The Oxford Real Farming Conference was founded as an antidote to the corporate controlled Oxford Farming Conference which for many years has been the established, mainstream annual event for the sector. It was the eight time it ran, and this year it was twice as large in the number of delegates as the old event.
Permaculture was well represented, and you could not only meet people from the community, but we even joked that this was a secret permaculture gathering, we simply weren’t telling anyone.
The key permaculture presentation was “Farm scale permaculture”, and it filled the alloted room, to the point that people coming late needed to be turned down due to safety in case of emergencies. In fact, if there could be criticism of the conference, it could only be, that it was more popular than the rooms could accommodate. For those that missed some of the workshops, the good news was that the sessions were recorded (audio), and should be available on the ORFC website soon.
The conference is a manifest of the philosophy of not fighting or trying to reform the old system, and instead creating the alternative we want to see. Since it’s grown in size, we have seen interest from the other conference. I personally came across a young lady in the press room who works for the National Farmers Union, and only popped in for an hour to get a feel for the event, but otherwise was a delegate at the other conference. Unsurprisingly she said that she’d never heard of permaculture.
If you attended the conference, feel free to say hi below, and tell us your opinion.
Oxford Real Farming Conference website
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