somerset.

Mark Measures

Mark is an independent organic agriculture consultant specialising in advice and training in farm business management, husbandry, conversion planning and organic systems development. He is Director of Institute of Organic Training and Advice (IOTA) providing training, information and accreditation to advisers throughout the UK and Ireland, joint editor of the biennial Organic Farm Management Handbook and provides input into the ORC research and dissemination programme. Mark has 25 years of organic farming experience; he established the Organic Advisory Service (ORC) in 1985 and headed it for 15 years and initiated and coordinated the establishment of the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative. He has extensive knowledge of all aspects of organic production and its markets, research, and standards development. He has experience of organic extension throughout the world. He is a partner in a mixed organic farm in Shropshire.

Peter Melchett

Peter Melchett has been Policy Director of the Soil Association, working on campaigns, standards and policy, since 2001. He runs an 890-acre mixed organic farm in Norfolk. He is a member of the BBC’s Rural Affairs Committee, and was a member of the Government’s Rural Climate Change Forum and Organic Action Plan Group, and the Department of Education’s School Lunches Review Panel. He received an honorary doctorate from Newcastle University in 2013, was on the Board of the EU’s £12m ‘Quality Low Input Food’ research project, and is a Board member for two EU research projects on low input crops and livestock. As a former member of the House of Lords, he was a Labour Government Minister 1974-79, at the Departments of Environment, Industry, and Northern Ireland (covering education and health). He has been President or Chair of several conservation NGOs, including the Ramblers and Wildlife Link, and was Director of Greenpeace UK (1985-2000), and chaired Greenpeace Japan (1995-2001). Peter was one of 28 Greenpeace volunteers arrested for removing GM maize in 1999; all the volunteers were found not guilty in the subsequent court case.

Stephen Meredith

Stephen has worked in public policy for almost five years in the UK, Ireland and at EU level. He is currently a Policy Officer with IFOAM EU Group working on EU food, agriculture and environmental policies. Recent work has primarily centred on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 with a special focus on the stimulation of organic food and farming sector under the new EU Rural Development Programmes. From a suckler beef farming background Stephen resides between Belgium and Ireland and is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in organic farming at SRUC.

Dr Andy Mitchell

Dr Andy Mitchell has led Defra’s Varieties and Seeds Policy work for five years, representing the UK at EU and other international organisations, including the negotiation of proposed new EU legislation for plant reproductive material. His previous role was as Defra’s technical manager for the National List of new plant varieties, plant breeders’ rights and seed certification, coordinating processes for variety testing and seed certification.

John Newman

John Newman has been farm manager at Abbey Home Farm, Cirencester since 1992. A family partnership of 650 ha of award winning mixed organic farming comprising of dairy, sheep, pigs, poultry, beef, arable, grassland and vegetable enterprises. There is also an award winning farm shop and café and on farm processing of dairy and poultry products and a butchery. The farm was a founder member of The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Op Ltd and has been involved with a number of collaborative organic marketing initiatives. John is a director of The Organic Seed Producers Ltd and of Organic Arable, and chairman of the Soil Association agricultural standards committee.

Edwin Nuijten

Dr. Edwin Nuijten is a senior researcher at the Louis Bolk Institute and focuses on setting up new forms of breeding for organic agriculture and low-input agriculture using two approaches: 1) by developing new selection strategies and 2) by looking for innovative strategies for involving all relevant stakeholders. He has been involved in setting up new breeding approaches for spring wheat (including the use of Composite Cross Populations), setting up a breeding programme for white lupins on calcareous/high pH soils, and the testing of OP-vegetable varieties for organic agriculture.

Naomi Oakley

Naomi is the Principal Specialist for Habitats in the Biodiversity Delivery Team of Natural England. Her work currently focuses on the delivery of the Biodiversity 2020 targets; this involves ensuring that the NELMS Programme, to deliver the next agri-environment scheme, is fit for purpose to deliver multiple outcomes. Her background is in agro-ecology and she runs her family upland farm on Dartmoor. She has a particular interest in common land, public goods and sustainable agriculture.

