Join us at the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2024

The Food Data Collaboration team are delighted to be part of a panel session exploring regenerative supply chains as part of the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2024. We’d love to see you there!

Friday 5th January 11:00-12:30
Oxford Town Hall Court Room
Speakers: Lynne Davis (Food Data Collaboration), Rachael Forster (Good Food Loop), Martyn Bragg (Shillingford Organics), Josiah Meldrum (Hodmedod’s)
Chair: Djenai Delerue (Open Food Network UK)

Despite a relatively low profile to date, supply chains are a vital component of agroecological resilience and an
area of increasing importance. Meet the innovators taking exciting steps to build and grow the regenerative supply chains that agroecology needs to thrive, from digital infrastructure online through to shared distribution networks on the ground. We’ll hear from the Food Data Collaboration, the Good Food Loop, Hodmedod’s and Shillingford Organics about how collaboration at a multitude of levels is the key to paving the way for small farms to achieve shorter, higher value routes to market, for larger, sustainable farms to be better able to supply local markets, for small distributors to be able to join forces on logistics, and more.

What else is happening?

The Thursday late morning session below on Why We Need to Change Food Retail is well and truly on our radar, chaired by Julia Kirby-Smith of Better Food Traders and featuring Sustain’s Local Food Retail Coordinator Rachel Jones amongt the panel, both of whom happen to be valued members of our governance group here at the Food Data Collaboration.

Thursday 4th January 11:00-12:30
Cheng Building Seminar Room
Speakers: Angelina Sanderson Bellamy, Zosia Walczak, Rachel Jones
Chair: Julia Kirby-Smith
Independent food traders and new routes to market can help us build a more regionalised and resource-
efficient food system – one where farmers and local economies get a greater share of profits, and where nature and climate-friendly food is prioritised. This session unpicks why we need alternative ways of
distributing and selling food, and how we can support their growth through policy and other measures. We will
explore the new business models that are emerging and the challenges and opportunities for independent food retailers and wholesalers in 2024.

It’s also exciting to see that the word ‘commons’ appears 16 times in the ORFC 2024 programme! With commons building at the heart of the Food Data Collaboration project, we’re particularly intrigued by the following sessions, which we’re sure will offer lots of useful insights and learning on both the digital and physical infrastructure fronts…

Thursday 4th January 18:00-19:30
Cheng Building Digital Hub
Speakers: Dorn Cox, David Bollier
Chair: Charlotte Steel
This moderated panel conversation features Dorn Cox, a US-based New Hampshire family farmer and open
source technologist, and David Bollier, an American commons activist and scholar with the Schumacher Center for a New Economics (US). Cox has long been in the vanguard of using open source technologies to help improve crop yields, soil health, and ecosystem resilience, especially in the face of climate change. His 2023 book, The Great Regeneration, describes the use of free and open source community-developed hardware and
software to improve land stewardship to expand local markets, improve ecological outcomes, expand our commonwealth of agricultural knowledge to bring hope and escape tech-based market control structures otherwise imposed by corporations. Bollier brings his extensive knowledge of commoning in diverse international contexts to this conversation, accenting the structures and culture of peer governance, the role of commons-friendly infrastructures, and the importance of keeping commoning and commerce distinct.

Thursday 4th January 16:00-17:30
Oxford Town Hall Main Hall and online
Speakers: Guy Standing, David Bollier
Chair: Lucy Ford
The Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest of 1217 inaugurated legal doctrines guaranteeing public access and use of land, water, forests,and myriad social and intellectual commons. Yet capitalist enterprises and complicit states have plundered, privatised and commodified them, generating vast wealth and power
for a minority while laying waste toecosystems, democracy, and social equity. This session features two
activist-thinkers discussing how commoning can achieve structural transformation and cultural change.
Guy Standing, an economist and author of Plunder of the Commons, The Blue Commons and The Politics of Time, will propose a Charter of the Commons to revive the spirit of commoning – shared productive and regenerative activity – and move beyond mindless GDP growth. David Bollier, an American at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics and author of The Commoner’s Catalog for Changemaking and Free, Fair and Alive, will explain how contemporary varieties of commons are building a “parallel polis” that can leverage political and cultural change.

Thursday 4th January 11:00-12:30
Museum of Oxford Museum Makers Space
Speakers: Julia Aglionby, John Atkinson, Sarah Beddington, Jez Westgarth
Chair: Sam Caraway
In the shadow of the climate crisis, the management of common land faces its biggest change since World War II. Focusing on the Lake District, this session will address the importance of upland commons for biodiversity, carbon, water storage and access – and for rural communities whose labour has shaped this landscape over millennia, underpinning its World Heritage Site inscription. The current government support scheme for farmers ends in 2024 and, with ELM far from ready, many upland farmers are feeling vulnerable. How can we move forward without losing ancient traditions, rural infrastructure and the balance between culture and nature?

We look forward to catching up with friends old and new in Oxford. Do feel free to reach out at @fooddatacollab to let us know you’ll be there!