Every year at the beginning of January the Oxford Farming Conference is held to bring together the latest thinking in the agricultural industry and anyone who is involved in food production. However, there are a number of fringe events that surround the conference including an alternative version known as the Oxford Real Farming Conference which has a particular focus on the grass roots of farming.
This year Russell Carrington, assistant farm manager at Caplor, was invited to join a discussion entitled “New Generation, New Ideas” in which the aspirations of young people wanting to work on the land are met by the opportunities available. He was joined by other young farmers including Ed Hamer and Rona Amis from Devon and Sam Henderson from an urban food project called FARM: Shop in London. Ed runs a community supported vegetable box scheme called Chagfood (www.chagfood.org.uk/
) and grows, harvests and delivers his produce without using any fossil fuel. Rona has recently completed a Nuffield scholarship in which she studied the opportunities for new entrants in farming. You can read her report here
Russell spoke of some of the activities being carried at Caplor in light of the need for greater sustainability within the food chain. A number of other topics were discussed including GM foods, putting value on the environment and the need for more young people with land-based skills.
“It was great to share ideas in our session, especially at a time when youth unemployment is rising and the focus on agriculture increases. The whole conference was very inspiring and I certainly took away a lot of new knowledge on how to manage our soils better and even sequester substantial amounts carbon.” said Russell