Dr Susanne Padel

Susanne is principal researcher and team leader for livestock, socio-economics and sustainability assessment at The Organic Research Centre, covering projects related to organic milk production, standards, market data and consumer attitude, policy support, profitability, and sustainability. Susanne has been involved with organic farming since the early 80s. After working in advice for organic farmers in North Germany, she worked as a researcher at Aberystwyth University, joining ORC in 2009. Susanne holds a degree in general agriculture from the University of Kassel, Witzenhausen and a PhD in agricultural economics from Aberystwyth University on conversion to organic dairying.

Dr Bruce Pearce

Bruce joined The Organic Research Centre in 1999 and has undertaken a number of roles and is currently Deputy Director. He is responsible for overseeing the research and information programmes, contracts and personnel of the organisation. His research activities have covered a wide range of areas including seed and variety rights, monogastric feed and production, farming sustainability assessment, implications of GM and participatory research methods. Prior to joining The Organic Research Centre he was part of MAFF’s Chief Scientists Group and worked for the Consumers Association’s Gardening Which? Magazine. He has a degree in Biological Sciences and PhD in Horticulture.

Ben Pugh

Member of Evening Standard’s 2014 “Silicon 60”, Ben spent 10 years analysing major food businesses before founding FarmDrop in 2012. He believes that constructing more efficient routes to market for sustainable food producers is the way to save our food system. An economics graduate, he believes that Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” vision can be bought to life through improving internet access.

Ben Raskin

Ben has been working in horticulture for 20 years. He is currently Head of Horticulture at the Soil Association and also works freelance as a horticultural advisor. Recent projects include work for The Community Farm near Bristol and Carbon Gold. Ben has a wide range of experience working with growers at all levels of production. His own experience includes; running a walled garden in Sussex supplying a Michelin starred restaurant, and working for Garden Organic at Yalding Gardens in Kent. Ben also set up and ran the 10 acre horticultural production at Daylesford Organic Farm, before moving to the Welsh College of Horticulture as commercial manager. He is also author of “Compost; a Family Guide” a fun interactive book aimed at 4-8 year olds.

Rob Richmond

Rob was brought up on a family dairy farm in North Yorkshire and then studied for a degree in animal science at Edinburgh University. Upon leaving Edinburgh he started a career in farm management. Rob Richmond is in his 10th year of managing Manor Farm, Chedworth, a 220 ha farm of Cotswold brash in Gloucestershire. The dairy and arable farm has been organic since 2005. There is a dairy herd of 160 cross-bred (Jersey x Friesian) dairy cows and followers. Rob completed a Nuffield study on The Benefits to Agriculture and the Environment of Re-building soil carbon in 2011.

Emma Rose

Emma looks after communications and marketing for the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark scheme – which recognises best practice in foodservice and encourages food providers to improve the food they serve. As well as working to raise visibility and understanding of the scheme within all food sectors, the supply chain and the media, she manages the Catering Mark Supplier Scheme, which aims to help organic producers find new routes to market in the foodservice sector.

Alan Schofield

Alan has been an organic vegetable grower since 1982, running Growing with Nature in Lancashire with wife Debra and son Christopher, working closely with 4 other organic growers, distributing organically grown vegetables and salads into the local area. He has been involved with the Soil Association as chair of the Horticultural Standards Committee, on the UKROFS technical committee and for the last 7 years has been Chairman of the Organic Growers Alliance. He has worked as a horticultural advisor for the last 20 years and has been instrumental in setting up a growers group on the Isle of Man and establishing a series of farmers’ markets under the Manx Local Organic brand. Alan is passionate about local horticultural production and is keen to ensure that the new generation of market gardeners have access to the experience that they have gained.

Mark Simmons

After gaining an MSc in Conservation he worked as a farm wildlife adviser before joining the Countryside Commission at the launch of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. He now works as a Food & Farm Adviser for the National Trust covering the London South East region. He lives in Hampshire but is often to be found roaming the Isle of Wight accompanied by ‘Bailey’ his faithful chocolate labrador.

