The annual ORC (Organic Research Centre) organic producer’s conference, to be held at Aston University, Birmingham from 18 to 19 January 2012, will be focusing on the potential contribution of organic/agro-ecological approaches to CAP Reform and food security, with a focus on improving the delivery of public goods and the sustainability of UK food production systems. The plenary sessions will address some of the key policy issues, while twenty workshops will tackle the practical issues and research/ innovation needed to achieve these policy aspirations.
The opening session on CAP Reform, featuring Dr Juern Sanders from the von Thuenen Institut in Braunschweig, Germany, and Christopher Stopes, President of the IFOAM EU Group, will focus the implications of the Commission’s proposals for the organic sector, including the automatic qualification of organic producers for the greening element of the single payment and a higher profile for organic farming in rural development. Given the relatively low level of support for organic producers in the UK compared with other EU countries, and the tough market conditions experienced recently, the session will consider whether the organic sector can look forward to a better future under the new CAP.
The closing session, to be introduced by ORC’s Prof. Martin Wolfe, will consider agro-ecological approaches (including organic farming) to food sovereignty around the world, building on Prof. Miguel Altieri’s extensive experience in the United States and Latin America. These demonstrate clearly that the application of agro-ecology to design biodiverse, resilient and resource-efficient farming systems is the most relevant and robust pathway to ensure sustainable food production while maintaining key ecological services for a growing global population in an era of climate, energy and financial crisis. The full list of speakers and workshops for the event has been published and can be found at www.organicresearchcentre.com.