Organic Research Centre Autumn Appeal
Dr Jo Smith talks to Danish government officials about agroforestry
As a follower of the work of the Organic Research Centre, and our parent charity the Progressive Farming Trust Ltd., you will be familiar with some of the work that we undertake and some of our recent achievements. During 2017, we have published several new reports, technical guides and handbooks, you can see some examples here. We’ve been active talking with farmers and growers about our work, including at our conference in February, at a major Agroforestry conference and the National Organic Combinable Crops event in July, and at numerous workshops and meetings across the country and abroad. In our policy work, we have made significant progress leading work with Defra to develop a new organic action plan for England, which should be published early in 2018.
We’ve also been successful in growing our activity, with 25% more project funding and staff this year than last. We’ve received a £550,000 bequest specifically to establish the Dean Organic Fund to provide interest-free loans to new and small-scale organic producers and food businesses, which we plan to launch in January. As a result we’ve made good progress addressing some of the financial challenges that we’ve faced in recent years, and we’re working hard to deliver our first operating surplus for many years when our financial year ends at the end of October. But we’re not quite there yet, hence our Autumn appeal! Can you help?
A donation in response to our Autumn appeal could make all the difference to addressing our short-term needs. An unrestricted donation this month would allow us to continue supporting a wide range of activities, including our communication work through the media, websites, publications and the ORC Bulletin, and the development of plans for refurbishing and extending the farmhouse at Elm Farm to provide residential accommodation for event visitors and additional office/meeting room space.
We’re also seeking funds for specific, urgent projects, including an up-to-date review of the environmental, financial and market impacts of organic food and farming that will support the case for including organic as a significant option in future agriculture and food policy post-Brexit. We are also looking for support the work to develop the English organic action plan and to create a simple, visual case for the benefits of organic food and farming that can be used widely in presentations and social media contexts. If you’d like to know more about these projects, please ask.
Our appeal for funds is being supported by Raymond Blanc, who has generously offered to host a special ‘Evening with Raymond Blanc’ at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire on 26th October 2017. Raymond is well known for his support for organic and sustainable food initiatives as well as of course for his quality cuisine, and we’re delighted also that Vintage Roots are sponsoring an organic wine selection for the event.
To make a one-off donation, please use this link
If you felt able to contribute on a regular basis, this would be very helpful for our forward planning, and we can enrol you with either our ‘Friends of ORC’ group, or our Farmers and Business Supporters’ Group, with access to publications and other benefits in return. Please contact Gillian Woodward for a registration form.
Thank you very much for your continuing support