Dr Jo Smith

Jo’s research background is in studying the effects of agriculture on biodiversity, both at a field- and landscape-scale, with a particular interest in the biodiversity of soil macrofauna. She has been working at The Organic Research Centre since June 2009. As Senior Agroecology Researcher, Jo is responsible for the agroforestry programme, and is working on a range of projects investigating the value of agroforestry as a way of reconciling production with protection of the environment.

Laurence Smith

Laurence is Senior Sustainability Researcher at The Organic Research Centre. His work is focussed on the development and application of sustainability assessment tools and farm-system modelling. Laurence is also leading a work package within the Defra and Devolved Administration funded Greenhouse Gas Platform and is pursuing a part-time PhD at Cranfield University exploring the impacts of a large-scale conversion to organic farming in England and Wales.

Christopher Stopes

Christopher is President of the IFOAM EU Group with over 25 years of experience in policy, research, technical and market development for sustainable organic food and farming with a focus on food quality, climate change, animal welfare and pesticide policies. He was previously Head of Research at The Organic Research Centre –and has degrees in biological sciences and agriculture.

Phil Sumption

Phil is an organic grower at heart, researcher and IOTA accredited advisor. He is Research Communications Officer at ORC having previously worked as a researcher at Garden Organic and as a full or part-time grower. He is on the committee of The Organic Growers Alliance, is editor of The Organic Grower and has contributed to a number of books..

Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas is a former editor of the Ecologist magazine and long-term campaigner, journalist and author and a director of the new UK initiative Beyond GM. Pat directed and helped establish Paul McCartney’s Meat-Free Monday in the UK and led the Cows Belong in Fields campaign for Compassion in World Farming, which won the organisation the Observer Ethical Award for Campaigner of the year 2011. She was inducted into Who’s Who in 2014 and is a trustee of the Soil Association as well as the media agency Eyewitness.

Iain Tolhurst

Iain has been an organic producer since 1976 operating a 200+ per week box scheme using 90% own produce from 75 different crops on 17 acres of land at Hardwick Estate in south Oxfordshire. The farm was the first to attain the Organic Stockfree symbol in 2004, with no grazing animals and no animal inputs to any part of the farm for the past 20 years. He also works part time as an advisor for many horticultural farms nationally and internationally, various organic organisations, delivering seminars and conducting farm walks. He carries out some voluntary work overseas as well as being the Chairman of Thames Organic Growers. He is considered to be a leading expert on stock-free organic horticulture, and low carbon local vegetable production systems. The farm is a working example of agroecology in action that has been developing over a long period of time and displays a high level of self-sufficiency whilst maintaining close links with the local community.

Tom Tolputt

Tom started to go organic in 1997 on the 90 acre family farm, the same year as he started to work in the nutrition business. Eight years ago Tom set up as an independent consultant and became part of the Farm Consultancy Group five years ago. In 2009 Tom took on a 440 acre farm in his own right and converted it to organic production. Tom currently farms 560 acres of arable and grass land with 180 acres of permanent grass land and 360 acres in rotation. He has a 75 cow suckler herd with all animals finished off the farm on mainly grass diets and out wintered. There are 80 acres of complex herbal leys and the arable crops grown include wheat, barley, triticale, and fodder beet. Tom also finishes 60 head per year of dairy beef on a pay as you grow type business.

Mike Townsend

Mike’s early career was in commercial horticulture, before moving in to Forestry. He has worked in both the private sector in commercial forestry, as well as the voluntary sector in the UK and in Kenya. For the last 17 years he has worked for the Woodland Trust, initially as Operations Director, and then Chief Executive. Following a break he is now a Senior Advisor in the Trust’s conservation team. He is also a Fellow at the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and holds a degree in Forestry and a Masters degree in Environmental policy. He was awarded the OBE in 2003 for services to forestry.

