The Sustainable Food Trust is delighted to announce that we will be hosting four sessions at the 10th annual Oxford Real Farming Conference, taking place on 3rd and 4th January, 2019. Each of these will be based on campaigns and development work we are currently undertaking.

9:00am 3 Jan, ‘Local Abattoirs: Why they are closing and how we can save them’. Christopher Room, St Aldates Parish Centre, 40 Pembroke Street OX1 1BP

Local abattoirs are essential for the production and marketing of local meat and bring both better animal welfare and environmental benefits, yet they continue to close at an alarming rate. This session will examine the reasons small abattoirs are struggling and what can be done to save them.

Speakers include Lady Parker, Fir Farm, Stow-on-the-Wold (Chair); John Mettrick, President of National Craft Butchers; Nick Allen CEO of the British Meat Processors’ Association; Bob Kennard, Policy Advisor, Sustainable Food Trust; and Dr Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK.

2:30pm 3 Jan,Plastics After Blue Planet II’. The Long Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1BX

As food producers and retailers, how can we wean ourselves off our dependency on plastic?

Recent studies suggest consumers are becoming more concerned about avoiding plastic than they are about price; can small local businesses be nimble enough to take advantage of this new consumer awareness? And can on-farm plastic waste be tackled?

During this session we will discuss:

  • Packaging which reaches consumers – how will this increasingly affect farm businesses as shoppers move to avoid plastic packaging?
  • On farm plastic waste, what are the problems and how can they be resolved?

Speakers include: Patrick Holden, CEO, Sustainable Food Trust (chair); Erica Davies, #NoPlaceForLitter and the Sustainable Food Trust; Guy Singh-Watson & Robyn Copley-Wilkins, Riverford Organic; and Stuart Roberts, Vice President NFU.

7pm 3rd Jan, ‘Secrets of success: Young farmers and new entrants’, upstairs at St Aldates Tavern, 108 St Aldate’s, OX1 1BU

Organised jointly with New Food Entrepreneurs, this informal evening session aims to draw out real farming success strategies for an audience of young farmers and potential new entrants. We need more real farmers, but the question is how to get started? We’re sure many people have questions about marketing, land access, business planning and a lot more. These are just some of the things we hope to address by bringing young people together to share experiences and ideas.

10:30am 4 Jan, ‘The harmonisation of on-farm sustainability assessment,’ The Long Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1BX

If we are to redesign the agricultural support system and introduce the principle of public money for public goods, we need convergence in sustainability assessment on UK farms. Could this be harmonised to ensure that all assurance schemes use the same metrics?

Speakers include: Patrick Holden CEO, Sustainable Food Trust (Chair); Emily Norton, Savills; Garth Clarke, Waddesdon Estate; and Adele Jones Head of Public Affairs, Sustainable Food Trust.

3:00pm 4 Jan,Nitrogen pollution and how to reduce it,’ The Long Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1BX 

Planetary ecosystems are burdened by more than three times as much reactive nitrogen as they can cope with, most of it from the overuse of nitrogen fertiliser. This session will explore the problems and potential solutions, including a tax on nitrogen fertiliser and payment for soil carbon sequestration.

Speakers include: Honor Eldridge, Head of Policy, Sustainable Food Trust (chair); Jenny Hawley, Plant Life; Dinah Hillier, Thames Water; Helen Browning, CEO, Soil Association; and Robert Craig, Cumbrian dairy farmer.

The sold-out conference has gone from strength to strength over the past ten years and will this year be welcoming the highest number of delegates to ever attend the event, along with more than 200 speakers, including Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove.


Please contact Megan Perry at to enquire about press passes for the conference or for interview requests.

Photograph: AKM Adam

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