For much of the farming community in the northern hemisphere, January is a time to engage in conversation and share ideas and so we headed to the eighth Annual Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) at Oxford Town Hall. Here, more than 800 farmers, chefs, scientists and activists came together to share highs and lows encountered on the journey towards an agro-ecological future. This is a conference where communal silence is the welcome call and singing and stomping are part of the programme.

RebeccaLaughton2

Rebecca Laughton

We have a few stories from the conference to share with you: market gardener Rebecca Laughton from the Landworkers Alliance tells us about her investigations into the productivity of small-scale producers. We also get stuck into no-dig experiments with Charles Dowding, learning about soil biology and the intriguing results from his latest forking trials. And finally we hear from Ashwini Shannikodi about street play as a tool to tackle social problems in rural farming communities in India, as well as the importance of women in farming.

Abby also reports from Chile where she is currently evacuated from her family’s farm, vidacycle, as some of the largest forest fires in Chile’s history surround them.

Thank you all for listening to Farmerama this month and every month. Thank you to all this month’s contributors Joy Rose, Darla Eno, Nigel Akehurst, Lauren Simpson, Phil Moore and Richard White at ORFC and Owen Barratt, who recorded the new music we have on this show.

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