Nick Turner

Nick Turner has worked for Defra for the past 15 years working in a number of policy roles covering rural policy, carbon capture and storage, and protected and non-native species. He was involved in the development of the last two rural development programmes, worked on negotiations for a proposed Carbon Capture and Storage Directive and oversaw a review of wildlife management legislation. He has also worked as a policy adviser covering rural development and local food at a regional level in the Food, Farming and Rural Development team at Government Office for the South West. Nick now leads on the EU & international side of organics in Defra. He represents the UK on the Regulatory Committee for Organic Production in Brussels and over the past year has led on the negotiations for the new proposed Regulation on Organic Production and Labelling of Organic Products. Nick was educated at UEA and Seale-Hayne Agricultural College.

Gordon Tweddle

Gordon Tweddle

Gordon is a tenant farmer of long standing, who had a spell as a consultant for the MMB. He started farming in 1979 and went into organic conversion in 1998, with a view to adding value by producing, bottling and delivering milk to the doorsteps of nearby Darlington. In 2000 Gordon and wife Linda were joined in the family business by son Graham and daughter Caroline, when they set up Acorn Dairy.

Anja Vieweger

Anja is Crops and Socio-economics Researcher at the Organic Research Centre. With a background in horticulture, specialised in vegetables, she has several years of experience in horticultural research and soil sciences. Having joined ORC in 2011, she is now working in areas such as health concepts in agricultural systems, participatory research, the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme, organic greenhouse horticulture, agroforestry, and policy evaluation.

William Waterfield

After a 12 year career in farm management, William has spent the last 22 years working as a farm management advisor. Working predominantly with retained clients, both conventional and organic farmers, William’s breadth of experience in developing long term business strategies helps his clients meet their personal and business objectives. He specialises in providing on going information and advice to organic dairy farmers across the south and south west of England, as well as helping producers develop a wide range of diversified enterprise from farm shops to care farms.

Andrew Whitley

Andrew founded The Village Bakery in the 70s and made naturally-fermented organic bread available to a wide public. He revealed the extent of adulteration in British industrial loaves in his best-selling book Bread Matters (2006), going on to found The Real Bread Campaign to take the message far and wide. In 2013 Andrew created Scotland The Bread, a project that engages citizens, scientists and growers in participatory research and collective action to make nutritious bread available to everyone. He lives in the Scottish Borders and grows experimental grains on his organic agroforestry holding.

Prof. Martin Wolfe

Martin is Principal Scientific Advisor to The Organic Research Centre. After a career at the publicly-funded Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, starting in 1960, he held the Chair of Plant Pathology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (1988-97). He now farms Wakelyns Agroforestry in Suffolk, which is the main site for ORC arable farming research. The field trials are rotated within six organic agroforestry systems, developed over the past 20 years to optimise functional biodiversity. The diversity theme continued in the current main project on wheat population breeding as an alternative to monoculture.

Lawrence Woodward

Lawrence, OBE has been at the forefront of developments in organic agriculture in the UK for over 30 years. He has also played a prominent role in its development in the EU and internationally. He was a co-founder of The Organic Research Centre and its director and currently acts as its Principal Policy Adviser. Amongst many positions he has been President of IFOAM; was for 15 years a member of the UKROFS Board during the critical period of standards development, and served on the Soil Association Council. He was the founding chairman of OMSCo and sits on the Board of Organic Arable. He is co-ordinator of Citizens Concerned About GM (GM Education), he advises Homeopathy at Welly Level (HAWL) and is working on projects about food quality and health (Whole Organic Plus).

Konstantinos Zaralis

Konstantinos is Senior Researcher in Livestock Production at the Organic Research Centre. He is leading tasks on the Sustainable Organic and Low-input Dairying (SOLID) and Optimal Grazing Strategy for Dairy Cows (OptGraze) projects and contributes to other ORC’s projects including ICOPP and AgroForward. He has undertaken research on nutritional, environmental and genotypic factors that affect the ability of animals to cope with disease. He has worked on the Defra project on modelling the genotypic differences of farm animals in production efficiency. Over the last four years he carried out research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences on cattle nutrition.


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